🏙 Two Week Boston Financing Roundup: 22 Startups Raised $300M
A workplace philanthropic giving platform, ionic liquids to transform injectables into oral treatments, and an MIT Lincoln Lab-spinout making direct-to-chip liquid cooling technology are among them!
If you’re new here, I’m Abigail! A mechanical-engineer-turned-investor at Hyperplane, an AI/ML-focused seed-stage venture capital firm in Boston. Every two weeks, this newsletter lists Boston’s latest financings and highlights local and macro news. Got events or fundings for me? Respond directly to this email!
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🍂 🍃 Happy Tuesday!
This week marks exactly a year from when a Bloomberg economist predicted a 100% chance of a recession “within a year.” It begs the obvious question, are we out of the woods? Unsure, but the odds of the Fed raising interest rates during the November Fed meeting are now down to nearly zero — a 98.2% chance of rates staying the same (and bonds are responding). We’ll dive in later, but first, this week, we saw 22 startups either get funded or announce a fundraise across climate tech, blockchain technology, healthcare, and property tech verticals. Exciting new stealth-mode companies surfaced and legacy startups caught a second wind.
I’m incessantly adding things to my “To Google” list. So I’m listing some stuff I’m looking into this week, please reach out if interested in chatting about any of it! And normally, you can check out the bottom of this email to see findings from last week’s topics (none last week).
Interests this week (all of the random stuff I’m Googling and thinking about):
🔬What are quasicrystals and what is their potential impact on semiconducting / superconducting properties? 🎬 What are media execs saying about the future of legacy formats like print and broadcasting? 🪐 What advantages does space offer certain clinical trials? (this question was inspired by my roommate and I thought she was kidding. She's not.)
Boston news: 🏛 The White House announced 31 tech hubs across the US, including the Oceans Tech Hub based in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, that can now apply for grants of between $40M to $75M each for implementation costs. 🏚 Gov. Maura Healey introduced a $4B housing bond bill aimed at addressing Massachusetts' housing crisis that now faces a stubborn House and Senate. 🍻 Boston Beer Company (owner of Angry Orchard and Sam Adams) is suing Downeast Cider over a reported non-compete violation by an employee thought to have brought trade secrets to Downeast.
Other stuff: 19% of all venture rounds in 2023 were down-rounds. And, food for thought: 70% of all *realized* unicorn companies underwent pivots at some point in their lifecycle.
And so, with that, let’s get into it.
Boston Financings of 10/10-10/23
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 over $300M
Clover (formerly Ledgerset) | $250K | Supply Chain Tech
A supplier collaboration platform for onboarding and engaging with a business’s suppliers, Clover has closed $250K towards a $500K total offering on a SAFE note. Co-founded by Josh and Kirby Mcbride originally at Ledgerset, Clover aims to streamline communication mediums for a company and their supply chain partners. The company was a part of Plug and Play’s Supply Chain Batch 10 in April of 2022 and shortly after, raised a $1.4M Seed round in August of 2022.
Muon Vision | $600K debt | Mining Tech
Using X-ray visualization to efficiently monitor mining assets, Muon Vision has closed $600K in debt from 2 investors. Founded by Tancredi Botto PhD, Muon measures density of mining assets through imaging technology that allows for visualizing percolation of fluids and monitoring of asset stability for improving safety and productivity. They recently announced selection into SQM’s Lithium Ventures Acceleration Program. According to Pitchbook, Muon is reportedly in the process of raising $2.5M.
Guidesly | $1M | Consumer Marketplace
Guidesly, a marketplace for outdoor recreational activities including fishing, hunting, and boating has raised $1M from 43North, a nonprofit accelerator and incubator, in exchange for making Buffalo, NY the company’s headquarters for at least a year as well as a 5% equity stake. Guidesly last raised $4M led by the Stevenson Family office with participation from Greycroft and Elysian Partners.
Stepwise | $1M | Energy
Stepwise, a platform that aims to make home electrification, specifically for EV charger and heat pump installations, cost effective and to future-proof the electric grid, has raised $1M from 43North, a nonprofit accelerator and incubator, in exchange for making Buffalo, NY the company’s headquarters for at least a year as well as a 5% equity stake. Stepwise’s device manages electric panel and EV charger connectivity, monitoring the amount of energy used in the panel while also controlling the charger downstream.
TotalClarity | Raising $1M | Healthcare
According to a Form D filing that lists $1M total offering amount with $0 closed towards, TotalClarity, a biotech company purchasing novel IP and enhancing existing drugs using an AI-based platform, has amended a 2020 filing for a $20M offering to reflect a $1M equity raise. The company currently has a pipeline of pre-clinical drug candidates in the areas of oncology and pulmonary medicine, and intends to have their own specialized manufacturing facility for inhalation therapeutics.
