June Startup Funding

Fifteen startups raised mega-rounds in June.

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During the month of June, there were 15 startups that brought in funding rounds of $100 million or more, as investors continued to chase deals in cybersecurity, automotive technology, semiconductors, and a variety of services. There were no billion-dollar deals as spring slid into summer; yet, those 15 companies together raised a total of about $3.13 billion.

Aurora Innovation, the developer of self-driving car technology, added more than $70 million to its Series B funding, which had a first close of $530 million in February. Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors joined the band of investors backing Aurora, which includes Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners and Index Ventures. In May, Aurora agreed to acquire Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, a frequency-modulated continuous wave LiDAR imaging startup in Bozeman, Mont., which also offers supporting analytic software tools.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), the private equity firm, led a Series D round of $300 million in KnowBe4 of Tampa Bay, Fla., which offers security awareness training and a simulated phishing platform. Existing investors Elephant and TenEleven Ventures also participated. KKR had put $50 million into the cybersecurity startup in March of this year; KnowBe4 has raised a total of $393.5 million in private funding, according to Crunchbase. Goldman Sachs has also invested in the company.

Invesco, an independent investment management company, put $300 million into Grab, the Singapore-based provider of food deliveries, ride hailing, and other services in Southeast Asia. OppenheimerFunds invested $403 million in Grab a year ago, and Invesco this year acquired OppenheimerFunds, bringing the total investment by one firm to $703 million. Grab has raised more than $9 billion to date, including $1.5 billion from SoftBank Investment Advisers in March.

Carbon of Redwood City, Calif., raised more than $260 million in Series E funding, led by Madrone Capital Partners and Baillie Gifford. Also participating in the new round are Temasek, Arkema, and return backers Sequoia Capital, Adidas Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Fidelity Management & Research, and JSR Corporation. The supplier of 3D printers and digital manufacturing platforms has raised a total of $682 million, per Crunchbase, and now has a private valuation of more than $2.4 billion.

France-based Meero, which operates an on-demand photography platform for businesses, received $230 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Eurazeo Growth and Prime Ventures, with participation from Avenir Growth Global Founders Capital, Aglaé Ventures, Alven, White Star Capital, and Idinvest Partners. Meero employs artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to streamline photo editing for more than 31,000 customers in 100-plus countries. It engages the services of 58,000 freelance photographers. The company was established in 2016 and has raised $293.4 million in total private funding.

Founded in 2012, Adjust of Berlin, Germany, raised $227 million in Series E funding from Eurazeo Growth, Highland Europe, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, and Sofina. The startup provides anti-fraud tools and mobile ad measurement software. Its software is embedded in more than 25,000 applications, with clients including NBCUniversal, Pinterest, Procter & Gamble, Robinhood, and Zynga.

Fungible of Santa Clara, Calif., received $200 million in Series C funding led by the SoftBank Vision Fund, joined by Norwest Venture Partners and return backers Battery Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Redline Capital, and Walden Riverwood Ventures. Its Fungible Data Processing Units are complemented with the company’s software for use in data centers. The startup has total private funding of $292.5 million.

Cybersecurity
June was another big month for cybersecurity startups. CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity unicorn, went public in June, raising $612 million from its very successful initial public offering. The company went public at $34 a share and its stock finished the month of June at $68.29 per share. That should hearten many investors in cybersecurity firms.

In addition to KnowBe4, which is now valued at more than $1 billion, at least 18 cybersecurity startups secured new funding in June.

SentinelOne of Mountain View, Calif., raised $120 million in Series D funding, bringing its total private funding to $229.5 million. Insight Partners led the new round and was joined by Samsung Venture Investment, NextEquity, and return backers Sound Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Third Point Ventures, Data Collective, Granite Hill Capital Partners, Westly Group, and SineWave Ventures. The company provides endpoint security for cloud-based services, containers, Internet of Things devices, laptop computers, and smartphones.

San Jose, Calif.-based Vectra AI received $100 million in Series E funding led by TCV, with participation by Khosla Ventures, Accel, and other existing investors. The company offers an AI-based platform for network threat detection and response. Vectra AI has raised a total of $222.5 million in private funding.

