🆕 Last Two Weeks in Boston Financings: 17 Startups Raised $1.1B
Wayfair contributed $600M, while other cool features this week include a major upgrade to pregnancy ultrasounds, biotech for fatal pregnancy complications, and personalized sports betting algorithms📈
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If you’re new here, I’m Abigail! I’m a mechanical-engineer-turned-investor at Hyperplane, a venture capital firm in Boston investing in seed stage machine learning companies. Every two weeks, this newsletter serves to list Boston’s latest financings and highlight ecosystem players and happenings. Be sure to open this email in your browser to get the full issue.
If you were forwarded this email, join the community of thousands of Boston’s best tech and finance folks reading alongside you!
🐘 Welcome back! Boston sports fans don’t like to lose, so we can avoid the elephant on the court and skip talking about the Celtics. Bummer, but we have Boston Calling this weekend, a ton of beer gardens to check out, farmers markets to get to, and the Seaport’s many free event offerings to take our mind off the loss.
🤑 Some cool companies this week got funded, including (but definitely not limited to) a new sports betting app that lets you create your own betting algorithms based on your instincts, a company giving pregnancy ultrasounds a major upgrade, a biotech acquisition, and a huge debt financing for Wayfair.
🎉📈 And finally, before we dive in, a quick shoutout to Hyperplane’s new summer intern, Tiffani Mezitis, an incredibly talented and curious undergrad at Harvard. Although singing is not the extent to her talents, you can find her harmonizing in acapella groups, leading the vocals in a cover band, and/or singing the national anthem at June 1st’s Red Sox game (we do know how to pick ‘em over here). She’s definitely one to watch, and surprise, surprise, we’re already attached at the hip, so if you see me around this summer, chances are she’ll be there too- come say hi! (:
And so, with that, let’s get into it.
Boston Financings: 5/9 - 5/22
Financings are listed from smallest to largest. Biotech financings over $80M+ are usually not covered.
The total amount of disclosed funding over the last two weeks hit $1.1B, inclusive of the Boston-based corporate sweetheart, Wayfair, that raised $600M in debt financing.
Rithmm | $2M | SportsTech
A new platform providing simplified analytics for the everyday sports better, Rithmm, has raised $2M from 19 investors including Accomplice VC, Permit Ventures, Counterview Capital, and Boston Seed Capital. Founded as a product of an MIT Sloan stats class by former Indiana State basketball coach, Megan Lanham and engineering PhD, Brian Beachkofski, Rithmm allows users to build custom predictive models based on a user’s instincts. The product is in beta mode and is starting with college football and basketball. You can download the app in the App Store.
Successeve | $2M | Sales Enablement
Customer lifecycle management platform, Successeve, has raised $2M from undisclosed investors, although, according to their website, the company claims to be both self-funded and profitable. Successeve provides B2B SaaS companies with an insights-driven platform for customer retention, managing the entire workflow from customer lead generation to customer engagement. FinSMEs has more here.
Micronotes AI | $3M | FinTech
Provider of digital engagement solutions for financial institutions, Micronotes, has raised $3M round led by BankTech Ventures. Founded by MIT alumni, Devon Kinkead and Christian Klacko, Micronotes helps financial institutions retain customers by providing a sales and marketing platform that matches and validates banking products and services with individual users. Existing investors include Vestigo Ventures, TTV Capital, and Experian Ventures. PRNewswire has more from their Series B round in 2018.
Origin Health | $2.5M | Healthcare
Developer of an AI-based software for the assessment of pregnancy ultrasound scans, Origin Health, has raised $2.5M from 6 total investors towards a total offering amount filed for $9M. Origin Health, founded by Jens Thang and Sripad Devalla, aims to modernize prenatal ultrasound screening through AI-powered fetal imaging for anatomy identification, quantification, and marker detection. Origin Health participated in the TMC Innovation Accelerator in 2021 and existing investors include Village Global, iSeed, Creative Destruction Lab, and the current Directors include investors from Morningside and Cascadia Capital.
Fluent Metal | $4.4M | Industrials
Founded by the former Chief Designer at Desktop Metal, stealth-mode Fluent Metal has raised a total of $4.4M from 23 total investors, of which $2.4M was from the conversion of convertible notes and $2M was new capital from Pillar VC. The company is categorized as a hardware company and aims to make metal 3D printing economical, efficient, and safe.
