A weekly recap of the most interesting venture capital deals, funds and start-ups.
Luxury online marketplace Farfetch made its market debut Friday, after selling 44.2 million shares and raising $885 million in the IPO with a valuation around $6.2 billion (factoring in shares already held by employees). Founded in 2008 by José Neves, Farfetch began as a platform to help local high-end boutiques reach broader audiences and later evolved as a tool through which brands like Gucci could sell directly to customers. Farfetch makes its money primarily through commissions on sales via its website. Its early backers include Advent Venture Partners, Vitrurian Partners and China's JD.com.
Online ticketing platform Eventbrite made its stock market debut on Thursday with shares opening at $36. The company priced shares at $23 on Wednesday night, raising $230 million in the IPO. The stock now trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "EB." Founded 12 years ago by Julia and Kevin Hartz, Eventbrite issued more than 203 million tickets last year. Eventbrite charges event creators a fee for the tickets that they sell to attendees online. The company had raised $332.3 million in venture funding prior to its IPO from investors including Tiger Global, Sequoia, DAG Ventures and Tenaya Capital.
Lucid Motors, an electric vehicle maker, has reportedly raised $1 billion from Saudia Arabia's public investment fund. The company intends to use the capital to launch its first electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, in 2020. Earlier investors included Venrock, Tsing Capital and LeEco. Lucid Motors Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson previously served as the chief engineer for Tesla's most successful car to date, its luxury Model S sedan.
Indigo Agriculture raised $250 million in a series E round of funding from Ballie Gifford, Alaska Permanent Fund and others to develop microbes that help farmers grow crops even in challenging conditions. The beneficial microbes can be applied as a liquid or powder coating to seeds (a standard process in agriculture already). They also can be sprayed onto flowering plants, which take the beneficial microbes into their seeds.
Postmates, the on-demand delivery app, raised $300 million in a new funding round led by Tiger Global. Now valued at $1.2 billion, Postmates competes with Instacart, Square's Caviar, Uber Eats and other on-demand couriers.
Alphabet's growth fund GapitalG, Sequoia Capital and Accel are among investors pouring $225 million into UiPath, a developer of "robotic process automation" software. Such technology can help large businesses automate tedious work, particularly in finance, accounting, ticketing and repricing.
UBiome, a microbial genomics start-up, raised $83 million in a series C investment led by OS Fund and including funding from 8VC, Y Combinator and Dentsu Ventures. The company has been studying "gut health," and the microbes that grow on people's skin, in their guts and elsewhere to glean insights about their overall health. CEO and founder Jessica Richman said in a statement that uBiome will now begin to develop therapeutics from its deep data sources.
Porsche led a series C round of funding in WayRay, an augmented reality hardware start-up that makes heads up displays that can show data overlays on windows or windshields. The $80 million round also included funding from Hyundai and Alibaba. WayRay aims to bring its heads up display technology to automakers next year, the company told TechCrunch.
WHILL, a maker of personal electric vehicles, raised $45 million in a round of funding from SBI Investment, Daiwa, WHIZ Partners and Endeavor Catalyst. The company's wheelchairs and personal transporters are battery powered, and have a tight turning radius, which makes them appealing for use in crowded settings like amusement parks and grocery stores.
Maternal health focused Alydia Health raised $10 million in a series B funding round led by Global Health Investment Fund. The company is developing technology that quickly stops postpartum bleeding in mothers by helping the uterus to contract and compress open blood vessels.
Convoy raised $185 million in a series C funding round led by Alphabet's CapitalG. The start-up's app connects shippers with carriers who have drivers and space in their trucks to haul their cargo. In a press release, Convoy CEO Dan Lewis said the start-up aims to make trucking a more efficient and expedient industry. Earlier investors in Convoy include Greylock Partners, U2's Bono and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff .
Funds and Firms
Cigna launched a $250 million corporate venture fund to invest in health start-ups.
Base10 VC has closed its debut fund at $137 million. It intends to invest in early-stage artificial intelligence start-ups that want to help employees do their jobs, rather than putting them out of work.
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