Last month, there were some notable investment deals, with Stripe securing the largest round of funding at $6.5 billion. However, the overall pace of fundraising activity slowed down as the month progressed, possibly due to the short-term effects of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse.
1.Stripe’s latest funding round is a Series I, which is not the typical late-stage growth round. The company, based in South San Francisco, will use the funds to provide liquidity to current and former employees, and offset a tax bill that will come due when it modifies employees’ stock grants that are set to expire. While the $50 billion valuation is a significant drop from the $95 billion valuation in March 2021, several firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and General Catalyst participated in the round, with no lead investor announced. It remains to be seen how Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse will impact fundraising in the second quarter of the year.
2.Rippling, a San Francisco-based HR management company, was impacted by the collapse of its primary banking partner, SVB. The collapse left 50,000 employees across Rippling’s customer base at risk of not being paid. To support these customers, Rippling utilized $130 million of its own capital. In order to meet payroll the following week, CEO Parker Conrad reached out to existing investor Neil Mehta at Greenoaks to lead and close a $500 million Series E funding round. This latest funding round values Rippling at $11.25 billion, the same valuation as its May 2022 Series D funding.
3.Despite the recent news surrounding Silicon Valley Bank, Adept AI has announced a successful raise of $350 million led by General Catalyst and Spark Capital. With this new financing, the startup’s post-money valuation has reached at least $1 billion. Adept AI is focused on developing AI models that go beyond chatbot capabilities, turning commands into actions that could help users with tasks such as navigating enterprise software or browsing the internet. The startup had previously raised $65 million in a Series A round. The success of Adept AI and other generative AI startups shows that they continue to raise large sums of money despite external factors.
4.San Francisco-based AI startup, Anthropic, has been busy raising hundreds of millions of dollars this year. Shortly after securing funding from Google, reports emerged of another $300 million round being raised by the company at a pre-investment valuation of $4.1 billion. Spark Capital is reportedly leading the new round, following Google’s investment of $300 million to $400 million in the startup in February. Anthropic’s AI chatbot, Claude, is currently in closed beta mode and is expected to combat harmful prompts by explaining why they are dangerous or misguided. Prior to this year’s fundraising, Anthropic had raised $704 million across Series A and B funding rounds in 2022, with the Series B led by Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of FTX.
5.Last month was a big one for biotech startups, with Cargo Therapeutics securing a $200 million Series A funding round co-led by Third Rock Ventures, RTW Investments, and Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund. The San Mateo-based company is focused on developing CAR T-cell therapies to treat cancer and is currently in phase 2 clinical trials for its large B-cell lymphoma treatment. This marks Cargo Therapeutics’ first outside funding since its founding in 2021, according to Crunchbase.
6. Element8, a Dallas-based internet service provider, has raised a $200 million strategic investment from Digital Alpha to expand home broadband internet access in the US. According to the latest data from Pew Research Center, around a quarter of the US population lacks home broadband internet, with even lower adoption rates in rural and minority communities. Element8 aims to address this issue, and has acquired high-speed internet provider AtLink Services, based in Oklahoma City, as part of its efforts. This marks the first outside funding for the company since its founding in 2015, according to Crunchbase.
7. Gravie, a Minneapolis-based health benefits startup, has raised $179 million in an equity investment round led by General Atlantic, with the aim of offering affordable healthcare benefits for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Gravie’s flagship health plan, Comfort, will be expanded using the funds, along with other expansion initiatives. The startup currently collaborates with over 1,200 firms throughout the United States. Gravie has raised over $340 million since it was founded in 2013, according to Crunchbase data. Healthcare benefits are expensive for companies to offer, and with the costs of medical and health care continuously increasing, it has become more challenging for small firms.
8. Palo Alto-based Character.ai has secured $150 million in a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, valuing the startup at $1 billion and making it the latest unicorn in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The round had been reported earlier in the previous month. Using language models and deep-learning algorithms, the company’s platform allows users to create personalized AI chatbots that can serve as a study partner, brainstorming assistant, email drafter, or support for various other tasks. Character.ai joins a growing list of AI startups, including OpenAI, Anthropic, and Adept AI, that have recently raised significant funds. The popularity and size of the AI industry continue to expand.
9. Palmetto, a cleantech company based in Charleston, South Carolina, has secured $150 million in funding from TPG Rise Climate, reflecting the continued strong interest of investors in the cleantech and climate tech sectors. Palmetto’s platform streamlines the entire residential solar process for providers, from sales to design, engineering, permitting, and fulfillment, in response to the growing consumer demand for solar energy. According to the Energy Information Administration, solar capacity is predicted to grow by 84% over the next two years, with more households turning to solar as a way to reduce their electricity bills. Palmetto, founded in 2009, has raised nearly $630 million to date, according to Crunchbase data.
10. Brooklyn-based cleantech firm Amogy has concluded last month’s fundraising with a $139 million Series B-1 funding round led by SK Innovation, making it the latest cleantech company to receive significant investment. The new funding will enable the company to commence production of its ammonia-to-power technology and launch its first product. Amogy had previously showcased an ammonia-powered semi-truck in January and plans to reveal a new ammonia-powered tugboat later this year, with the aim of bringing its first commercial offering to market next year. According to Crunchbase, the company, founded in 2020, has now raised over $200 million.