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Crunchbase News

Where startups meet money


RevenueCat Secures $15M Series A For App Subscription Platform

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-11 16:00

RevenueCat raised a $15 million Series A round, led by Index Ventures, to help developers find subscribers for their applications.

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“We make tools that let people build and grow a mobile subscription business quickly,” CEO Jacob Eiting, told Crunchbase News. “Our dashboard enables them to see how many subscriptions they have and provide customer support. It is a whole tech stack for running their business so they can focus on what they do.”

Adjacent, SaaStr, Oakhouse Partners, Josh Buckley, Harry Stebbings, Nicolas Dessaigne and Tobi Balling also participated in the investment. San Francisco-based RevenueCat was founded in 2017 and has raised a total of $16.5 million, including a $1.5 million seed round in 2018, according to Crunchbase data.

Prior to founding RevenueCat, Eiting himself was building apps and encountered challenges to getting them to market, and wanted to make it easier for developers to integrate subscriptions into mobile apps. The new investment will enable Revenue Cat to advance its technology.

“We are excited to have the funding,” Eiting said. “We help developers make money for doing what they do, create better software, and not have people’s data be sold.”

The company has 17 employees and Eiting expects that number to rise to 40 by the end of the year. He said he is largely focused on product development as more than 3,000 apps are using RevenueCat’s platform.

In the past month, RevenueCat tripled its business, essentially compressing six months of growth in three weeks, Eiting said. To help meet the demand, the company added five new people. Meanwhile, he said it is good timing to partner with Index Ventures because it enables the company to choose what it wants to work on.

“We are in a great place,” Eiting said. “We have all of this data and a built-in customer base that puts us in a great position to build more features.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

How Women Invest: A New Fund Announces First Close With 97 Investors

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-11 15:38

A new fund, How Women Invest, announced its first close of $5 million with 97 individual investors in the fund.

Ninety percent of the investors (LPs) in the fund are women, with over half being women of color–including Latinx, African American and Asian. This powerful network of entrepreneurs, board directors, and C-suite executives have already brought 60 deals to the table. The target raise for the fund is $10 million, with up to 249 limited partners based on fund rules in the Jobs Act. 

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Co-founder Erika Cramer

“Most venture funds would cringe at the thought of having 249 LPs to administer in a fund. We’re empowered by it,” said co-founder Erika Cramer. The average check size is $50,000 to $75,000, much lower than other funds. The fund also provides access and exposure. 

Cramer is a first-generation American who worked her way up in investment banking. She started out as a secretary and went on to found boutique investment banking firm Silver Lane Advisors, focused on mergers and acquisitions in financial services. With an exit over a year ago, Cramer was able to think about venture as a focus to create wealth and leadership opportunities for other female founders.   

Co-founder Julie Castro Abrams

Julie Castro Abrams, her co-founder, has spent decades supporting women. As the CEO of the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, a micro-finance organization, she helped low-income women start their own businesses.

From this experience, Castro Abrams founded How Women Lead, a network of 13,000 senior executive women leaders–where she met her co-founder. Castro Abrams was an early advocate for women on public boards, advocating for the legislation in California Senate Bill 826 that was passed a couple years ago and replicated in six states.

Castro Abrams also founded Board Leaders, an organization that conducts corporate board searches and helps train women for board seats. She was spurred to raise a fund when she saw how women would hit a wall when raising venture.

For Castro Abrams, “There’s an opportunity in this moment to have the lever of these very experienced women who are more educated, have more work experience than any other generation, and more wealth, but we’re not really optimizing it and leveraging it fully. I am all about changing the numbers” 

The firm will co-invest in 10 to 12 late-seed or Series A investments, with some funding held back for follow-on investments.

How Women Invest is poised to announce its first investment in a health tech startup.   

Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Axle Drives Freight Broker Financing Platform Forward With $27.7M

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-11 14:15

Axle received a $27.7 million boost of debt and equity financing to advance its platform that manages cash flow for freight brokers.

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Anthemis and Techstars participated in the round that includes $2.7 million in equity and $25 million in debt financing. This brings the New York-based company’s total amount raised since its inception in 2017 to $29.1 million, according to Crunchbase data. In January, Axle raised a $1.4 million pre-seed round, led by Trucks Venture Capital.

Co-founders Bharath Krishnamoorthy and Shawn Vo had the idea for Axle after learning how crucial cash flow is to small businesses–of which many freight forwarders are–while building a transportation tech company together.

