Top startup news for today, Thursday, February 21, 2019
Good morning! Here are some of the top technology startup news stories for today, Thursday, February 21.
Better.com receives $5 million additional Funding from Citigroup to continue to expand operations and its business reach. We wrote about Better Mortgage back in January when the NYC-based home finance startup raised $70 million in Series C funding for new technology investment and employee growth. Today, Better.com just received a $5m additional funding from Citigroup. The funding was joined by American Express Ventures, Goldman Sachs, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, Kleiner Perkins, and Pine Brook Goldman Sachs, in the Series C round now totalling $75 million. Better Mortgage will use the new capital infusion to continue to expand operations and its business reach. Launched in 2016 and led by Vishal Garg, CEO and Founder, Better.com has originated over $2 billion in loans to date, helping over 7,000 Americans buy or refinance their homes. The company doubled its presence in 2018 alone, to include over 30 states in the US and originated $1.3B in mortgages, up over 3x from 2017.
SoftBank is leading a $1 billion investment in logistics startup Flexport; now at about $3 billion valution. Japan SoftBank continues to make headlines with billions of dollars investment in startups ranging from finance to real estate. Yesterday, we reported about SoftBank’s $200 million investment in physical storage start-up Clutter. Today, SoftBank’s Vision Fund, a venture arm of SoftBank announced it’s leading a $1 billion round in Flexport, a shipping and logistics startup company. The new investment now puts the startup around $3 billion valuation. With its $100 billion war chest, Vision Fund continues to write massive checks to fast-growing companies that are applying technology to old industries. SoftBank has invested in Uber in ride-hailing, DoorDash in food delivery or WeWork in real estate.
Segment launches new program to help early-stage startups maximize growth and achieve product-market fit. Today, data infrastructure company Segment announced the launch of Segment Startup Program, giving early stage startups free access to Segment’s Customer Data Infrastructure program for two years. These free tools will enable startups to maximize their use of data/analytics, help them intelligently find their product market fit, and expedite their growth marketing strategies. Through the Segment Startup Program, businesses will have access to cutting edge customer data tools, helping them efficiently manage and act on their customer data. Along with this free access, qualifying companies will also get exclusive deals with Segment partners (including Google, Amplitude, Intercom, Mode Analytics, and more). While Segment’s own growth is accelerating (including being named a “future unicorn” by The New York Times), they want to help the broader startup community accelerate their own businesses.
WaitWhat raises $4.3M in Series A funding. WaitWhat, a New York City-based media startup with focus on creating premium digital content, has raised $4.3m in Series A funding. The company has also reserved up to $1.5m of additional funding capacity specifically for women and minority led investment funds such as Victress Capital, Human Ventures, and Able Partners, who will join in this Series A Round. The round was led by Cue Ball and Burda Principal Investments with participation from Reid Hoffman, Jacki Zehner, Joi Ito, Julia Popowitz, Roy Martin, Ann Lovell, Will Allen, Maria Thomas, Joshua Schacter, Liminal Ventures, and Scott Green. Founded in 2017 by former TED executives June Cohen and Deron Triff, who led the TED Talks into a globally recognized media brand, WaitWhat is a media company committed to the creation of premium content “that scale across mediums; designing media properties whose value builds over time; and eliciting certain “contagious emotions” that accelerate sharing“. WaitWhat is a first-of-its-kind content incubator that invests in, develops and nurtures original media properties until they achieve great scale.
AgTech startup and online marketplace Tillable lands $8.25 million Series A to transform the $32 billion farmland rental market. Tillable, an AgTech startup that helps landowners optimize returns and gives farmers an efficient platform for expanding growing operations, has raised $8.25 million Series A funding round to bring efficiency to $32 billion farmland rental market. The round was led by top agtech investment holding company The Production Board, with participation by First Round Capital. Founded just last year by Corbett Kull, Tillable is an online marketplace that helps farm landowners and growers to rent and manage farmland. Today, 40% of US farmland is rented creating a $32 billion/year market. However, very little data on pricing and relative performance exists leading to a very inefficient market and to price distortion on both ends of the spectrum. Tillable was created to introduce data transparency to this market and make it more efficient to the benefit of all parties.
Geneos Therapeutics raises $10.5 million in Series A funding to develop the next generation of neoantigen-targeting cancer immunotherapies. Biotech startup Geneos Therapeutics has secured a $10.5 Series A round to launch its operations as a standalone entity to develop the next generation of neoantigen-targeting cancer immunotherapies. Geneos Therapeutics technology is designed to identify, design, manufacture, and deliver tumor specific neoantigen-targeted personalized immunotherapies. We have an experienced management team with a track record of success in building immunotherapy-based companies. Geneos holds an exclusive license of Inovio’s DNA-based immunotherapy platform, which has demonstrated in multiple clinical trials, animal models, and peer-reviewed publications the ability to elicit a potent and tumor-specific immune response to fight cancer. Geneos was founded by Dr. Sardesai after building Inovio Pharmaceuticals into a Phase III cancer company.