Sea Pharmaceuticals | Raising $2.2M | Healthcare
Sea Pharmaceuticals, a biotech developing synthetic small molecules as treatments for Tinnitus, Epilepsy and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders, has filed an offering for $2.175M, of which they have yet to close capital towards. Founded in 2013 by biologist and pharmacologist James P. Pearson PhD, and chemist Eduardo J. Martinez PhD, Sea Pharmaceuticals aims to drive advancements in neurotherapeutics. Sea has raised $2.8M to date.
Givinga | $2.7M | Social Impact
A digital platform for workplace philanthropic giving, Givinga has closed $2.7M from 7 investors towards a $3M total offering. Givinga’s platform, Philantech, allows users to research vetted charities and processes payments, supporting workplace giving programs as well as brands or foundations aiming to enhance their charitable impact. Givinga was founded in 2015 by Joe Pheonix, previously a head of global institutional management at Putnam Investments.
Navi | $3M | Telecommunications
Filed under the name TruConnect but operating under Navi, a consumer-focused wireless marketplace that aggregates information on service plans and new phone deals to help people find optimal choices and prices, has raised $3M from 6 investors towards a total offering amount of $6M. Stephen Brodeur, President & CEO of Bluefish Capital, is incubating Navi as one of two Bluefish incubation projects. Navi's product, Phone Navigator, analyzes online smartphone deals from eligibility criteria from the top carriers, OEMs, and largest retailers.
ZSuite Tech | $3.2M | FinTech
Provider of a suite of white-label software tools for commercial banks to enhance banking offerings to businesses, ZSuite Technologies has raised $3.2M from 8 total investors. ZSuite’s core products, ZEscrow, digital escrow and subaccounting tools, and ZRent, automating the collection of rent and other monthly fees, aims to add to a banks’ commercial offerings toolbox. The company last raised $11M in combined Series A funding led by S3 in 2022.
Propify | $3.3M | PropTech
Provider of an API platform that helps engineers at property tech companies unify property datasets, has raised a $3.3M Seed round led by Prudence, with Fifth Wall and Y Combinator participating. Propify spun out of another startup, Rentdrop, a rent payment application, in late 2022. Propify’s product enables engineers to launch integrations in days rather than months, thereby reducing development and ongoing maintenance costs.
i2O Therapeutics | $3.5M | Healthcare
Developer of a platform using ionic liquids to transform injectable treatments into oral treatments, i2O Therapeutics has raised $3.5M from 7 total investors. Founded out of research at Harvard in 2020, i20’s platform develops alternative delivery methods for treatments aimed at cardio-metabolic diseases and adjacencies. They were seeded in 2020 by Sanofi Ventures and JDRF T1D Fund with $4M and last raised $26M from J&J and Sanofi in late 2022.
CrowdComfort | $3.8M | Future of Work
A mobile-first occupancy analytics solution for workplaces, CrowdComfort has raised $3.8M towards a total offering amount filed for $5.6M. A current Greentown Labs’ member, CrowdComfort’s platform allows building owner and occupants to share information about comfort, maintenance, and safety issues. The company was founded in 2013 officially after winning the CleanWeb Hackathon hosted by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology. They raised a
Coin Metrics | $6.7M | Crypto/Blockchain
Provider of crypto financial intelligence through network data, market data, index and network risk solutions, Coin Metrics has raised $6.7M in equity, options, and other securities form 4 total investors. Coin Metrics was founded in 2017 as an open-source project to determine the economic significance of public blockchains. Goldman Sachs MD, Mathew McDermott and digital assets lead at BNY Mellon, Katey Neate among others sit on the board of directors. The company last raised $35 million in a Series C funding round in April 2022.
Window Therapeutics | $7.6M | Healthcare
Developing therapeutics using Brush-Analogue Conjugate (BAC) technology based on 10+ years of research at MIT, Window Therapeutics has raised $7.6M from 10 total investors. Founded out of the lab of Dr. Jeremiah Johnson, Professor of Chemistry at MIT, Window Therapeutics’ pipeline to date includes therapeutics that target blood cancers and solid tumors. The company last received Seed funding from ShangBay Capital in 2021.
Auron Therapeutics | Additional +$12.3M | Healthcare
Auron Therapeutics, a company founded out of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center developing therapeutics that target cellular plasticity for treating cancer, closed an additional $12.3M on top of the $26M of existing capital closed in July of 2022. The total size of this Series A round that was led by DCVC Bio was reportedly $48M. Their ML-based computational platform, AURigin is used to identify novel drug targets.