SecurityScorecard, a New York-based security ratings company, raised $50 million in Series D funding. Riverwood Capital led, and was joined by return backers Accomplice, Evolution Equity, Intel Capital, Two Sigma Ventures, and AXA Ventures. GV and Sequoia Capital have been investors in the startup, which provides a cybersecurity risk-monitoring platform. Its private funding totals $112.2 million.

Automotive/Mobility
Sixteen companies in automotive and mobility technology were funded during June, including Aurora Innovation and Grab.

Innoviz Technologies of Tel Aviv, Israel, kept its Series C funding open since March, and was rewarded with another $38 million on top of the initial $132 million for a total of $170 million. Initial investors in the Series C round included China Merchants Capital, Shenzhen Capital Group, New Alliance Capital, Israeli institutional investors Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services, and Phoenix Insurance Company. The newer investors were not identified. The LiDAR startup has raised $252 million during the past three years.

Wolt, a Finland-based food delivery service, raised $130 million in Series C funding led by ICONIQ Capital, with 83North, the EQT Ventures fund, Highland Europe, and Lifeline Ventures also participating.

Aera Technology, a Mountain View, Calif.-based self-driving enterprise platform, raised $80 million in Series C funding. DFJ Growth led and was joined by NewView Capital and Georgian Partners.

Bounce, an India-based scooter rental startup, raised $72 million in Series C funding led by B Capital and Falcon Edge Capital, with Chiratae Ventures, Maverick Ventures, Omidyar Network India, Qualcomm Ventures, and existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Accel Partners India also participating.

Semiconductors
Ten companies in the semiconductor space picked up new funding in June.

Mythic, an AI inference processor startup, raised $30 million in new Series B funding (round total is now $70 million). Valor Equity Partners led, and was joined by Future Ventures, Atreides, Micron Ventures, Lam Research, and return backers SoftBank Ventures Asia, Threshold Ventures, Lux Capital, DCVC, AME Cloud Ventures, and Lockheed Martin.

SiFive, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of commercial RISC-V processor IP and silicon, raised $65.4 million in Series D funding from Qualcomm Ventures and return backers Sutter Hill Ventures, Chengwei Capital, Spark Capital, Osage University Partners, and Huami.

Everactive (formerly PsiKick), a Charlottesville, Va.-based developer of Internet of Things sensors, raised $30 million in new funding led by Future Fund, with Blue Bear Capital, ABB Technology Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, and Osage University Partners also participating.

Sense Photonics, a Durham, N.C.-based developer of LiDAR and 3D sensors, raised $26 million in Series A funding. Acadia Woods and Congruent Ventures co-led, and were joined by Prelude Ventures, Samsung Ventures, and Shell Ventures.

Israel-based NeuroBlade, which is working on an AI inference processor, received $23 million in Series A funding from Intel Capital and other investors. In 2017, the startup got $4.5 million in seed funding from StageOne Ventures and Grove Ventures.

UltraSoC of Cambridge, England, received £5 million (about $6.35 million) in new funding from eCAPITAL and Seraphim Capital, joined by existing investors Indaco Venture Partners, Octopus Ventures, Oxford Capital, Techgate, and Guillaume d’Eyssautier.

Odds and ends
Software Motor, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based maker of electric motor systems, raised $31.4 million from JLL Spark and Meson Capital.

Hazelcast, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based in-memory computing platform, raised $21.5 million in new funding led by C5 Capital, with existing investors Bain Capital Ventures, Earlybird Venture Capital, and Capital One Growth Ventures also participating.

Edge Case Research, a Pittsburgh-based startup focused on AI safety problems, raised $7 million. Chris Urmson led, and was joined by Lockheed Martin Ventures, Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, Trucks VC, and Blue Tree Allied Angels.

SafeAI, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based startup developing autonomous vehicle technology for heavy equipment used in the mining and construction industries, raised $5 million in funding led by Autotech Ventures, with Brick & Mortar Ventures, Embark Ventures, and Monta Vista Capital also participating.

Conclusion
Find a need and fill it. An investor or two or more will likely be interested.

Prior Startup Funding Reports
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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