Startup Monday: 10 news to follow this week in the global startup ecosystem (Issue 41–24 May 2021)


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Ten news to follow this week in the global startup ecosystem

  1. Bain Capital Ventures (BCV), the venture arm of the 37-year-old private equity firm Bain Capital, announced this morning that it has $1.3 billion more smackers to invest across two funds, a $950 million fund for seed and Series A deals and a $350 million fund for growth-stage opportunities. That amount is up slightly from late 2018, when the outfit announced $1 billion across two funds. According to partners Sarah Smith and Aaref Hilaly, the focus remains very much on enterprise startups, where the team likes to jump in early and build up a big position

2. Forbes’ “30 Under 30” List Highlights the Future Leaders of Biotech. Across the field of science and health care, there are numerous up and coming stars all under the age of 30. In its 2020 “30 Under 30” list, Forbes highlights some of these future Movers & Shakers who are beginning to make their mark in the biopharma and healthcare industries.

Basem Al-Shayeb – A Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, Basem Al-Shayeb has been working as a researcher in the laboratory of Nobel prize-winner Jennifer Doudna. 

Amanda Chen – A scientist with Cambridge, Mass.-based startup Satellite Bio, Amanda Chen is developing first-in-class, implantable satellite organs as living therapeutic solutions of severe diseases. 

Zibo Chen – A postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, Zibo Chen is building molecular computers that can modify cells through the modification of proteins. Chen has already demonstrated the possibilities in T-cells and it is suspected his research can lead to the development of new therapeutics and diagnostics.

To learn more about the rest of the founder, head to Forbes…

3. *Snap acquires AR startup WaveOptics, which provides tech for Spectacles, for over $500M

The deal was first reported by The Verge, and a spokesperson for Snap directly confirmed the details to TechCrunch. Snap is paying over $500 million for the startup, in a cash-and-stock deal. The first half of that will be coming in the form of stock when the deal officially closes, and the remainder will be payable in cash or stock in two years.

It’s not clear whether WaveOptics will continue to work with other parties post-deal, but it seems that one obvious advantage for Snap would be making the startup’s technology exclusive to itself.

4. NextBillion, a geospatial data startup that provides software-as-a-service products for enterprises, today announced it has raised $6.25 million from Microsoft venture fund M12. The firm’s investment extends NextBillion’s $7 million series A round from Lightspeed and FalconEdge in 2020 and brings the startup’s total to date to $13.25 million.

Geospatial analysis involves gathering, displaying, and acting on imagery and other geographic information. It uses geographic coordinates and other identifiers to create models, which can include maps, graphs, and statistics. Geospatial maps can reveal historical changes, but also shifts that are currently underway and even what might happen in the future.

5. Twilio, a communications software company with Seattle roots, is acquiring Seattle-based business-texting startup Zipwhip for approximately $850 million in a cash and stock deal, the companies announced Monday.

Founded in 2007, Zipwhip originally targeted consumers and set out to be the “Facebook of text messaging.” But it pivoted around 2013, taking a different approach by working with wireless carriers to enable hundreds of millions of business landlines to receive and send text messages. This allowed companies to text with their customers from landline phones, VoIP services, and toll-free numbers.

6. Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Southeast Asia, but many major platforms still focus on large cities. This means people in smaller cities or rural areas need to deal with longer wait times for deliveries. Social commerce company Mio is taking advantage of that gap by building a reseller network and logistics infrastructure that can offer next-day delivery to tier 2 and 3 cities.

The startup, which currently focuses on fresh groceries and plans to expand into more categories, announced today it has raised $1 million in seed funding. The round was co-led by Venturra Discovery and Golden Gate Ventures. Other participants included iSeed SEA, DoorDash executive Gokul Rajaram and Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, co-founders of Indian social commerce unicorn Meesho.

Looking for Funding?

Download the list of 50 VCs investing in AI and Machine Learning startups!

7. Warsaw-based 3D sport analytics startup ReSpo.Vision closes €1 million seed round.

ReSpo.Vision is a European deeptech startup that aims to disrupt sport and bookmaking industries by using computer vision to capture detailed 3D tracking data from sporting events, and then turn those into practical insights. The team has now closed a €1 million seed round led by ffVC Tech & Gaming, with participation from RKKVC. Thanks to this investment, the company will be able to expand its sports coverage from soccer to other major sports.

Warsaw-based ReSpo.Vision has developed a unique 3D tracking data capture technology with extremely high accuracy: its system can screen any TV broadcast, even a single camera one, and capture a continuous stream of 3D coordinates of 20 body sections of each player and the ball. Then it uses this data to create player and game analytics for sport clubs and to calculate game events probabilities, create visual game trackers and provide detailed statistics for bookmakers.

8. Dublin-based &Open lands around €5.9 million to scale up its gifting platform in Europe and the US.

Last week, Irish startup &Open has announced raising around €5.9 million to make it easier for brands to send carefully curated gifts to customers to boost loyalty and engagement.

The round was led by First Round Capital and LocalGlobe, along with participation from angel investors such as Andrew Robb (Farfetch), Des Traynor (Intercom) and Liam Casey (PCH). The fresh seed funds will be used by the startup to scale up in Europe and the US.

Launched in 2017, Dublin-based &Open was founded by Ciara Flood, former buyer at Net-a-Porter and part of the founding team at Mr Porter, together with her husband Jonathan Legge, and her and brother-in-law, Mark Legge. The two brothers are also previous founders of gift and homeware business Makers & Brothers. Currently &Open delivers more than 3,500 gifts every week and already nabbed clients such as Airbnb, Spotify, and Peloton.\

9. Moglix, an industrial business-to-business marketplace in India, announce last week it has raised $120 million in a new financing round at $1 billion valuation, becoming the 13th firm from the world’s second largest market to attain the unicorn status this year.

“We started six years ago with a firm belief in the untapped potential of the Indian manufacturing sector. We had the trust of stalwarts like Ratan Tata, and a mission to enable the creation of a $1 trillion manufacturing economy in India. Today, as we enter the next stage of our evolution, we feel this financing milestone is a testimony to our journey of innovation and disruption,” said Rahul Garg, founder and chief executive of Moglix, in a statement.

10. Agnikul Cosmos Pvt Ltd, an IIT-Madras incubated spacetech startup, has raised $11 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Mayfield India.

“In these difficult times for humanity as a whole, we are thankful to be able to find excitement, as our investors continue to reaffirm their confidence in our strategy of democratizing small satellite launches. We are thankful to have ISRO’s guidance and happy that the Government is enabling private space tech ventures. With this support from the Government and investors, we look forward to an exciting next step for our company and in the process, simplifying access to space,” said co-founder and CEO Srinath Ravichandran.

The four-year old startup was co-founded by Ravichandran along with Moin SPM and Prof SR Chakravarthy. It is currently building the country’s first private small satellite launch vehicle, Agnibaan, a rocket that enables plug-and-play configuration and is capable of carrying up to 100 kg of payload to low earth orbits.


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