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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch for Wednesday, February 23, 2022! There’s so much to come today that I won’t be late other than to say that our mobility-focused event is becoming a bangerÎ. Work! – Alex
Ploonge top 3
- Cuban-backed Fireside wants to increase: And at a price, to boot. The service that “helps creators reach audiences through live and virtual shows” is on the hunt for a Series A, reports our own Manish Singh. Fireside is looking to raise around $25 million. More when the deal is closed.
- As Nubank shares fall, it’s time to worry about fintech valuations? In the 2021 rah-rah venture cycle, a large number of large fintech rounds were raised and companies in the sector went public. But in late 2021 and into 2022, we saw fintech valuations plummet. They dropped even further today. Is it time to worry?
- Climate technology is heating up: The data indicate that the market for investing in climate-focused companies is hot, with 2021 bringing large sums to the sector. The numbers are not fintech-scale, but they are impressive, with $40 billion from 600 deals disbursed last year. Let’s see if 2022 can beat those numbers.
Before we get into our daily startup stock download, a few highlights from today’s coverage. First, Varos is collecting customer data to provide SaaS and e-commerce companies with real-time market performance metrics. So if you’re worried that your conversion rates have dropped, you can see if other people are having related issues. Tidy.
And Vendr bought Blissfully in a deal worth about $100 million. Vendr’s SaaS purchasing service has grown rapidly over the past year. Blissfully brings SaaS management into the world of Vendr, perhaps helping the acquiring entity create a start-to-finish method for purchasing and managing software.
Now, to dive into funding rounds, let’s start with a coven of data-related events:
- Redpanda raises $50 million: Today on good boot names, am I right? The company has built an open source data streaming tool. I won’t try to explain any more than that, as I don’t want to make a fool of myself in front of you. According to Ron Miller, Redpanda is up against Kafka, which sounds cool. (Forget a bug, we’re Kafkaing on pandas now, boys!)
- Compliance as a Service Raises $56 Million: As the world discovers how to better handle data privacy and security, there are an increasing number of standards for companies that handle information to meet. Secureframe just earned a coin for its work in space, which it claims allowed it to increase its ARR 10x in 2021. Not bad.
- MLobs is big business: It seems like just a few weeks ago I was learning about machine learning operations tools or MLops tools. Now we need to add machine learning observability, or MLobs, to our lexicons. Aporia has just raised $25 million for its MLobs efforts.
- BlueVoyant raises a quarter of a billion dollars: Naturally, the cybersecurity company is now a unicorn thanks to the deal, which would otherwise be a buyout. But evaluation aside, BlueVoyant just raised a huge pile of cash. For what? Cybersecurity for the enterprise, combining what we describe as “proprietary technology, first-class third-party tools and professional services”. Not losing your data is, well, a immense Marketplace.
And, as always, there are even more rounds, offers and announcements to read:
- Charli D’Amelio + Lightbricks: From TikTok to venture capital, the world of influencers and investors is converging. D’Amelio, famous on social media, invested capital in LightBricks, which makes visual tools for social media. Synergies are not difficult to detect.
- WorkWhile wants you to be flexible as you work: I like the idea here. WorkWhile is a company that wants to help hourly workers find work and enjoy a set of benefits like next-day pay. Frankly, the way we treat unsafe workers in the United States is rubbish, and so services to help get information – and therefore power – back into your hands are welcome.
- Music stars back on the gaming device: Backbone just raised $40 million for its gaming peripheral, which makes mobile gaming more viable. Our own Greg Kumparak is a fan of the product, and The Weeknd, Post Malone and Diddy contributed capital to the funding event.
- Don’t call it a pipe dream: Pipe, the company that became known for building a market where software companies could sell future cash receipts, is expanding into new markets. including media.
- In unrelated news, I recently received a huge amount of money and my entire Ploonge catalog is now brought to you by Pipe! Bon voyage, shout from my yacht.
But don’t think we’re all work and not play: we’ve got a great look at the Elden Ring today, as well as a podcast episode on how startups should think about the Great Layoff. Enjoy!
14 climate tech investors share their H1 2022 strategies
Oil and gas production generates so much excess methane that it is cheaper to ignite it in a process called flaring than to capture it for sale.
In the US alone, producers burn so much gas that astronauts aboard the International Space Station can spot oil fields 254 miles below.
Presumably, they can also see Antarctica’s Thwaite Glacier — it’s the size of Florida, but it’s shrinking because greenhouse gases like methane trap heat in the atmosphere that warms our oceans.
For our latest investor survey, we contacted 14 people who are using their dollars to address the climate emergency. In addition to sharing their investment thesis, they also let us know what they are looking for and how they measure success.
We talked to:
- Alex Bondar, partner, Acre Venture Partners
- Carolin Funk, partner, Blue Bear Capital
- Georgia Sherwin, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives, Closed Loop Partners
- Joshua Posamentier, co-founder and managing partner of Congruent Ventures
- Shayle Kann, partner, Energy Impact Partners
- Heidi Lindvall, General Partner, Pale Blue Dot
- Robert Downey Jr., Jon Schulhof, Steve Levin and Rachel Kropa of the Footprint Coalition
- Maryanna Saenko, co-founder and partner at Future Ventures
- Valerie Shen, partner and COO, G2 Venture Partners
- Thai Nguyen, partner, MCJ Collective
- David Frykman, General Partner, Norrsken VC
(Ploonge+ is our membership program, which helps startup founders and teams progress. You can apply here.)
Big Tech Inc.
I doubt Apple really has a problem with the Netherlands, but its dispute with the country over in-app purchase techniques is drawing more ire than Dutch angst. The EU is saying that “the company is deliberately choosing to pay fines to avoid complying with a Dutch antitrust order,” we report. If Apple isn’t mad at the Utrecth squad, what is it doing? Probably trying to avoid setting a precedent in Europe that other nations might follow.
Oh, and apparently LinkedIn is getting into the podcast game. Which makes sense. Because I always expect that a platform cloud company with an enterprise software empire that also manufactures consumer hardware, owns game companies, a search engine, social networks, and various digital services too, yes, does a lot of podcasting stuff.
Ploonge is recruiting recruiters for Ploonge Experts, an ongoing project where we ask top professionals about common problems and challenges in early stage startups. If it’s you or someone you know, you can let us know here.