Incentivio | $10M | Food Tech
Incentivio, a company specializing in customer engagement solutions for the restaurant industry, recently secured a $10 million Series A led by Osage Venture Partners with participation from Ardent Venture Partners and Grotech Ventures. Incentivio's offers a guest engagement platform for restaurants & virtual kitchens with insights and analytics. According to a LinkedIn post, the company has grown 300% YoY. The announcement is here.
Enverid Systems | $13.9M | ClimateTech
Provider of energy efficiency and indoor air quality solutions for engineers and contractors, Enverid Systems, has raised $13.9M from 7 total investors. Enverid Systems’ HVAC load reduction products boast up to 40% HVAC energy savings for commercial buildings. The company raised a $20M Series B round of financing led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures with participation from Building Ventures and OurCrowd in 2020. The company was part of climate startup accelerator, Elemental Excelerator’s Cohort X in 2021.
Solarea Bio | $15M | Healthcare
Developer of plant-based microbial solutions for some of the world’s largest health problems, Solarea Bio, has announced a first close of their Series B round of $15M led by S2G Ventures with participation from Bold Capital Partners, GG 1978 and Viking Global Investors. A total of up to $25 million is targeted for this round of financing. Launched at the Illumina Accelerator in 2017, Solarea uses bacteria and fungi native to healthy foods to create anti-inflammatory microbial assemblages. The capital will fuel the launch of medical foods bone health and rheumatoid arthritis.
Aviceda Therapeutics | $15.6M | Healthcare
Clinical-stage biotech developing immunomodulators for diseases associated with chronic inflammation, Aviceda Therapeutics, has raised $15.6M from 11 total investors. Aviceda’s farthest-along pipeline asset targets ophthalmology, and is in late-stage clinical development for treatment of patients with geographic atrophy (GA). The company’s last round of financing was an $8.4M equity round that followed closely behind a $49.5M round in March of 2022. Their newest board member, Patrick Johnson, was announced last week.
SunBird Bio | $23.3M Acquisition | Healthcare
Acquired by Glympse Bio, SunBird Bio was (is?) the developer of a diagnostics platform for the detection of cancer, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases via blood test. The company was acquired by Boston-based Glympse Bio and according to a Form D filing, raised $23.3M under the name SunBird Bio from 10 investors after raising a $5M Seed round from Polaris Partners and ClavystBio. More on the acquisition here and on the origin of SunBird’s tech here.
Alloy Enterprises | $29.2M | Manufacturing
Aluminum additive manufacturing company, Alloy Enterprises, has raised $29.2M Series A led by Piva Capital with participation from Flybridge Capital, MassMutual Catalyst Fund, Robert Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition and existing investors, Congruent Ventures and Riot Ventures. Alloy uses a combination of laser cutting and diffusion bonding to produce production volumes of aluminum parts while claiming to still maintain the advantages of 3D printing. Read the press release here.
Groma | $29.3M | PropTech
Vertically integrated real estate investment, development and management company, Groma, has raised $29.3M from 12 total investors towards a total offering amount of $30M originally filed in April of 2022. The company announced this in January of 2023 as a $20M Series A led by Castle Island Ventures and has since amended the round to include the additional capital. Osbon Capital Management, Echelon, Bantam Group, and Launchpad Venture Group also participated in the round. On behalf of the investors and funds it advises, Groma currently operates 40+ buildings in the Greater Boston area representing 300+ units and nearly $200 million of assets.
Comanche Biopharma | $36.1M | Healthcare
Comanche Biopharma, a biopharmaceutical company that develops siRNA therapy for treating preeclampsia, a life-threatening pregnancy complication, has closed it’s $36.1M Series A round from GV, F-Prime Capital, and Broadview Ventures in a filing dating back to 2021. Comanche announced FDA clearance of their siRNA therapy in March of this year. The company most recently welcomed Allyson Felix, the most decorated American track and field athlete of all time, to its Board of Directors.
Ikena | $40M | Healthcare
Ikena, a precision oncology company, announced the pricing of an offering for 6,110,000 shares of common stock at a price of $6.55 per share. Proceeds are anticipated to go towards furthering the clinical trial phase of their targeted treatment development. Their press announcement is here.
Lendbuzz | $125M debt | FinTech
An AI-based (because what isn’t these days?) automotive financing platform, Lendbuzz, has closed $125M in debt financing from the Royal Bank of Canada. Founded in 2015, Lendbuzz assesses the creditworthiness of consumers, including those with no credit and thin credit, as well as borrowers with near prime scores, a group of over 100 million US who have been historically underserved by the traditional credit system. This financing comes on the heels of a $188M asset-backed securitization earlier this year. Businesswire has more.
