August 2019 Startup Funding Report

18 firms received more than $100 million.


Last month, 18 startups received private funding rounds of $100 million or more. Software and cybersecurity startups were once again popular, while automotive, mobility, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and agriculture-related technology also saw a good deal of funding.

Analytics, energy, Internet of Things, and robotics startups drew new funding, too. Those 18 companies together took in nearly $4.4 billion.

The biggest financing of the month went to Vantage Data Centers, which provides wholesale data centers in support of business and mission-critical applications. It took in $692 million — $548 million in new securitized notes and $144 million in project-based construction debt financing. The company will use the money to accelerate the development of data centers across North America, among other things. Vantage will aim for customers from its facilities in Silicon Valley; Northern Virginia; Phoenix; Quincy, Washington; and in Montreal and Quebec City, Quebec.

Babylon Health of the United Kingdom, which provides AI-based health services, raised $550 million in Series C funding, increasing its valuation to more than $2 billion. Investors in this round included Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a large U.S.-based health insurance company, Munich Re’s ERGO Fund, Kinnevik, and Vostok New Ventures. The startup developed a chatbot used by the National Health Service in the U.K. The digital health delivery company will use the new funds to expand its business to the U.S. and Asia.

With WeWork recently filing for an initial public offering, other workspace operators received funding in August. New York-based Knotel raised $400 million in Series C funding led by Wafra and joined by Mori Trust, Itochu, Mercuria and return backers Norwest Venture Partners, Newmark Knight Frank, Bloomberg Beta, and Rocket Internet. It is now valued at more than $1.3 billion. Industrious, also based in New York, raised $80 million in Series D funding from Riverwood Capital Partners, Brookfield Properties Retail, TF Cornerstone, Granite Properties, Equinox, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, Fifth Wall Capital, and CPPIB. (WeWork, by the way, makes its headquarters in San Francisco.)

Upland Software of Austin, Texas, a cloud-based enterprise work management software provider that is publicly held, entered into a new credit agreement that provides $410 million in term and revolving loan facilities. Credit Suisse Loan Funding arranged the transaction, together with Wells Fargo Securities, Capital One, HSBC Securities (USA), and Regions Bank. The credit agreement, which is expandable as Upland continues its growth trajectory, includes a $350 million senior secured term loan B facility maturing in August 2026 and a $60 million senior secured revolving credit facility maturing in August 2024.

Columbus, Ohio-based Root Insurance raised $350 million in Series E funding at a $3.65 billion pre-money valuation, co-led by Coatue Management and DST Global, Axios reports. A year ago, Root raised a $100 million Series D round at a $1 billion post-money valuation. Existing backers Drive Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Scale Venture Partners, and Tiger Global Management also participated in the round. The data-based auto insurance company has a total of $527.5 million in private funding, according to Crunchbase.

ThoughtSpot of Sunnyvale, Calif., received $248 million in Series E funding, valuing the provider of business intelligence analytics software at $1.95 billion. Its investors include Silver Lake Waterman, along with existing backers Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sapphire Ventures, and Geodesic Capital. The startup says it has raised a total of $554 million, although Crunchbase puts the total at $543.7 million.

At least 15 software startups got fresh funding before the end of the summer.

San Francisco-based Webflow, which offers a no-code, website-building platform, raised $72 million in Series A funding led by Accel, which was joined by Silversmith Capital, Rainfall Capital, FundersClub, and Draper Associates.

Cockroach Labs of New York received $55 million in Series C funding. Altimeter Capital, Tiger Global, and GV were joined by return backers Benchmark, Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, FirstMark Capital, and Work-Bench. The startup provides an open-source distributed database.

Ezoic, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based provider of ad revenue optimization software for digital publishers, raised $33 million from Sageview Capital.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Incorta, which operates a no-extract-transform-load data warehouse, received $33 million in Series C funding led by Sorenson Capital. Existing investors GV, Kleiner Perkins, M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures), and Telstra Ventures also participated, as did major investor Ron Wohl. The startup’s total private funding is $75 million.

Simon Data of New York raised $30 million in Series C funding, bringing its total private funding to $59 million. The startup offers an enterprise customer data platform.

Another San Mateo startup is Armory, the provider of a continuous delivery/integration platform. It received $28 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners, joined by return backers Crosslink Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Mango Capital, Y Combinator, and Javelin Venture Partners.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Platform9 raised $25 million in Series D funding led by NGP Capital, with Mubadala Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Canvas Ventures, and HPE Pathfinder also participating. The startup develops cloud infrastructure software.

At least nine cybersecurity startups took in new rounds during the month.

The biggest haul in August was $200 million in Series E funding for Boston-based Cybereason, an endpoint security firm. The startup’s enterprise security platform attracted SoftBank Group Corp. as a customer and later as an investor. The company has also had CRV, Spark Capital, and Lockheed Martin as investors. Cybereason started out in Tel Aviv, Israel, with founders coming from an elite Israeli intelligence agency cybersecurity unit. of San Jose, Calif., came out of stealth mode with $31 million in Series A funding led by Mayfield Fund, with participation from General Catalyst. The startup provides tools for automating cybersecurity and compliance processes. As you can guess from the company’s name, there is AI and machine learning technology involved.

New York-based Axonius, a cybersecurity asset management company, raised $20 million in Series B funding led by OpenView, with Bessemer Venture Partners, YL Ventures, Vertex, WTI, and Emerge also participating.

