Whatnot Goes Big; TAE Powers Up With $250M

This is a weekly feature that runs down the week’s top 10 funding rounds in the U.S. Check out last week’s biggest funding rounds here.

Rounds raised by U.S.-based startups were big this week, with three topping $200 million. No one category stood out, as investors wrote checks for anything ranging from livestream shopping to biotech to ways to develop clean drinking water. After a slow start to the month, large rounds have come back into play for some startups.

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1. Whatnot, $260M, e-commerce: Investors clearly seem to think livestream shopping is the next evolutionary step for commerce. DST Global and Alphabet’s growth fund, CapitalG, co-led a $260 million Series D for Los Angeles-based Whatnot. The round now values the live shopping platform at $3.7 billion—a 2.5x increase from September when its valuation was $1.5 billion. That’s an impressive jump considering the venture market was very different in September. However, the company seems to be coming off an impressive year. Whatnot said it grew sales more than 20x year over year last year, and more than tripled its monthly sales thus far in 2022. Founded in 2019, the company has raised nearly $485 million, according to Crunchbase data.

2. TAE Technologies, $250M, energy: The promise of real nuclear fusion energy continues to fire up investors. TAE Technologies is the latest to ride that wave of interest, as the Foothill Ranch, California-based company raised a $250 million round that induced cash from the likes of Google and Chevron. The last year has been big for fusion startups, as companies such as Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Helion Energy, General Fusion and others have raised substantial rounds. Fusion energy—created when two atoms are merged—is the holy grail of clean energy. With many experts thinking it is getting closer to being commercialized, investors are lining up their bets. TAE has collected a lot of those bets, as the company—founded in 1998—said it has now raised $1.2 billion.

3. Delfi Diagnostics, $225M, biotech: Unfortunately, cancer remains a public health concern, and early ways to detect and monitor the dreaded disease are always going to be highly sought after. Baltimore-based Delfi Diagnostics has developed a way to look for DNA fragments in a patient’s bloodstream that are linked to specific forms of cancer. The new technology was interesting enough to help the company close a $225 million Series B led by DFJ Growth. The company—founded in 2019—will use the new proceeds for continued development and commercialization of its blood tests. Delfi has now raised more than $330 million, according to Crunchbase.

4. Meati Foods, $150M, food tech: You can buy a lot of filet mignon with $150 million—probably even more if it’s “faux” filet mignon. Boulder, Colorado-based Meati Foods became the latest food tech startup making plant-based meat to score a large funding round, locking up a $150 million Series C funding led by Revolution Growth. Meati specializes in creating whole-cut steak cutlets and chunks that use mycelium—a mushroom root—to stand in for meat. Cuts of meat have proven a problem for the fake meat industry as the texture is hard to replicate. However, Meati’s cuts are already being sold in grocery stores and restaurants in Arizona and Colorado. The company has raised $278.6 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

5. Source, $130M, environmental engineering: Other than oxygen, nothing is more important than water—yet viable sources of drinking water are getting scarcer. Scotttsdale, Arizona-based Source, a developer of sustainable drinking water technology, closed a $130 million Series D led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and The Drawdown Fund. The company’s tech uses the sun to draw water vapor out of the air and transform it into mineralized drinking water, even in low-humidity locations. According to the company, at least 2.4 billion people globally do not have  clean water to drink, and by 2050 that number will increase to 6 billion as a result of climate change. Founded in 2014, Source says it has raised a total of $270 million to date.

6. ClassDojo, $125M, edtech: San Francisco-based edtech startup ClassDojo announced it closed a $125 million Series D led by Tencent that valued the company at $1.25 billion. The round was raised in September, but was not announced at the time. Founded in 2011, the company has now raised more than $190 million, per Crunchbase.

7. (tied) Camp4 Therapeutics, $100M, biotech: Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm Camp4 Therapeutics raised a $100 million Series B led by Enavate Sciences. Founded in 2016, the company—which is developing RNA treatments—has raised $190 million, according to Crunchbase.

7. (tied) FlexGen, $100M, energy storage: Durham, North Carolina-based FlexGen closed a $100 million Series C led by Vitol. Founded in 2009, the energy storage solutions provider has now raised more than $275 million, per Crunchbase data.

9. Halborn, $90M, cybersecurity: Miami-based Halborn, a cybersecurity firm for traditional finance and blockchain-based customers, completed a $90 million round led by Summit Partners. Founded in 2019, this was the company’s first external round.

10. BigHat Biosciences, $75M, biotech: San Mateo, California-based BigHat Biosciences raised a $75 million Series B funding round led by Section 32. Founded in 2019, BigHat, which is developing antibody therapies for patients using machine learning and synthetic biology, has raised $105 million to date, according to the company.

Big global deals

Even though U.S.-based startups saw some large raises this week, the two largest rounds came from European companies.

  • Paris-based customer behavior analytics firm Contentsquare closed a $400 million Series F.
  • Oxford Science Enterprises announced it raised nearly $300 million—bringing its total raised to $1 billion.

Methodology

We tracked the largest rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies for the seven-day period of July 16-22. Although most announced rounds are represented in the database, there could be a small time lag as some rounds are reported late in the week.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Whatnot Goes Big; TAE Powers Up With 0M


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