Freight brokers earn a commission by securing transportation for goods that need to be moved. In the past, brokers were paid 30 or 40 days later by the customers who needed to ship their goods, at which time they would pay the transportation company. What changed was bigger companies entering the space, promising what they call “quick pay,” sometimes the next day, Krishnamoorthy, CEO, told Crunchbase News.

“Many of the brokers may only have revenue of $10 million or $12 million, so they are not sitting on a large portion of money they can lend out,” he added. “We help bridge that gap and take over all of that for them so they can focus on their business.”

Axle’s proprietary software-based service provides freight brokers and forwarders with that affordable working capital and back-office automation, as well as gives them their own “QuickPay” service to offer to their trucking company vendors.

In terms of where Axle will use the new funding, the debt portion will provide the financing and opportunity to scale operations to additional markets, while the equity will be invested in product development, Krishnamoorthy said.

Although the company was founded in 2017, Krishnamoorthy and Vo did not begin working on the concept until last year. Over the past 12 months, Axle has processed millions of dollars in invoices and continues to grow 40 percent month-over-month, Krishnamoorthy said.

It’s business nearly tripled since April, buoyed by brokers who needed help as the global pandemic grew worse.

“Brokers get hit on two fronts: During the recession their volumes fall when they aren’t getting paid by customers, but they also get hit on the upswing when they are doing more volume but are only working with the smaller amount of payables,” Krishnamoorthy added. “It’s likely that this cash flow problem will grow as the year progresses.”

Meanwhile, Ruth Foxe-Blader, partner at Anthemis, said via email that Axle was attractive due to its vision of supporting small and medium-sized businesses with financial products and risk management tools.

“COVID-19 has made this company even more relevant for a number of reasons: road freight is increasingly important, and small carriers will rely on Axle’s QuickPay solution in order to ensure smooth cash flows, enabling them to continue operating despite fluctuations in demand,” she added. “Axle’s technology stack is second-to-none, with critical product releases shipping regularly in order to enable seamless integration for freight intermediaries of any size.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Designing Better Drugs: Atomwise Lands $123M To Advance AI Drug Discovery

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-11 13:30

Atomwise, which is using artificial intelligence for small molecule drug discovery, received a cash infusion of $123 million in an oversubscribed Series B financing.

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San Francisco-based Atomwise touts being the creator of the first convolutional neural networks, or visual imagery, using AI technology for drug discovery, a market estimated to reach $40 billion in value by 2027, according to Fior Markets research.

Abe Heifets, Atomwise

To date, Atomwise has provided AI technology to more than 750 academic research collaborations addressing over 600 disease targets, Abraham Heifets, co-founder and CEO told Crunchbase News.

B Capital Group and Sanabil Investments led the investment that also included existing investors DCVC, BV, Tencent, Y Combinator, Dolby Family Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, as well as two undisclosed insurance companies.

This brings the total amount of capital raised, since Atomwise’s inception in 2012, to almost $175 million. This includes a $45 million Series A closed in 2018, according to Crunchbase data.

‘A lot of ways to grow’

With the new investment, Atomwise will continue to scale its AI technology platform and team, build its own internal pipeline and work with large partners, Heifets said. To date, Atomwise has signed joint-venture investments for small molecule drug programs valued at $5.5 billion with corporate partners that include Eli Lilly, Bayer, Hansoh Pharmaceuticals and Bridge Biotherapeutics.

“There are a lot of ways to grow,” he added. “We are also going to focus on what is unique about us: drugging the undruggable. We have an opportunity here that is four times bigger than the pharmaceutical industry is today.”

What he means by “undruggable” is creating drugs for diseases that don’t have one yet. Just 4 percent of genetic diseases have a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drug, while there are 16 percent without any drugs designed, Heifets said.

Atomwise is focusing finding drugs that target the intended molecule and also only shuts down that one process, he added.

The company has 55 employees and is currently hiring for all positions from engineers to machine-learning experts, from medical chemists and toxicologists to business development.

In the past 12 months, Atomwise has received more than 1,000 inbound applications from institutions wanting to work with the company.

“I think it means that we have challenged the AI brain with more targets, diversity of targets, more proteins and different kinds of properties,” Heifets said. “Now we are leveraging all that work to take those assets and drive them toward patients.”

