Mega-Funding Rounds Continue

Startups revel in investments of billions of dollars.

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In May, 20 startups enjoyed the distinction of getting a mega-round of $100 million or more in private funding. Those 20 companies together took in more than $6.65 billion.

There were two billion-dollar investments in recent weeks.

GM Cruise, the autonomous vehicle startup, received $1.15 billion in new funding from General Motors, Honda Motor, the SoftBank Vision Fund, T. Rowe Price Associates, and others. The company has been given $7.25 billion in private funding in the past year. This latest round pushes GM Cruise’s post-money valuation to $19 billion.

Getting an even $1 billion was Rappi, the Latin American delivery service. The SoftBank Innovation Fund and the SoftBank Vision Fund were the sources of the money, which Rappi will use to expand its operations. It now delivers a variety of items and products in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay. Many of its bicycle riders and delivery drivers have fled from Venezuela, the scene of economic devastation and political violence.

China’s Megvii, known as Face++, is an artificial intelligence startup specializing in facial recognition technology. It got the third biggest funding round of the month, $750 million. Bank of China Group Investment led the round, contributing $200 million. Also investing were Alibaba Group (a return backer), Macquarie Group, ICBC Asset Management (Global) Co., and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Megvii plans to have an initial public offering on the Hong Kong exchange later this year. It has hired Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and J.P. Morgan as the lead underwriters for the offering. Facial recognition technology is becoming controversial around the world, due to its use in China for targeting political and religious activists in the name of public safety. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to ban the use of facial recognition by city agencies, including the police department.

DoorDash, the food delivery giant, received $600 million in Series G funding led by Darsana Capital Partners and Sands Capital, which were joined by existing investors Coatue Management, Dragoneer Investment Group, DST Global, Sequoia Capital, SoftBank Vision Fund, and Temasek. The company now has a post-money valuation of $12.6 billion. DoorDash received $1.785 billion in four rounds during 2018 and 2019. Its total private funding over six years is more than $2 billion.

Food delivery companies, along with general-purpose and specialized delivery services, were on the receiving end of big investments in May. At least 10 startups were funded during the past month, and Uber Technologies, the parent company of the Uber Eats food delivery service, completed its initial public offering in early May.

London-based Deliveroo raised $575 million in Series G funding led by Amazon, which is ending its Amazon Restaurants food delivery service for Amazon Prime subscribers this month, due to fierce competition with Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Existing investors Fidelity Management and Research, Greenoaks Capital, and T. Rowe Price also participated in the new round.

India’s Grofers, an online grocery store and delivery service, received $200 million in Series F funding led by the SoftBank Vision Fund. KTB Ventures also participated, along with existing investors Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital.

Half Moon Bay, Calif.-based Zipline, a drone delivery service for medical supplies, raised $190 million in Series C funding led by Katalyst.Ventures, joined by Baillie Gifford, GV, Temasek, Goldman Sachs, and The Rise Fund. The company is now a “unicorn” startup, with a post-money valuation of $1.2 billion.

Barcelona-based Glovo received €150 million (about $168 million) in Series D funding led by Lakestar, with participation by Drake, Idinvest Partners, and Korelya Capital. Glovo offers an on-demand delivery platform, including an application and a transport network, connecting shoppers with businesses.

There were just a few ride-hailing startups that won new funding in May. Israel-based Gett got $200 million in private equity and debt financing. The company focuses on business customers, as Uber originally did, and now is another “unicorn” with a post-money valuation of $1.5 billion. Gett’s service is available in Israel, New York City, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The company is planning for a 2020 IPO; CEO Dave Waiser will choose between London and New York for the offering.

Cybersecurity
Investors are still very interested in cybersecurity startups, putting money into more than 20 of them in May.

New York-based Dashlane, which provides credential and digital identity management software, raised $110 million in Series D funding led by Sequoia Capital. Returning backers Rho Ventures, FirstMark Capital, and Bessemer Venture Partners were also involved. Dashlane provides a popular password management service.

Receiving $103 million in Series E funding was Auth0 of Bellevue, Wash., which has an identity and authentication platform. Sapphire Ventures led the new round, joined by K9 Ventures, Telstra Ventures, and other investors. Founded in 2013, the startup is yet another “unicorn” with a $1 billion valuation.

New York-based BlueVoyant raised $82.5 million in Series B funding led by Fiserv. The startup offers threat intelligence, managed security, and professional services. Its valuation now stands at more than $430 million. BlueVoyant has a total of $207.5 million in private funding, according to Crunchbase.