JetCool Technologies | $17M | Deep Tech
MIT Lincoln Lab-spinout and developer of a direct-to-chip liquid cooling technology for enterprise data centers, JetCool, has raised a $17M Series A round led by Bosch Ventures, with participation from In-Q-Tel, Raptor Ventures, and Schooner Capital. On the heels of large compute requirements ramping up for AI-based solutions, enterprise companies are upgrading their data center infrastructure. JetCool employs a process called microconvective liquid cooling that uses small fluid jets at the chip or die level.
Notarize | $25.4M | Legal Tech
A digital platform offering remote online notarization, Notarize (intuitive name, I must say) has raised $25.4M from 9 total investors. Founded in 2015 and later fueled by the need for remote services during the COVID pandemic, experiencing 600% YoY revenue growth in 2021, Notarize offers on-demand notary services and facilitates notary-sourced transactions. They last raised a $130M Series D led by Canapi Ventures, subsequently landing several high-profile partnerships in 2021, and in 2022, Notarize laid off 25% of their workforce.
aPriori | $28M | Manufacturing
Manufacturing insights platform that creates digital twins for assessing operational efficiency, aPriori Technologies has raised $28M in debt towards a $65M total offering amount from Vista Equity Partners. Founded in 2003, aPriori’s platform aims to automate product manufacturing cost estimations while mitigating downstream production issues and time-to-market delays. According to Pitchbook, the company last raised a Series D in 2021 from PBJ Ventures and Omega Venture Partners.
Perch Energy | $30M | Energy
Developer of a platform that connects solar providers with consumers, Perch Energy has raised a $30M Series B round led by Nuveen. Nuveen’s investment will also fuel the integration of Perch’s software into Nuveen’s real estate portfolio. Founded in 2021, Perch actively provides acquisition and management services for over 140 community solar projects owned by the top developers and asset owners. They last raised $6.6M from Arborview Capital in 2022.
OkamiAI | $36M | Stealth
Stealth mode AI company founded by the former co-founders of Cybereason, OkamiAI has raised $36M from 9 total investors, according to a Form D filing. Listed on the filing are the former CEO and CTO of Cybereason, Lior Div and Yonatan Striem Amit, alongside Greylock partner, Asheem Chandna. In a LinkedIn post after Softbank invested $100M in Cybereason in March, Lior Div announced he was stepping back from the company to start his next chapter.
HqO | $50M | PropTech
HqO, creator of the Real Estate Experience Platform that allows owners and managers to gauge and understand how their tenants use their facilities, has raised a $50M Series D round led by Koch Industries Real Estate Investment arm with participation from Accomplice and Insight Partners. Amidst declining commercial real estate activity, HqO’s platform aims to help retain tenants by allowing building managers to measure tenant preferences and satisfaction. They last raised a $60M Series C from JLL Spark, Suffolk, Morningside in 2021.
InfoBionic | $57.8M | Healthcare
Remote patient monitoring company, InfoBionic has closed $57.8M from 30 investors towards a $65.4M total offering amount. InfoBionic’s MoMe® Kardia 3-in-1 system recently received FDA 510(k) clearance, and consists of a remote ECG monitoring device and a diagnostic 6-lead bluetooth sensor, allowing physicians to remotely monitor a patient’s cardiac condition. The company has raised $145M to date, their last $50M venture round was in 2018.
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 (🆕).
Definitions: The Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) tracks manufacturing and services activity on a global scale, encompassing aspects like production, new orders, job trends, supply efficiency, employment rates, and business expectations. It's reported on a 0 to 100 scale, with readings above 50 indicating manufacturing expansion and readings below 50 indicating contraction.
🔜 Economy watch this week:
📢 Number releases to watch:
🗓 Today, we’ll get S&P Global Flash Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) Manufacturing & Services. Tomorrow, we’ll get new home sales and building permits. Thursday, we’ll get GDP, durable goods orders, wholesale inventories, and pending home sales. Friday, we’ll see Core PCE Price Index, and personal spending and income numbers.
Translation: The US releases several tier-1 data points this week: GDP, Core PCE, durable goods, and PMI. Q3 GDP will be the highlight, and analysts expect a positive surge.
🌎 Global number releases: On Tuesday, October flash Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) numbers for major developed economies - US, UK, Eurozone, Japan and Australia. Separately, Canada will decide on another rate hike this week amidst tight economic conditions yet easing price inflation.
Translation: September was the second month in a row where we saw global economic growth halt, so these October PMI’s will hopefully show where the economy’s of global powers are headed.
🔙 Economy watch last two weeks:
🏛 On the hill: Nine Republican candidates joined the race for Speaker of the House after Jim Jordan dropped out. House Republicans will vote again this morning after meeting last night for a closed-door candidate forum.