Motional | $165.5M | Autonomous Vehicles
Aptiv-Hyundai joint venture developing autonomous vehicle technology, Motional, has raised $165.5M for the development of it’s Level 4 and 5 self-driving technologies. Most recently, Las Vegas passengers have been able to access Motional’s robotaxi service through Lyft and Uber since late last year. The company also confirmed a round of layoffs in December of 2022. TechCrunch has more.
Wayfair (NYSE: W) | $600M debt | Consumer
Boston behemouth, Wayfair, announced today the pricing of $600 million of convertible senior notes due 2028 in a private offering to institutional investors. The notes will bear interest at a rate of 3.50% per year, payable semi-annually. The online home goods retailer reported earnings in Q1 that showed net revenue fell 7.3% YoY to $2.8 billion, and U.S. revenue fell 5% YoY to $2.4 billion, while international revenue slumped 20.4% to $359 million. PRNewswire has more.
All for now!
Your Macro Briefing + Headlines 📉
Covering the upcoming numbers to watch for (🔜) , the relevant numbers of last week (🔙), and the tech headlines of the last two weeks (🆕).
🔜 Economy watch this week:
📢 Number releases: Today, we’ll get S&P Global flash PMIs and new home sales, Wednesday, we’ll get FOMC minutes (Powell indicated banking crises could reduce further rate hikes needs 🤞), Thursday, GDP growth, and Friday, Core PCE and personal income & spending.
📣 Earnings: the most anticipated, check ‘em out:
🔙 Economy watch last two weeks:
🐓 Game of chicken: Janet Yellen expressed doubt about the US's ability to settle its debts by June 15, and Goldman Sachs agrees, predicting the Treasury's cash levels will fall below the $30 billion minimum needed for meeting obligations around June 8 or 9.
📈 Global debt: Welp, we have officially hit a near-record high in global debt, amounting to $305 trillion.
🏡 Home sales: US existing home sales were down 3.4% in April, a three-month low, and have shown a decline for 20 consecutive months. The construction of new homes in the US increased 2.2% in April, meanwhile, building permits—a proxy for future construction—fell 1.5%.
🤺 Disney v. DeSantis saga: FL Governor Ron DeSantis sued Disney over state regulations related to their theme park operations. Several cost-cutting announcements have been made since then (relevance of the lawsuit is unconfirmed), including axing plans for a $900 million corporate campus and removing programs from its streaming services.
💰 Meta’s tough hit: The EU hit Meta with a $1.3B fine for sharing data about European users stored on US servers. Although, the US is pushing a trans-Atlantic agreement to enable data transfers, which would invalidate the order.
🏙 CRE update: Commercial real estate (CRE) prices in the US experienced their first decline since 2011. Although less than 1%, the drop signals potential challenges ahead for regional banks, which held more than 60% of the $3.6 trillion in outstanding CRE loans in Q4.
📈Still the best company in the world (a hill I will die on): Nvidia stock has surged 106% this year, propelling CEO Jensen Huang's net worth to $27.3 billion—a 98% jump in just 5 months. With AI driving innovation these days, chips will only continue to be computing’s limiting factor, so I’d say that’s a hard buy (this is not investment advice…?).
🛩Ukraine’s military upgrade: President Biden informed US allies that he will permit the training of Ukrainian pilots on American F-16 fighter jets, signaling significant upgrade of Ukrainian military force and notable policy shift.
This will fuel an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive to defend the city of Bakhmut, a city that Russia has claimed victory over while Ukraine denies a complete fall. Drone footage shows the catastrophe.
🤖The latest in venture (and in hype): Bessemer announces a $1B AI fund. Separately, over 1,500 references to artificial intelligence (AI) were made during Q1 earnings calls in the US and EU.
The hype is applying to healthcare too, with ReNAgade Therapeutics today announcing an eye-watering $300 million Series A round for their AI-driven computational biology platform, and Hippocratic AI announcing its eye-popping $50 million seed round last week.
🎶TikTok’s timeout: The State of Montana passed a law last week intended to ban the app from being downloaded within its borders. TikTok is now claiming illegal suppression of free speech.