What investors are saying

As part of the investment, Raj Ganguly of B Capital Group joined the company’s board, while Hani Enaya of Sanabil was appointed a board observer.

Ganguly said in a written statement that Atomwise’s platform is cutting months or even years off of the often lengthy research and development lifecycle of a drug.

“More importantly, however, they are solving biology problems previously believed to be unsolvable by researchers and delivering that capability to everyone from academics to big pharma,” he added.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Parsable Raises $60M Series D For Frontline Worker Tech

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-11 13:24

Technology for the future of work is often associated with those who operate from a desk–think Zoom, Slack, or Airtable

But that neglects frontline workers, according to Parsable CEO Lawrence Whittle. 

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“The one or two good things out of COVID, and there aren’t many, is that it’s highlighted that frontline workers are important and they need modern digital tools,” Whittle said.

Parsable raised $60 million for its Series D round as the critical role frontline workers play gets more attention. The company, which now has more than $133 million in total funding, connects workers at industrial firms to the information and systems they need to get the job done. 

With Parsable, employees are able to use the most updated digital work instructions on mobile devices. Employees can use the platform for product inspections, to shut down complex equipment, and for work that requires precision.

Activate Capital and Glade Brook Capital co-led the round, which included participation from:

With the new funding, Parsable plans to expand distribution, especially internationally, build out integrations with other systems, and make its products more accessible for large groups, Whittle said. The company plans to grow in areas including Asia, EMEA, and Latin America.

Parsable counts companies like Georgia-Pacific, Shell and Henkel among its customers. The company’s Connected Worker Platform is used in more than 130 countries and is available in 14 languages, according to a statement from Parsable.

The company currently has four verticals–consumer packaged goods, packaging, natural resources, and discrete manufacturing (the production of specific items). Whittle said he hopes that within a year or so, tech for frontline workers becomes more of a “primetime market” and the company can expand into additional verticals.

“I think the world doesn’t fully understand how big this market is, this industrial or frontline worker market,” Whittle said. “I do think this is really going to open up the technology world’s view that there’s a lot outside of Silicon Valley.”

Already with the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has seen 155 percent growth globally for completion of work safety procedures by its consumer packaged goods customers between March and May, per a company statement. It’s also experienced 11x global growth in registered users compared to last year.

The company last raised $45 million for its Series C in April 2018, per Crunchbase.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Compaas Raises $4.3M Seed To Help Companies Assess Employee Compensation

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-11 13:00

A new $4.25 million round of total funding has supported Compaas in expanding its compensation intelligence platform to include a tool for companies to navigate transition to remote or hybrid work models.

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Core Ventures Group led the round, joined by Bloomberg Beta, Kapor Capital, Tuesday Ventures, HashtagAngels and Alpine Meridian. The $4.25 million in total funding includes two previous smaller rounds, including a $1.1 million investment in 2018, according to the Crunchbase database.

After its initial seed round, Compaas continued to grow its platform, adding its rewards product to help customers give raises in a way that is fair and makes sense. The new funds will enable the San Francisco-based company to launch its new Compaas Index product that provides market data—one of the most asked-for features, CEO Bethanye Blount told Crunchbase News.

Blount and co-founder Lisa Dusseault had the idea for Compaas a decade ago while working at other startups they had founded: Blount for email company MailRank, which was acquired by Facebook in 2011, and Dusseault at Klutch, which was acquired by StubHub.

They both saw how compensation decisions were being made in spreadsheets and wanted to provide companies with prediction resources so they can make the right decisions for employees, as well as themselves, and consistently communicate what an employee earns and why they earn it.

“We think there is a sweet spot where both exist, and retention increases when there is trust,” Blount said. “We want to make the most of the biggest operating expense companies have and to support the employee lifecycle from the first day they start.”

Its new Compaas Index product provides compensation data that offers analysis for remote, hybrid or in-office companies. It connects to existing human resources systems and assists companies in evaluating their employee compensation, from setting salary bands, to raise cycles, to pay equity and employee communication.

Companies can personalize the data to receive feedback about fast changes happening in the market, Blount said. She predicts that 25 percent of employees are able to work remotely now, and that 65 percent of that group will want to continue to work remotely.

“As complicated as it is to set up compensation, it is orders of magnitude harder when you go remote because everyone has a separate package, and the company has to keep up with it,” she added.

Customers using Compaas tend to be venture-back companies, including The Motley Fool and GitLab.