💼 Jobs: US weekly jobless claims data came in lower than expected at 198,000 claims filed (210,000 estimated). This follows the trend we’ve seen recently, but with anticipated layoffs coming, that could change — a complicated fact for future interest rate decisions with unemployment at record lows (3.8%).
🛍 Consumer activity: Retail sales rose 0.7% in September, beating the expected 0.3%, fueled by higher credit card spending (specifically on cars and online purchases) and a strong jobs market, according to the US Chamber of Commerce.
On the other hand, Americans are falling behind on car loan payments at the highest rate seen in almost 30 years.
🏦 Banks: A rating agency, Moody's warned that U.S. banks could face over $650B in unrealized losses in their securities portfolios. We saw Bank of America cause some alarm with unrealized losses of over $131B.
⚡️ Energy: In a race to tap into the country of Guyana’s oil reserves, Chevron and Exxon Mobile have announced major acquisitions — Chevron announced it intends to buy Hess for $53B and last month, Exxon announced a $60B offer to buy Pioneer Natural Resources.
🌎 Global economy: China’s economy rebounded from the adverse impact that the property downturn situation has had on the economy over the last two quarters. GDP, industrial output, retail sales all increased this quarter.
Argentina’s inflation sits at 138% while nearly 40% of the entire population lives in poverty, two glaring facts that informed voters.
🏡 Real estate: It’s officially more expensive to buy than rent (average home mortgage price, median rent), Zillow data shows.
I will admit, I don’t love this graph using average mortgage price while using a median rent price - as median mortgage prices would be much lower. But I digress - the general trends are telling.
💰 Earnings snip-its: We’re in earnings season, and so far, bank earnings have looked okay, Tesla missed both earnings and revenue, and Netflix beat and matched despite Hollywood strikes. Next week, Microsoft and Google on Tuesday and Amazon on Thursday will give us a peak into companies central to AI hype. We’ll have to wait for Apple and Nvidia until November, so stay tuned.
💊 RiteAid filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after facing high debt, revenue declines, increased competition, and opioid litigation, according to its court filings.
🇪🇺 The EU’s Digital Services Act targets very large online platforms (VLOPs), and all online companies in scope are preparing for full compliance by February 2024.
🇮🇱🇵🇸 Israel/Gaza: Numbers released by Health Ministry spokesperson Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra estimate over 5,000 people have died in the war to date.
😬 Betting on the power law: “Anti-woke” venture fund 1789 Capital led the $15M Seed round for Tucker Carlson’s new media company, Last Country.
🇺🇦 Ukraine update: The UK Ministry of Defence said it is likely that Russia has suffered 150,000-190,000 permanent casualties (killed or permanently wounded) since the Ukraine war began.
17 postal workers were injured, 7 in serious condition, in a Russian missile strike on a postal distribution centre in Kharkiv district on Saturday.
Ukraine reportedly fears a drone shortage due to China’s move to place restrictions on exports.
🤖 Thrive Capital is reportedly in talks with OpenAI employees to buy out their shares at a valuation of ~$86B.
📱 Despite beating analysts bets, TSCM, a top producer of advanced processors, reported the largest profit decline since 2019, a result of slowing demand for consumer electronics.
📦 Back so soon?: Flexport laid off 20% of the workforce last week, adding to a complicated dynamic internally after Ryan Peterson just rejoined the company as CEO.
🍿 Netflix gets bold: Tomorrow, Netflix will raise monthly prices for US customers, increasing Premium plans to $22.99, up from $19.99 and Basic plan to $11.99, up from $9.99.
🧑💼 Tech and Biz
Tonight, Oct 24th 5-8:30PM: The Consulate General of Canada in Boston hosts their 2023 Digital Health CTA Demo Day.
Tonight, Oct 24th 5:15PM-6:30PM: Harvard i-Labs hosts, An Evening in the Shark Tank with Kevin O'Leary open to the public via livestream.
Tomorrow, October 25th 6-8PM: Boston Startup and Venture Social hosted by The Room Podcast.
Thursday, Oct 26th 1-4PM: Elucidata hosts their annual DataFAIR 2023 virtually, theme this year is Generative AI in Drug Discovery.
Monday, Oct 30th 10:30-11:30AM: Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship hosts Innovation for a Warming Planet: A Fireside Chat with Thomas Buberl.
Thursday, Oct 26th 7-9PM: Celebrating the new reboot on Paramount+, Cheers on Beacon Hill hosts its second Frasier trivia night.
Saturday, Oct 28th: Hocus Pocus cast is coming to Salem for the 30th anniversary of the famous Halloween movie.