Investors put money into five automotive technology startups and five firms in the mobility field.

Porsche padded TriEye’s Series A round to $19 million. Intel Capital led the initial Series A round. Grove Ventures invested $3 million in the Israeli startup back in November of 2017. TriEye develops short-wave infrared sensing technology for vehicles.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Commsignia raised $11 million in Series A funding for its “vehicle-to-everything” (V2X) road safety technology. Karma Ventures and the Samsung Catalyst Fund co-led and were joined by Partech Ventures, Inventure, Credo Ventures, and Day One Capital.

Romeo Systems, a Vernon, Calif.-based developer of power systems for electric vehicles, received $4 million from HG Ventures.

On the mobility side, Wheels Up, a subscription-based private aviation company, raised $128 million in Series D funding at a post-money valuation of more than $1.1 billion. Backers include Franklin Templeton, Fidelity Management & Research, and T. Rowe Price Associates.

Rapido of Bengaluru, India, received $55 million in Series C round of funding led by WestBridge Capital with participation from existing investors including Nexus Venture Partners, Ant Financial-backed BAce Fund, Astrend India Investment, and others. The startup operates bicycles and taxis, with a mobile application.

SpotHero, a Chicago-based parking reservation service, raised $50 million in Series D funding. Macquarie Capital led and was joined by Union Grove Venture Partners and return backers Global Founders Capital, AutoTech Ventures, and Insight Venture Partners.

There were several investments in agricultural technology and food-related offerings as the harvest season draws near.

FreshToHome, an Indian e-commerce platform for fresh produce and meats, raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Iron Pillar.

Hazel Technologies, a Chicago-based startup aimed at slowing food decay, raised $13 million in Series B funding. Pangaea Ventures led, and was joined by S2G Ventures, The Grantham Foundation, Asahi Kasei Ventures, Rhapsody Venture Partners, Serra Ventures, Valley Oak Investments, Climate Impact Capital, and ImpactAssets.

Cambridge Crops, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup also aimed at slowing food decay, raised $4 million in seed funding led by The Engine.

CropX, a provider of in-soil agricultural analytics, raised $10 million from Sumitomo, Armada Capital, TaL Capital and return backers Finistere Ventures, Germin8 Ventures, GreenSoil Investments, Innovation Endeavors, and OurCrowd.

MoA Technology, a U.K.-based crop protection startup, raised £6.3 million (nearly $7.7 million) in Series A funding co-led by Parkwalk Advisors and Oxford Sciences Innovation.

Advanced Farm Technologies, a Davis, Calif.-based developer of strawberry-harvesting robots, raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley.

Odds and Ends
Energy Vault, a Swiss developer of utility-scale renewable energy storage solutions, raised $110 million in Series B funding from SoftBank Vision Fund.

Form Energy, a Somerville, Mass.-based developer of long-duration energy storage solutions, raised $40 million in Series B funding. Eni Next led and was joined by Capricorn Investment Group and return backers Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, The Engine, and Macquarie Capital.

Sunverge, a San Francisco-based maker of energy management systems for utilities, has raised $11 million in funding led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund, with Equinor Energy Ventures and Evergy Ventures also participating.

Mason, a Seattle-based developer of mobile infrastructure for IoT products, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Coatue Management led and was joined by GGV Capital and Base10.

Idein of Tokyo, Japan, received $7.8 million in venture funding for its IoT platform. The round was led by Global Brain with participation from Hakuodo DY Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV (Innovation Growth Ventures), Sony Financial Ventures, and DG Daiwa Ventures.

Praemo raised $3.5 million in Series A funding led by McRock Capital. The startup specializes in optimizing industrial operations with AI, analytics, and IIoT.

Coming soon
RRJ Capital reportedly will lead a $4 billion investment in Ingram Micro of Irvine, Calif., taking an equity stake of about 50%, Bloomberg reports. Bloomberg also reports that Amazon will invest in a new funding round for Indonesia’s Go-Jek.

PlusAI, a self-driving truck startup backed by Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, is in advanced talks to raise $200 million at a valuation north of $1 billion, also per Bloomberg.

Fig. 1: August 2019 funding. Source: Company/industry reports/Semiconductor Engineering

Prior Startup Funding Reports
July19 Startup Funding
Twenty-one startups raised mega-rounds.
June’19 Startup Funding
Fifteen startups raised mega-rounds in June.
May’19 Startup Funding: Mega-Funding Rounds Continue
Startups revel in investments of billions of dollars.
April’19 Startup Funding: Corporate Gushers
Money pours into startups with more big investments on the way.
March’19 Startup Funding: Money Springs Forth
The SoftBank Vision Fund figures in some of the biggest rounds in the month.
February’19 Startup Funding: Big Cash Keeps Rolling In
A month with a trio of billion-dollar rounds.
January’19 Startup Funding: $100M+ Rounds Abound
Billion-dollar funding rounds become more common.
December’18 Startup Funding: Big Rounds As 2018 Ends
Mobility pulls in half of the $100M-plus funding rounds.
November’18 Startup Funding: Big Deals Dominate
Nine-figure funding rounds were common in November.
October’18 Startup Funding: IoT, Security, Auto
Funding flows to a variety of startups; M&A in security


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