Sunday, January 28, 2018

Venture capital deals of the week

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|By:, SA News Editor
ID tech: Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) acquired ID verification startup Confirm.io for undisclosed terms. The team and tech will fold into Facebook.
The three-year-old company provided an API that let companies quickly verify the authenticity of a government-issued identification card. 
Confirm.io raised at least $4M since its launch. 
CAR-T developer: Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) and Lilly Asia Ventures (NYSE:LLY) were among the investors in a $100M Series A round for Tmunity. Other investors included Ping An Ventures, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Be the Match BioTherapies, and Penn Medicine. Tmunity has now raised $110M in funding.
Tmunity develops novel products using the immunological potential of T-cells to fight cancer. The company has two solid tumor pipeline projects in early clinical development: one CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cells) program and one TCR (T-cell receptor) program.   
Competition: Novartis (NYSE:NVS) has the FDA-approved CAR-T treatment Kymriah for B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and Kite Pharma (now owned by Gilead) received approval for Yescarta for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) just acquired the rest of CAR-T developer Juno Therapeutics (NASDAQ:JUNO). 
Linear generator: American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) participated in an $83M Series C round in linear generator manufacturer EtaGen. The round brings EtaGen up to $133M in funding. 
Fellow strategic investors Centrica Innovations, Statoil Energy Ventures, KCK Group, Louis M. Bacon, joined AEP. Existing investors include Bill Gates and Kholsa Ventures.  
Commercial drone: Intel Capital (NASDAQ:INTC) , Comcast Ventures (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Verizon Ventures (NYSE:VZ), and Syngenta Ventures (NYSE:SYT) were among the participants in a $75M Series D round for commercial drone company PrecisionHawk. The round brought the total funding up to $104M and was led by Third Point Ventures. 
PrecisionHawk was founded in 2010 and provides drones and associated software and services so that companies can use unmanned aerial vehicles.
The startup says it has clients in 150 countries in industries including agriculture, insurance, energy, and construction.  
Competition: Other drone startups include Kespry ($61.4M total funding), DroneDeploy ($31M), Iris Automation ($10M), and Prenav ($6.5M). 
Outlook competitor: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Outlook competitor Front raised a $66M Series B round led by Sequoia and DFJ. Total funding now stands at $79M. As part of the investment, Sequoia’s Bryan Schreier will join the Front board. 
Front has 2.5K companies using its shared inboxes and other communication channels including text messages, live chat, and Twitter. Front has dozens of integrations with third-party services. 
Front processed over 350M emails and messages last year and half of its DAUs don’t open Gmail or Outlook at all, which has inspired Front to work on developing a client for single users that still have a share option.
The startup has enough cash for the job with the CTO claiming a nine-year-long runway. 
Meal subscription:  Blue Apron (NYSE:APRN) competitor Sun Basket received a $57.8M funding round that included a $42.8M Series D round led by August Capital and a $15M debt segment from Trinity Capital Investment. Total funding now tops $100M. 
Sun Basket stands apart for offering organic, healthy meals with options for specialized diets like paleo and gluten-free with plans to add vegan, Mediterranean, and pescatarian options.  
VentureBeat reported that Sun Basket hit a $275M revenue run rate this month with net revenue up 280% on the year. 
AR camera app: SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY, OTCPK:SFTBF) and Sequoia Capital China invested $50M in AR camera app developer Snow China, which is owned by Naver Corporation (OTCPK:NHNCF).  
Snow will use the investment to build on its AR tech and spread out further geographically beyond the current markets of Korea, Japan, and China. 
Snow’s Snapchat-like (NYSE:SNAP) products include the B612 and Foodie apps, which include picture filters and stickers. The company launched in 2015 and now has more than 100M subscribers.         

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