🔥 Terrifying, honestly: Heat Will Likely Soar to Record Levels in Next 5 Years, New Analysis Says
👋Banking farewells: James Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s CEO, is stepping down within the year, ending a 13-year run. Lazard CEO, Ken Jacobs, also will step down.
🎵 Sony’s big moves: Sony is considering a partial spin-off and public listing of its financial services unit.
🐘 🟥 Enter, Tim Scott: SC Senator Tim Scott declared his candidacy for the 2024 campaign, joining a growing roster of Republicans vying against Donald Trump entering the race having fundraised $22 million.
🐦 Feisty: Instagram is planning to release a text-based app that will compete with Twitter.
🚜 Tough look for agriculture: Syngenta will seek a $9.4B IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange after pulling out from Shanghai's STAR market.
🫒 Covid-era toilet paper scare part 2? Olive oil has hit record high prices due to a severe drought since last year in Spain, where about 40% of olive oil is made.
🚀 To the moon: Blue Origin secured a $7 billion NASA contract for an astronaut moon lander.
🍎 Apple's clear app-titude: Friday, Apple released its inaugural App Store Transparency Report, revealing the App Store had 1,783,232 apps and the average weekly number of customers searching the App Store reached 373,211,396.
📉 Hedge funds’ dismal outlook: On the heels of a shaky economy, hedge funds are underperforming, with YTD April returns of 5.58% compared to the S&P's 8.6% gain (there were some exceptions outlined in the linked article).
💼 A Big Kahuna: A $3.4B merger of Allen & Overy and Shearman would create the largest law firm in the world.
📱 Boston Tech Startup Feature: Biobot Analytics
A Hyperplane portfolio company and a Boston-based, female-founded killer company recieving plenty of recent press for their wastewater epidemiology work, Biobot Analytics takes the cake as this week’s startup feature. Founded out of MIT by PhD candidate Mariana Matus and architect and research fellow Newsha Ghaeli, Biobot analyzes wastewater to predict surges in viruses. Hyperplane, alongside funds including the Engine and DCVC, found them after they participated in accelerator, Y Combinator’s 2018 cohort. They recently made both the TIME100’s Most Influential Companies List and CNBC’s 2022 Disruptor 50 list.
🌟 Add ‘Em To Your Radar: Dorm Room Fund’s Diversity Track Programs
Context: Established by First Round Capital, Dorm Room Fund is a $10 million fund focused on investments in student-run startups. These programs are an amazing launch pad for underrepresented students interested in careers in startups and VC. Past speakers have included Sam Altman (Open AI), Rebecca Kaden (USV), Elliott Robinson (Bessemer Venture Partners) & more.
Programs: Blueprint Investor Track: A 6-week masterclass for aspiring student VCs who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or Latino. Prism Track: A summer program for aspiring student VCs and founders who identify as LBGTQ+. Female Investor Track: A 6-week masterclass for aspiring student VCs who identify as female. Female Founder Track: A 6-week masterclass designed to help female-identifying early-stage founders scale their projects and equip them with the skills to raise their first capital
How to Apply: Applications for our various programs are open through May 19th and can be found here (If you need an extension, send a note to email@example.com)
🧑💼 Tech and Biz
BLCK VC and EVCA are hosting a rooftop happy hour at Glasswing this week, reach out to Javier Grevely on LinkedIn for extra spots.
Wednesday, May 31st: Verizon’s Health Equity Startup Showcase for their Forward for Good Accelerator.
Wednesday, June 7th 6-9PM: MIT Sloan’s Alumni Association hosts Women and Wine Wednesdays - "Journey to India" (also, check out the description for other women’s events)
June 13th-15th: MIT’s EmTech Next, MIT Technology Review's signature digital transformation event.
This weekend: Boston Calling music festival!
Thursday, June 1st: Our girl, Tiffani, is singing the national anthem for the Red Sox vs. the Cincinnati Reds!!
Sundays, 11-4PM: SoWa Open Market season!
Mondays, 12-6PM and Wednesdays 12-6PM, respectively: Central Sq. market and Davis Sq. market. Full list of Boston-area farmers markets is here.
Relevant Reads (Just a few!)
McKinsey on the potential of Pakistan as an emerging market…
Underscore VC put out a Startup Secrets video series that breaks down the nitty-gritty details of how to raise your startup's Seed round.
Stats from Harvard Business Review about female funding through-and-through.
First Round’s perspective on how much the founder impacts culture (disclaimer: it’s a lot).
Benedict Evans writes about how he thinks about market sizing and quantifying market potential.