Brittany Rohde, senior manager of total rewards at GitLab, said in a written statement that Compaas has saved GitLab time by removing the endless spreadsheets.

“Compaas simplifies our job and gives us confidence in our decision-making,” she added.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Telehealth Startup Nurx Raises $22.5M Series C Extension

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-11 13:00

Telehealth startup Nurx raised a $22.5 million extension to its Series C round as the company expands its care offerings.

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New investors Trustbridge, Comcast Ventures, and Wittington Ventures participated in the extension, along with existing investors Kleiner Perkins and Union Square Ventures.

Nurx is probably best known for delivering birth control and the HIV-prevention medication PrEP. But it also offers at-home STI testing, treatment for genital and oral herpes, and emergency contraception.

The company is now also expanding into migraine and headache treatment. The new funding will help with that, as Nurx looks to get deeper into areas of health that many people find sensitive, according to CEO Varsha Rao.

“We want to continue to really care for patients in a really holistic way under this umbrella of sensitive health,” Rao said in an interview with Crunchbase News.

The extension round, which closed in May, comes as Nurx has experienced a surge in demand for its health services–especially birth control–amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has seen a 75 percent increase in new patient requests (more than 250,000) for birth control since the beginning of this year, according to a statement from Nurx. The company provides its services to more than 300,000 patients every month.

Nurx began conversations to raise more money in early April after seeing the demand for its services surge, Rao said. The company had a path to profitability, but wanted a bit of a cushion. Nurx has reached $150 million for its annual run rate, and expects to be profitable by early next year. Rao declined to disclose valuation.

The company plans on using the new funding to build out its team, and invest in its migraine and headache services.

“Going really deep in these hormonally-related sensitive areas is something we think makes sense and is a really important service, healthcare service to offer patients, especially in this environment,” Rao said, noting how the pandemic’s limitation for in-person care.

Nurx last raised a $32 million Series C in August 2019, per Crunchbase.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Intranet Creator Simpplr Secures $10M in Series B Funding

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-11 12:20

Simpplr, a provider of intranet software to companies, raised $10 million in Series B extension funding to help those companies engage with and manage employees, especially those now working remotely.

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The company’s platform uses artificial intelligence to alert employees to critical top-down communications, helps them find relevant and knowledge-based documents, and keeps them socially connected to co-workers.

The financing was led by existing investor Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from Salesforce Ventures, 1 also an existing investor. Including the new investment, Redwood City, California-based Simpplr has raised a total of $30 million since it was founded in 2014. The company has raised its Series B in various tranches, those most recent include $6 million in June and $5 million in 2019, Dhiraj Sharma, founder and CEO of Simpplr, told Crunchbase News.

Innovating the intranet

The company will use the new funding for, the most part, to accelerate product innovation, but also plans to continue its go-to market expansion and extend its partner ecosystem.

“We want to show the value the intranet can bring, and we are starting on the journey,” Sharma said. “Our belief is that if you have the right product at the right time for the right customers, you don’t need to spend much on go-to-market, so most of our spending will be on product innovation.”

Simpplr has also added some new features, including an auto-governance engine—which the company touts as the industry’s first—using AI technology to ensure that intranet content is up-to-date, relevant and useful. It also made enhancements to its Adaptive Personalization product that takes into account user information such as role, department, location and previous searches to only provide relevant information.

Personalization and integration are two areas Simpplr plans to do a deeper dive into. Sharma sees Netflix as a role model, a company which provides a unique user experience based on what is watched. He wants to do the same for Simpplr, where the platform finds and provides users what they should know, as well as more app integrations, now that Simpplr is attracting more enterprise customers, he added.

Meanwhile, more than 200 customers are already using Simpplr’s platform, growing the company’s 2019 annual recurring revenue by 130 percent.

“Last year was an amazing year, and due to COVID-19, we are seeing a renewed interest in the marketplace as companies realize how critical it is for remote employee engagement and management,”  Sharma said. “We think the next two to three years will be the best years for us in terms of growth.”

What investors have to say

Simpplr board member Promod Haque, senior managing partner at Norwest Venture Partners, said the company has developed an intranet for the modern workplace.

“Their approach to revolutionizing the intranet will deliver significant business value to employers by engaging employees in ways that boost productivity and improve communications, especially in the work-from-home environment,” he added.

Meanwhile, Matt Garratt, managing partner at Salesforce Ventures, said he is looking forward to working with the company as it enters the next phase of its growth.

