🆕 Boston Financings: Your Two-Week Funding Roundup (Feb. 13th-27th)
16 companies raised $520M over the last two weeks. Plus, Boston's only '23 Thiel Fellow, local features, and some events!
Welcome to the newest issue of Boston Tech Deals, drawing up recaps of the last two weeks in Boston fundings and happenings 🤑! If you missed my takeover intro last week, catch up here.
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Your macro briefing 📉
📲 Big tech’s Chat-GPT use-cases: Doximity rolled out the first use-case I’ve seen in healthcare, Spotify has a new personalized DJ feature, Canva is generating copy, Shopify is using it for product descriptions, and Snap has a new bot.
🏡 Not the time: Rates are to blame for home sales seeing an annual drop of 37%, the largest drop since 1999, and home applications are at their lowest levels since 1995.
🤳 Rethinking social media: Since 1996, Section 230 has protected internet platforms from being liable for targeted recommendations. Now, the ability to sue a company for the posts of their users is in the hands of a Supreme Court case (this is a big deal).
📈‘Nuff said: Berkshire Hathaway’s 2023 Shareholder Letter. TLDR: cash is king, share buybacks are in, and stop trying to predict the market. Might be worth listening- Berkshire returned a 4% gain for shareholders in a year where many stocks were down 90% or more.
📲 Best company in the world? The demand for compute power has skyrocketed since Chat-GPT, and NVIDIA is riding the wave with their A100 (priced at $10K) and DGX A100 (priced at $200K) chips- and shares are up 65% in 2023. My take? Keep adding.
And so, with that, let’s get into it.
Boston Financings of 02/13-02/27
Financings are listed from smallest to largest. Biotech financings over $80M+ are usually not covered.
Virtual reality immersive mental health platform, Rocket VR Health, has raised $500K in a combination of equity and debt from 1 undisclosed investor. Rocket is focused on serving patients in clinical settings and recently announced a partnership with MGH to co-develop VR solutions for stem cell patients. BostInno has more.
Audience management platform, Rivet, has announced $500K in pre-seed funding led by Drive Capital. The financing follows the company’s announcement to move to Chicago to continue building amongst other music-tech and creator-tech startups. ChicagoInno has more.
GelSight, a 3D tactile sensing company spun out of Edward Adelson’s lab at MIT by post-doc Kimo Johnson, has raised $1M of a $10M offering from 3 investors. Anzu Partners led a $10M Series B round in 2020, and the company has since raised additional financing on convertible notes from Anzu and Scout Ventures. Official filing is here.
MIT-founded Themis AI, a startup developing de-biasing algorithms for AI, has raised $1.4M towards their pre-seed round led by E14 Fund and Mozilla Ventures. Elaheh Ahmadi founded Themis AI alongside two MIT professors, Professor Daniela Rus, and Alexander Amini. BostInno has more.
Abigail’s two cents: This will be an interesting company to keep tabs on as we start to see the proliferation of misuse cases and consider how regulation will shape the landscape of generative AI (i.e., how OpenAI will combat misinformation and discrimination, a topic they’ve said is top-of-mind).
Techstars Boston 2020 cohort member and clinician compensation platform, Statera, has raised $2.5M led by DWP Capital with participation from In Revenue Capital. The platform provides healthcare systems with both compensation and performance visibility and insights. PR Newswire has more.
Nova AI 📊
Brand marketing analytics platform, Nova, has raised a $2.6M Seed round led by Scalable Ventures in a combination of equity and convertible notes. Nova was founded by Boston-based Rob May, a serial entrepreneur, advisor, and investor in several Boston companies. Official filing here.
Alleviate, a company developing self-treatment systems for plantar fasciitis, has raised $3.6M of a $4M offering from 66 investors. The company offers the Loft Brace, the Arch Massager, and digital programs for common musculoskeletal pathologies. Alleviate was founded by ex-Wayfair and HBS ’14 grad, Roderick McMullen. Official filing here.
Vend Park 🅿️
Digital parking platform, Vend Park, has announced a $3.8M Seed round led by Floating Point Advisors with participation from Crossbeam VP and others. Founded by two Tufts alumni, Vend Park’s platform automates parking management for vendors and drivers. PRNewswire has more.
Computational biology startup optimizing polymer nanoparticle (PNP) design, Nanite, has raised a $6M Seed round from Zetta Ventures and Arkitekt Ventures. Nanite’s software designs "programmable" PNPs through a delivery-as-a-service (DaaS) model. Businesswire has more.
76Bio, a company using targeted protein degraders for therapeutic development, has raised $12.2M in a combination of securities and options from 32 total investors. The company last raised a $10M Seed round in 2022 from Polaris Partners and Two River Group, among others. Official filing here.
EuMentis Therapeutics, a neurogenerative therapeutics company that leverages knowledge about established therapies and well-studied insights into brain function for treatment development, has raised $20M of a $40M Series B from a single private family office. GlobeNewswire has more.