Exabeam of San Mateo, Calif., received $75 million in Series E funding jointly led by new investor Sapphire Ventures and existing investor Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation by other investors. Exabeam calls itself “the Smarter SIEM company.” It has transitioned from being a user and entity behavior analytics vendor to a provider of security information and event management. The startup claims it is taking SIEM business away from IBM, LogRhythm, McAfee, Micro Focus International, RSA Security, and Splunk. Exabeam has raised $190 million in five rounds over five years.

Tel Aviv-based Guardicore raised $60 million in Series C funding led by Qumra Capital, a new investor. Existing investors Battery Ventures, 83North, TPG Growth, Greenfield Partners, and new investors DTCP, Partech, and Access Industries’ ClalTech also participated. The startup has $106 million in total private funding, per Crunchbase, for developing its workload protection offerings for data centers and public cloud services.

Other newly funded startups include JumpCloud, identity management software-as-a-service, $50 million; Red Canary, endpoint security and cyberthreat detection, $34 million; Siemplify, security orchestration platform, $30 million; DivvyCloud, security and compliance automation for public cloud and container infrastructure, $20 million; Evident ID, identity and credential verification, $20 million; AttackIQ, continuous security validation, $17.6 million; Tempered Networks, zero-trust networking platform, $17 million; and ZeroNorth (formerly Cybric), security and risk management tools, $10 million.

Automotive/Mobility
About 15 startups in automotive and mobility technology were funded in May. In addition to GM Cruise’s mammoth round, India’s BlackBuck truck logistics startup received $150 million in Series D funding co-led by Goldman Sachs and Accel, with participation by Wellington Management, Sequoia Capital, B Capital, Light Street Capital Management, and return backers Sands Capital and International Finance Corp. (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank. Founded in 2015, the company is now valued at slightly less than $1 billion.

Croatia-based Rimac Automobili, a developer of electric vehicles, raised €80 million (about $89.6 million) from Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors. The company was founded in 2009. Porsche last year bought a 10% stake in the startup.

Ghost Locomotion of Mountain View, Calif., received $32 million in Series C funding. Founders Fund led the round, joined by Khosla Ventures and Sutter Hill Ventures. The startup offers the Ghost Autopilot self-driving system, which it says can be installed in any car.

Berlin-based FreightHub, a digital freight forwarder, raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Rider Global, joined by Maersk Growth and return backers Northzone, Global Founders Capital, Unbound, and Cherry Ventures.

Bond Mobility of Palo Alto, Calif., took in $20 million of Series A funding for its electric bicycle. Denso’s New Mobility Group, which includes SoftBank and Toyota, was behind the round.

Intel Capital led a Series A round of $17 million for Tel Aviv-based TriEye, the developer of an automotive sensor using short-wave-infrared technology. The startup had a seed round of $3 million a year ago. TriEye was founded in 2016 and bases its product on research at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Semiconductors
There were a few other semiconductor-related startups with new funding.

Cynora of San Jose, Calif., received $25 million in Series C funding led by SRF. The supplier of organic light-emitting diode materials also got investments from DBOLED, SBI Cross-Border Advantage Fund, and return backers MIG Funds and Wecken & Cie.

Intrinsic ID got an €11 million (about $12.3 million) loan from the European Investment Bank to expand its research and development, engineering, product development, and support resources.

Agile Analog of Cambridge, U.K., raised €4.5 million ($5 million) in Pre-A funding from Delin Ventures, firstminute Capital, and MMC Ventures. Founded in 2017, the firm provides analog intellectual property and an AI-driven platform for chip design.

Odds and Ends
Jawbone, the developer of a wearable activity tracker, met its demise in 2017. CEO Hossain Rahman had another idea, which is embodied in Jawbone Health. The startup received $65.4 million in private funding to develop and market a wearable-driven health monitoring service. It touts itself as “a personalized subscription service that utilizes continuous health information combined with human and machine intelligence to take care of its members on a daily basis.”

San Francisco-based Tempo Automation raised $45 million in Series C funding to continue manufacturing printed circuit boards with its proprietary platform. Point72 Ventures led the round and was joined by fellow return backers Lux Capital and Uncork Capital, plus new investor Lockheed Martin.

Firefly received $30 million in Series A funding led by GV, with participation by NFX. The startup last year raised $21.5 million in seed funding. It provides electronic advertising displays that go onto the roofs of ride-hailing vehicles. It now operates in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with an imminent launch in New York City.

Conclusion
Investors are looking for the next big startups. Money continues to flow freely.


Fig. 1: May startup funding. Source: Semiconductor Engineering/company reports

Prior Startup Funding Reports
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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