“The company offers dozens of no-code integrations with best-in-class cloud products like Salesforce, and will help push the industry forward toward a better employee experience,” he added.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

  1. Salesforce Ventures is an investor in Crunchbase. They have no say in our editorial process. For more, head here.

WayScript Powers App Development Platform With $5M Seed Round

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-11 12:10

WayScript closed on a $5 million seed round to help developers rapidly build their business applications.

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Greycroft led the round with participation from Tectonic Ventures and Contour Venture Partners. In 2018, New York-based WayScript secured a $1.2 million pre-seed round and a smaller note to give it a total of $6.7 million, Jesse Orshan, co-founder and CEO told Crunchbase News.

“WayScript has had phenomenal growth with a highly active community due to its focus on building a platform specifically designed to ease the pain points of developers,” said Alison Lange Engel, venture partner at Greycroft, in a written statement.

Founded in 2018 by developers Orshan and Lane Eden, WayScript’s platform enables developers to write code in a web-based, drag-and-drop scripting environment and run their code through a workflow builder that displays the output in real-time.

“Our goal, coming from a software background, was to build a product that developers could easily access,” Orshan said. “We launched the product in September 2019 and made a beta product accessible to any developer.”

The platform supports popular programming languages like Python, and integrates with more than 40 services, such as Slack, Zendesk and Twitter.

With this latest financing, WayScript plans to continue to expand its team of eight employees and build additional product features.

“We will primarily increase the size of our engineering team and will double the entire team in the next year,” Eden said in an interview.

Next up, the founders said they will continue to improve on the product while still growing its team. That includes building some new features, including additional collaboration features.

“We want to build a product that is really accessible and powerful to enable developers to take code and build more software rapidly,” Orshan said.

Illustration: iStock

Optimizing Your Brand Online: Pattern Raises First Funding Of $52M Series A To Drive International Expansion

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-11 10:15

Retailers and consumer brands eager to sell online globally use Pattern’s platform to help them understand and grow their businesses.

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The Salt Lake City-based e-commerce platform has now raised its first round of institutional funding: a $52 million Series A financing round to drive its international expansion and proprietary technology, co-founder and CEO Dave Wright told Crunchbase News.

The investment was led co-led by Ainge Advisory and KSV Global with participation from unnamed technology entrepreneurs, CEOs, professional sports figures, as well as institutional investment arms of large family offices, such as Duchossois Capital Management and Carlson Private Capital.

Wright touted the deal as one of the largest Series A investments by a female co-founded company in history. He and Melanie Alder, chief investment officer, founded the company in 2013, and estimate earning $500 million in annual revenue this year.

How it works

Brands (such as Nestle for example) use Pattern’s platform to improve their performance. Pattern’s technology focuses on marketplaces, such as Amazon, Walmart and eBay.

On average, brands can see a 40 percent increase in online sales during their first year using Pattern, according to the company.

Pattern’s two products, Predict and Shelf, provide sellers, such as Nestle, with data-driven views into their e-commerce operations and performance across key metrics, such as search engine optimization, advertising, pricing competitiveness and global distribution.

Pattern sells for Nestle Health Science company, Atrium Innovations, on global marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart, Tmall and JD. It is also building and managing three direct-to-consumer sites.

“Pattern has been a game changer for us,” said client Kyle Bliffert, president of Atrium Innovations, said in a written statement. “The global e-commerce growth we have experienced by leveraging Pattern’s expertise is extraordinary,”

So why raise funding now? Pattern has 18 offices, most recently opening in Germany, and sought partners to help it open new offices, Wright said.

“When you start looking at our big vision and what we are trying to do, we finally were looking for partners since November, and found an initial partner, but it didn’t work out,” he added. “We’ve now found a good partner and feel good about it.”

Cameron Tanner, managing director at Ainge Advisory, said in a written statement that “by combining a winning culture, market-leading growth, innovative technology and healthy profitability, Melanie and Dave were able to reach a level of market leadership that is incredibly rare without raising outside capital.”

Next steps for Pattern

Pattern currently has more than 400 employees and is planning to grow as the company explores opening new offices in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Wright expects Japan and India to be on the list over the next year.

“We are listening to where our partners want us to go,” he said. “We are also going to invest in the content video side of the business, as well as have seen influencer marketing and social media dominating their categories.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias