Here’s a highlight of the most intriguing financing rounds:
, a London-based provider of on-demand primary healthcare consultations, raised a $550M Series C
at a valuation of over $2B. The company claims that its service covers 4.3 million patients worldwide. In the UK, consumers can switch over their NHS primary care physician from a brick and mortar practice over to Babylon. The company also offers a private health solution in partnership with Bupa. The business employs over 1,500 staff with a heavy investment in AI, particularly NLP and causal reasoning.
, a Boston-based enterprise software company focused on end-to-end ML, raised a $200M Series E
led by Sapphire Ventures. This values the business above $1B.
, the SF-based provider of data labeling services for users training ML models, raised a $100M Series C at a valuation over $1B, led by Founders Fund. While the majority of their revenue-generating business allegedly comes from annotating data for self-driving companies, the business mentioned growing into the AI-first infrastructure market. This is interesting because tooling choices are difficult today, i.e. one can choose open-source, startup vendors, or large cloud vendors. More on the challenges of 3 distinct business personals in ML here
the SF-based AI-first military defense contractor, raised a Series B
round valuing the company over $1B. Existing investor, General Catalyst, explains their motives
in a great blog post.
, the London-based AI-first therapeutic protein development company, raised a $10M Series A
led by Lux Capital and Obvious Ventures, with participation from Air Street Capital (my firm). Nan at Obvious articulates the why
and how the business fits an overall storyline for the new biology
, the data analytics company originally founded to commercialize Apache Spark, raised a $400M Series F
led by a16z’s late-stage fund. The company claims to make $200M ARR, having grown 2.5x YoY and from a $0 base 4 years ago.
, the London-based ground delivery robot company, raised a $40M round
as it crossed 100k completed deliveries on campuses in the US.
, the Canadian AI startup, raised a $150M Series B
led by the Quebec pension plan, McKinsey and the government of Quebec. An interesting evolution for the business, which in a way signals that governments are leaning in to support local AI software players.
, a no-code platform that leverages machine learning to clean, normalize, aggregate, and combine data sets while performing feature engineering, raised a $23M Series A
led by JAFCO and Goldman Sachs. The business competes with the likes of H20.ai and DataRobot.
, a self-driving car operator focused on private communities, raised a $31M Series B
led by Franklin Templeton, the publicly traded investment manager.
, a Swedish full-stack autonomous electric trucking company, raised a $25M round
led by EQT Ventures. The company develops its own “pods” that are sold to logistics companies and retailers.
, an AI-first materials discovery company, raised a $20M Series B
led by Prelude Ventures and Innovation Endeavors. The article cites that Citrine helps chemical companies “hit overall R&D milestones in 50-70% percent of the time originally forecast and has enabled totally new materials product lines.”
A couple of M&A deals and an IPO, including:
, a VC-backed AI-first cybersecurity company focused on endpoint threat detection and response, went public to raise $610M on the Nasdaq. The company went public on $250M ARR, 140% net dollar retention and 108% annual revenue growth (more metrics
), which contributed to driving its share price strongly upwards in the first six months of trading. The stock has since taken a hit
as analysts report its valuation as being too rich.
, a London-based team of researchers using graph deep learning to detect network manipulation, was acquired by Twitter
for an undisclosed price. Twitter’s interest rests in the use of ML on complex datasets describing relations and interactions between entities (or pieces of content). The company’s CEO, Michael Bronstein is currently the Chair in Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition at Imperial College London and will remain in that position while leading graph deep learning research at Twitter.
, a UK-based developer of the “Virtual Workforce” enterprise SaaS automation platform, was acquired
by Blue Prism
(LSE: PRSM) for up to £100M, based on milestones. The company’s platform is said to “address activities that require understanding or interpretation, and so it expands the use case for RPA beyond structured processes”.
a labeling startup focused on computer vision, was sold
to Uber. Its 40 employees will join Uber in Seattle and the product is shut down for its customers.
Looker Data Sciences
, a popular data analytics company, was acquired for $2.6B by Google. The deal is now under review
by the Justice Department to determine if the tie-up harms competition. An anecdote
: Transferwise has 1,600 employees and 71% are monthly active users of Looker. Impressive penetration.
, one of several remote teleoperated vehicle companies, was acquired
by DoorDash for an undisclosed price. Scotty had recently raised $6M from Gradient. DoorDash plans to use the technology as a fallback for its robotic delivery service.
6 River Systems
, a robotics for logistics company founded by veterans of Kiva (acq. Amazon), was acquired
by Shopify for $450M after the latter announced its intent to develop a fulfillment network
to allow its customers to compete with Amazon. This transaction is interesting because it shows the full-stack ambitions of Shopify and the need for robotics to provide operational scale.
, an early-stage NLP/dialogue startup in SF, was acquired by McDonald’s
in the latest edition of “incumbent acquires AI startup to set up applied AI lab (based in the Valley)”. The price was undisclosed. This follows McDonald’s >$300M acquisition of Dynamic Yield earlier this year and falls under their agenda of creating an improved drive-thru experience. Apprente’s CEO, Itamar Arel, is now VP of the McD Technology Labs. He was previously CEO of Osaro, a robotic pick, and place startup, before leaving to start Apprente.
, an AI startup founded by the original author of SqueezeNet, was acquired by Tesla
for an undisclosed sum to join the AutoPilot team. I bet the team is likely to work on embedding small, efficient neural networks onto Tesla’s new hardware stack.
Nathan Benaich, 24 November 2020
Air Street Capital is a venture capital firm that invests in AI-first technology and life science companies. We’re a team of experienced investors, engineering leaders, entrepreneurs and AI researchers from the World’s most innovative technology companies and research institutions.