Anti-tumor cellular therapeutics company Alloplex Bio, has raised $20.6M from 51 total investors, inclusive of convertible note vehicles. Existing investors include Daewoong Pharmaceutical, Hanall Biopharma, and Wells Investment. Official filing here.
Electric vehicle battery optimization and analytics company, Electra Vehicles, announced a $21M Series A round led by United Ventures. Founded by ex-NASA engineer Fabrizio Martini, Electra provides solutions for EV battery performance. The company last raised a $3.6M Seed round in 2021 with participation from Hyperplane (😊!), BlackBerry, and Launchpad Group, among others.
Coldsnap, a company offering a patented “Keurig for ice cream” machine with single-serving ice cream pods, has raised $28M of a $60M equity offering from 45 undisclosed investors. The instant ice cream maker previously raised a $27M round in early 2022. Official filing here.
Out-of-stealth genetic medicine delivery platform developed by the distinguished Feng Zhang, Ph.D. of the Broad Institute, Aera Therapeutics, has raised $193M in a combined Series A and B round from Lux Capital, Google Ventures, and ARCH. Aera challenges current medicine delivery approaches with their human PNP platform. Lux Capital’s Josh Wolfe had more, and so did Businesswire.
Aura, a digital threat protection platform for families, has raised $205M from 13 total investors, including Robert Downey, Jr. The company last raised a $200M Series F at a $2.5B valuation from General Catalyst, WndrCo (Jeffery Katzenberg), and Accel, among others. Official filing here.
All for now! Stay tuned for the next Tech Deals Spillover, a Twitter thread I plan to post on off-weeks to highlight some additional filings that didn’t make this issue’s cut.
🏡 Locally Owned Small Business of the Week: Frugal Bookstore
Frugal Bookstore is the only black-owned bookstore in Boston. Husband-and-wife duo Clarissa and Leonard Egerton have owned and operated the bookstore in Nubian Square in Roxbury since 2008. If you don’t see the book you’re looking for when you visit, they'll always special order it.
📱 Boston Tech Startup Feature: Relevize (Seed)
Founded by BC alum Mike Nardella, Relevize’s platform equips companies with complete visibility into their channel partner relationships, maximizing the output of channel partners by automating the demand generation process for seamless generation of leads, pipeline, and revenue.
Relevize recently announced their $6M Seed round led by Insight Partners with participation from Hyperplane (😊!), Newfund, 1984.vc, and Weekend Fund.
⭐️ Add ‘Em To Your Radar: Ethan Thornton, Boston’s Only Thiel Fellow This Year
The Thiel Fellows were announced last week, and out of the 20 individuals accepted to the two-year Fellowship program providing promising young founders who have agreed to pause their college enrollment with $100,000 and mentorship from a prestigious network of tech leaders, only one was based in Boston. So naturally, I had to hunt him down.
Ethan Thornton, a native of Houston, Texas, is building Mach Industries, a company using onboard hydrogen generation to rethink military capabilities. Think: UAVs with >3x flight time and payload capacity, artillery with 5x range over peer platforms, or hyper-accurate counterattack weapons for difficult-to-target airborne hypersonic missiles. With the tech now de-risked, Mach has started on projectiles that propel 3-4x faster and further than gunpowder, allowing for similar capabilities of missiles at a fraction of the cost.
Hydrogen has many exciting and proven use cases across the DoD that are underutilized due to logistical concerns. By indirectly creating forward-deployed hydrogen generators, many of these capabilities will quickly open up, and Mach is racing to develop these products.
- Ethan Thornton, Founder of Mach Industries
🧑💼 Tech and Biz
(Tonight) Tuesday, 02/28: F-Prime Capital is hosting a Female Founders x Funders happy hour (for founders and investors).
Thursday, 03/02: The Engine hosts Introduction to Blueprint: Commercializing Tough Tech Research. The Blueprint program helps technical research teams navigate commercializing their technology.
Thursday, 03/02- 03/03: Tufts University hosts their 2023 Energy Conference.
All week: Explore Boston restaurants offering $1 oysters for your next dinner out. Date night rec!
Relevant Reads (Just a few!)
Boston-based F-Prime Capital reports on the current state of fintech, F-Prime Fintech Index (check out features of hometown heroes, Toast and Flywire).
In a series written by Mia Nguyen (Operating Principal at Four Cities Capital, and previously at Underscore VC), Maya Bakhai is adding some spice to the cap table. Read about how Maya’s fundraising for Fund I and her advice to other first-time fund managers here.
SMBs are feeling the cost of returns while Amazon continues to offer consumers the convenience of always-free, always-fast returns.
Abigail’s two cents: This sounds like an opportunity… but it begs the question of approach. Is the solution in bringing down the cost of returns for SMBs or in preventing returns altogether by leveraging customer data for recommendations they’re less likely to return?
That’s all from me, folks! Until the 14th!