Last Week In Venture: Tiny Raises, Moonshot Funding, And The MoviePass Cliffhanger

Hello and welcome to Last Week In Venture, the weekly roundup of rounds you may have missed.

This is a somewhat foreshortened edition of LWIV, because the Crunchbase News team has been hard at work crunching Q3 VC numbers.

We have some initial findings from the Q3 Global Report to share:

  • It’s lit.
  • Worldwide, venture deal and dollar volume has hit all-time highs, but just barely.
  • Q3 2018 had the highest number of supergiant $100M+ venture capital rounds on record, a trend we’ve documented in the past.
  • A surge in seed and early-stage funding is largely responsible for the small advance from prior highs set in Q2 2018.

And, hot off the presses, here’s what you need to know from our Q3 2018 report on U.S. and Canadian VC landscape:

  • Venture dollar volume set a new record in Q3, but deal volume pulled back slightly from highs set in Q2.
  • This was driven by an uprush in late-stage deals which, while fewer than Q2, were significantly larger in size. (The supergiant round phenomenon at work.)

Amid all this news, it’s easy to overlook what companies outside the spotlight are contributing to startup ecosystems around the world. But that doesn’t mean their stories aren’t worth sharing.

Notable Deals From The Past Week

Here’s what may have flown under your radar this week:

  • Tiny, the company behind the TinyMCE rich text editor we at Crunchbase News use in our WordPress installation, announced it raised $4 million in funding from BlueRun Ventures. Of course, Tiny’s rich text editors are used in other products, like Marketo, Zendesk, and Atlassian according to TechCrunch’s coverage of the company’s round and new product rollouts. In other words, you might be one of the millions of people who use its products and not even know.
  • Moon Express, headquartered at Cape Canaveral on Florida’s “Space Coast,” secured $12.5 million in new funding from Minerva Capital Group. According to GeekWire, it’s the first tranche of a $20 million Series B round. The private space company is developing a lunar lander and has its eyes set on asteroid mining in the future.
  • Drone operations platform-maker Kittyhawk raised $3 million from Travelers Insurance in a corporate venture round. A statement from the company says the new money will help Kittyhawk “bring unified drone operations to new markets.” Drones are finding a niche in the insurance sector as proverbial eyes in the sky after a natural disaster. Kittyhawk CEO Jon Hegranes said his company is making drones more approachable and useful in new industries. “Every company can be a drone company,” he added.
  • Seattle-based retail technology company Shelf Engine closed $4.3 million in a Series A led by Bain Capital Ventures. The company’s service helps reduce waste by helping organizations ranging from grocery stores to co-working chains track and manage orders for perishable goods. Here’s the trick though, according to GeekWire, Shelf Engine marks up items it orders for stores but buys back what stores don’t use. The bet is “that grocers will save money by trading the extra cost on orders for the losses that come from unsold food.”
  • Beloved and beleaguered MoviePass announced this week that its parent company, Helios & Matheson Analytics, raised $65 million in new funding from undisclosed investors, though the deal was actually closed “last month,” according to CEO Ted Farnsworth. MoviePass, you might recall, is kind of a victim of its own success. What started out as an all-you-can-binge pass to see flicks at the local theater has since been trimmed down to a more modest 3-movie-per-month package to reduce burn and keep bankruptcy off the table, at least for now. But can it be turned around? Farnsworth told The Wrap, “We’re doing M&A, we’re looking at all kinds of acquisitions at any given time,  and we’ll grow the company that way, and I think you’ll see over the next few weeks.” Better bust out the popcorn; there ain’t no telling how this ends.

And for those of you who made it to the end, a lagniappe: it might be decorative gourd season, for now, but it’ll be spooky gourd season soon. Boo. ?

Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Featured and thumbnail image was cropped from a photo by Aviv Ben Or on Unsplash.

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