This is a monthly feature that runs down the month’s top 10 funding rounds in the U.S. Check out last month’s here.
Startups in or adjacent to the cleantech space took the top two rounds of July, as investors continue to see value in the energy sector with prices rising. Despite the slowdown in venture, the month also saw five rounds go to U.S.-based startups of a quarter-billion dollars or more—so it clearly is still possible to raise big money.
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Here’s a quick review of the top 10 rounds of a hot July:
1. Xpansiv, $400M, financial services: Carbon offsets and renewable energy credits have become big business, and firms need a place to buy and sell them. Blackstone clearly sees that. Funds managed by the private equity giant’s energy-focused investment business—Blackstone Energy Partners—committed $400 million to lead a strategic investment in Xpansiv. The New York-based company has developed a market-infrastructure platform for global carbon and environmental commodities—such as voluntary carbon offsets or energy credits. That has become important as companies try to reach their ESG goals. Founded in 2018, Xpansiv has raised nearly $580 million, according to Crunchbase data.
2. Monolith, $300M, greentech: Monolith towered over most other startup raises this month. The Lincoln, Nebraska-based company—which produces clean hydrogen, carbon black and ammonia—closed a $300 million round led by TPG Rise Climate and Decarbonization Partners, a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek. The company uses 100% carbon-free energy in a proprietary process to convert conventional and renewable natural gas to hydrogen and carbon black. Monolith joins other cleantech companies Xpansiv and Electric Hydrogen in raising large rounds in the past few weeks. Founded in 2012, the company has raised more than $364 million, according to Crunchbase data.
3. Whatnot, $260M, e-commerce: Livestreaming is the new way to shop, at least that’s what investors think. DST Global and Alphabet’s growth fund, CapitalG, co-led a $260 million Series D for Los Angeles-based Whatnot. The round now values the live shopping platform at $3.7 billion—a 2.5x increase from September when its valuation was $1.5 billion. That’s an impressive jump considering the venture market was very different in September. However, the company seems to be coming off an impressive year. Whatnot said it grew sales more than 20x year over year in 2021, and more than tripled its monthly sales thus far in 2022. Founded in 2019, the company has raised nearly $485 million, according to Crunchbase data.
4. (tied) Coalition, $250M, cyber insurance: We reported last month there may be a slowdown in funding to cybersecurity startups, but that does not mean every company felt the pinch. San Francisco-based Coalition closed a $250 million round at a $5 billion valuation—less than a year after it raised a $205 million Series E at a $3.5 billion-plus valuation. Actually, in about 15 months Coalition’s valuation has nearly tripled. The new round comes as the insurer has seen significant growth, increasing revenue nearly 200% from the prior year. Such growth also highlights the importance of cyber insurance as an increase in cyberattacks through the past few years has elevated the need for companies to find protection. The new round included participation from Allianz X, Valor Equity Partners, Kinetic Partners and other existing investors, the company said in a release. Founded in 2017, Coalition says it has raised $755 million to date.
4. (tied) TAE Technologies, $250M, energy: The promise of real nuclear fusion energy continues to fire up investors. TAE Technologies is the latest to ride that wave of interest, as the Foothill Ranch, California-based company raised a $250 million round that induced cash from the likes of Google and Chevron. The past year has been big for fusion startups, as companies such as Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Helion Energy, General Fusion and others have raised substantial rounds. Fusion energy—created when two atoms are merged—is the holy grail of clean energy. With many experts thinking it is getting closer to being commercialized, investors are lining up their bets. TAE has collected a lot of those bets, as the company—founded in 1998—said it has now raised $1.2 billion.
6. Delfi Diagnostics, $225M, biotech: Cancer remains high on the list of public health concerns, and early ways to detect and monitor the dreaded disease are always going to be highly sought after. Baltimore-based Delfi Diagnostics has developed a way to look for DNA fragments in a patient’s bloodstream that are linked to specific forms of cancer. The new technology was interesting enough to help the company close a $225 million Series B led by DFJ Growth. The company—founded in 2019—will use the new proceeds for continued development and commercialization of its blood tests. Delfi has now raised more than $330 million, according to Crunchbase.
7. Cleerly, $223M, medical: New York-based heart disease diagnosis startup Cleerly closed a $223 million Series C led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates and T. Rowe Price Investment Management, and Fidelity Management and Research Co. Cleerly plays at the intersection of two hot sectors—AI and health care. Its AI-enabled technique to evaluate heart disease allows physicians to more easily identify plaque buildup in the walls of the heart arteries. Founded in 2017, Cleerly says it has now raised $279 million.
8. Pico, $200M, software: What do you do if your SPAC deal falls through? You raise $200 million from private equity. New York-based Pico was going to merge with Betsy Cohen’s special-purpose acquisition company in a $1.75 billion deal, but it was scrapped in February as the market tumbled and SPACs, in particular, were doing poorly. Nevertheless, Pico—a provider of software and data for the financial services market—was able to close a $200 million strategic investment this week from Golden Gate Capital. The company said the capital will be used to pursue strategic M&A opportunities. Founded in 2009, Pico has raised more than $372 million, per Crunchbase.
9. Carmot Therapeutics, $160M, biotech: Berkeley, California-based Carmot Therapeutics raised a $160 million Series D led by The Column Group. The clinical-stage biotechnology company is developing therapies focused on metabolic disease—such as diabetes and obesity—and cancer. Founded in 2008, the company has raised nearly $235 million, per Crunchbase data.
10. (tied) Aptos Labs, $150M, blockchain: Web3 is big right now. Just four months after closing a $200 million investment from Tiger Global, Coinbase Ventures and FTX Ventures, which valued the company at $1 billion, Palo Alto, California-based Aptos Labs decided to double down. The Web3 startup, founded by ex-Meta employees, closed a $150 million Series A led by FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto at a more than $2 billion valuation. Aptos is creating a Layer 1 system blockchain, meaning it will not sit on Ethereum or another network, but will be its own decentralized network. The company is looking to build off of key elements of the Diem blockchain and its smart contract language—Meta’s Stablecoin project that was shuttered earlier this year. Investors are looking at all things Web3 right now, and companies like Aptos are certainly benefiting.
10. (tied) Meati Foods, $150M, food tech: Boulder, Colorado-based Meati Foods became the latest food tech startup making plant-based meat to score a large funding round, locking up a $150 million Series C funding led by Revolution Growth. Meati specializes in creating whole-cut steak cutlets and chunks that use mycelium—a mushroom root—to stand in for meat. Cuts of meat have proven a problem for the fake meat industry as the texture is hard to replicate. However, Meati’s cuts are already being sold in grocery stores and restaurants in Arizona and Colorado. The company has raised $278.6 million to date, according to Crunchbase.
Big global deals
While some U.S.-based startups saw big rounds last month, the top four came from abroad.
- Swedish electric vehicle battery-manufacturer Northvolt raised $2.75 billion in a new funding round.
- Swedish buy now, pay later titan Klarna raised an $800 million round of funding that values the company at $6.7 billion, Reuters reported. The new valuation represents a significant drop from when the startup was valued at $46 billion last year.
- China-based natural gas provider Hefei Gas raised a corporate round worth approximately $686 million.
- China-based semiconductor firm Tsinghua Unigroup closed a $785 million private equity round.
We tracked the largest rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies for the month of July. Although most announced rounds are represented in the database, there could be a small time lag as some rounds are reported late in the month.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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