The Crunchbase News Briefing: Tues., Sept. 22

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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China’s WM Motor lands $1.47B

WM Motor, a China-based electric vehicle startup, raised $1.47 billion in a Series D round.

The new investment makes the 5-year-old company, which is backed by Baidu and Tencent, one of the highest funded EV startups in China. With the fresh capital, WM could reportedly be gearing up for an IPO, potentially on China’s STAR board.

For now, WM says the new financing will go toward research and development, branding, marketing and expansion of its sales channel.

Bright Health secures $500M

Bright Health, a Minneapolis-based company offering health plan products and everyday clinical care delivery services, raised $500 million in Series E funding.

Investors include funds and accounts advised by Tiger Global Management, T. Rowe Price Associates and Blackstone, with follow-on investments from existing investors including NEA, Bessemer Venture Partners and Greenspring Associates.

The new investment brings the 5-year-old company up to more than $1.5 billion in equity financing. Bright Health plans to use the new funds for growth in its 43 markets.

Laird Superfood ups its IPO shares

Oregon-based organic foods company Laird Superfood increased the number of shares in its initial public offering to 2.65 million and the expected pricing to between $21 and $22 a share, according to a Tuesday SEC filing. That is up from its previous offering of 2.2 million shares priced at $18 to $20 a share.

With the increase, the company expects net proceeds of approximately $51.5 million. MarketWatch estimated the company would be valued at up to $184.3 million.

Laird Superfood is expected to list on the NYSE under the ticker symbol LSF. For the six months ended June 30, the company recorded a net loss of $5 million on revenue of $11.1 million, following a loss of approximately $4 million on revenue of $5.4 million during the same period in 2019.

Funding rounds

  • Willow raises $55M for new femtech products: Willow, a Mountain View, California-based femtech company that developed an in-bra wearable breast pump, secured an additional $55 million for its Series C that began earlier this year. Existing investor NEA led the round with participation from Meritech Capital Partners, Lightstone Ventures and new investor Perceptive Advisors. The new funding will enable Willow to work on existing product innovation and expand its offerings.
  • Salvia inks $31M for migraine treatment: Salvia BioElectronics, a Netherlands-based neurostimulation platform company, raised $31 million to develop treatments for chronic migraine. The investment was led by Panakès Partners, INKEF Capital and SHS Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsmanagement, with participation from BOM Brabant Ventures, Thuja Capital and Dolby Family Ventures.
  • Siolta secures $30M for asthma treatment: Biotech company Siolta Therapeutics, secured $30 million in a Series B funding to support the clinical development of its microbiome-based product for the prevention and treatment of asthma. The round included Khosla Ventures and Marc Benioff, as well as new investors Seventure, SymBiosis and Global Brain.
  • EasySend secures $16M for document digitalization: EasySend, an Israel-based company helping financial services and insurance companies quickly convert paper forms and clunky PDFs into digital experiences, announced $16 million in funding led by Hanaco with participation from Intel Capital. The new funding enables the company to double its current staff across its offices, optimize its product development and expand its customer base.
  • Zoop adds $11.4M for digital banking: Zoop, a Brazilian technology platform for payments and financial services, said it raised $11.4 million from Movile. This is the Brazilian mobile commerce platform’s third investment in Zoop and the new funding will help accelerate the rollout of new digital payments, banking and credit.
  • NeuroTherapia raises $8.8M: NeuroTherapia, a Cleveland-based clinical-stage company focused on developing an oral cannabinoid-based treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, announced an $8.8 million Series A financing round. Brain Trust Accelerator Fund II led the round with investments from The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Dolby Family Ventures and Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.
  • DeepCube raises $7M for neural networks: DeepCube, a deep learning startup based in Israel, said it closed on $7 million in Series A funding led by Awz Ventures, with participation from Koch Disruptive Technologies and Nima Capital, bringing DeepCube’s total investments to $12 million. The funding will enable it to realize deployment of its deep learning models on data centers and intelligent edge devices.
  • Jina AI raises $5.4M for neural search: Jina AI, an open source neural search startup based in Berlin, closed $5.4 million in Pre-A round financing, led by GGV Capital with participation from and Yunqi Partners. Launched in February, Jina AI’s core project is Jina on Github, which enables users to create a cloud-native search solution powered by deep learning in just minutes.
  • Cloud Paper inks $3M: Tree-free paper product manufacturer Cloud Paper, based in Seattle, announced a $3 million seed round led by Greycroft and a roster of investors including Ashton Kutcher, Guy Oseary, Marc Benioff, Mark Cuban, Gwyneth Paltrow and FootPrint Coalition. Cloud Paper’s first funding round will accelerate its expansion into more tree-free product categories, such as bamboo.
  • Aqua Membranes raises $2.1M for water filtration: Aqua Membranes, an Albuquerque-based developer of a patented 3D printed spacer technology for water filtration, announced $2.1 million in financing. The round was led by Clean Energy Ventures and Pentair and will accelerate the production of energy-saving water filtration technology to revolutionize membrane water filtration.
  • Manticore Games lands $15 million: Manticore Games, which allows creators to make and share games online through its product Core, raised $15 million in a round led by Epic Games. Manticore is also backed by investors including Benchmark and Roc Nation.

Other news

Fan Controlled Football, the Los Angeles-based professional sports league that enables fans to call the plays in real time, said its Season v1.0 will launch in February. The announcement is buoyed by an undisclosed investment led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Verizon Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Basecamp Fund, Next10 Ventures, Dave Finocchio and Alexis Ohanian.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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