This is a monthly feature that runs down the most active investors in U.S.-based companies, looks at some of their most interesting investments, and includes some odds and ends of who spent what. Check out last month’s feature here.
While July’s list of most active investors in the U.S. includes familiar names such as Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz, some of the other large firms that normally populate this list seemed to take the long summer month off.
Big-name firms such as Tiger Global, Insight Partners, General Catalyst, Accel and Sequoia Capital all were significantly lower on the list than normal. In fact, Tiger made only six U.S.-based investments in July—the hedge funds giant took part in 16 deals in July 2021.
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But as we are often reminded, this is not 2021 anymore.
Now let’s take a closer look at the most active investors in U.S.-based startups last month and some interesting rounds they took part in.
Y Combinator, 14 deals
Much has been made recently about Y Combinator cutting its startup class size, however that does not mean it is still not investing. In fact, the accelerator king took the top spot in the number of deals last month.
Per usual, Y Combinator made investments in a wide range of startups, from AI firms to biotech.
The deal that popped up on our radar was a small $2 million seed round last month into a company called Coinfeeds. The San Francisco-based API considers itself the “Bloomberg for crypto.” Its platform provided real-time news and the social sentiment on any cryptocurrency (which of late has probably been pretty low).
Such real-time access to not just news but also what people are saying about the newest Web3 and NFT projects based on social metrics can give any investor a leg up on the crowd—just like what Bloomberg does for public investors.
Elevate Ventures, 13 deals
Elevate Ventures is one of a couple new names on this particular list. The Indianapolis-based firm focuses mainly on Indiana-based startups and typically invests in a few such startups every month.
However, July was a big month for the firm as it led several small seed rounds in companies ranging from Paradise Spreads, a maker of organic plant-based protein spreads, to American Evidence, a blockchain evidence management startup.
The rounds weren’t big—typically $20,000—but this list is by count, not size.
Andreessen Horowitz, 12 deals
Andreessen Horowitz is no stranger to this list every month and again makes it with an even dozen deals. While we usually look at one of the firm’s many crypto deals, this time we’ll look at an investment into the next generation of e-commerce and retail—at least that is what a16z is betting.
The company took part in Whatnot’s huge $260 million Series D that values the startup at $3.7 billion. The Los Angeles-based e-commerce site is a livestreaming shopping site. Whatnot’s site allows for a more interactive buying experience than say going on Amazon, and seems to have struck a chord with buyers seeking more of a community-oriented forum.
The site grew sales more than 20x year over year in 2021, and has more than tripled its monthly sales thus far in 2022. The new valuation was a significant bump from its previous $1.5 billion value just last September.
Founded in 2019, the company has raised nearly $485 million, according to Crunchbase data.
Gaingels, 10 deals
New York-based Gaingels once again had a busy month, but not nearly as active as the previous one. Before its 10 deals in July, its lowest total number of investments for any month this year was 17.
That’s not to say there weren’t any interesting deals. While we just covered a large round with Andreessen Horowitz, we’ll go to a relatively small one.
Gaingels invested in a seed round of less than $1 million for Toybox Labs. The Oakland, California-based startup lets kids use 3D printing to create toys at the push of a button.
That’s right, a toy that creates more toys. For kids, nothing could be better. For parents, possibly a nightmare.
That said, it does teach kids about 3D printing and lets their imaginations run wild. However, there is a price to letting that imagination run unabated, as the printers run at least $300—on sale!—on the startup’s website.
GV, 7 deals
While we are still trying to perfect the autonomous car, we are also getting closer to other autonomous vehicles.
The Boston-based company has been busy since coming out of stealth last year. It now has a joint project with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, as well as partnerships with Dynamic Aviation and Ameriflight as it looks to disrupt the cargo airline industry amidst a global shortage for pilots.
With some projecting the global air freight market to reach $376.8 billion by 2027 and pilots getting harder to find, such an investment in an autonomous flight startup may have GV flying high someday.
XLerateHealth, 7 deals
Similar to Elevate Ventures, XLerateHealth also makes its debut on this list. The Louisville, Kentucky-based accelerator helps invest in early-stage health care startups and helps them commercialize. Its investments in July were its first of the year, and undisclosed pre-seed rounds, according to Crunchbase data.
XLerateHealth announced 15 deals last year.
This recent set of investments included mainly health care startups from Michigan that run the gamut of Detroit-based women’s reproductive health startup Urban Docz to Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Prevada Medical, which offers solutions to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections.
- Some new firms like Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Google for Startups and Jamstack Innovation Fund—along with the aforementioned Tiger Global—came in next with six deals apiece.
- Elevate Ventures led or co-led all 13 rounds it took part in in July—easily the most for the month. XLerateHealth led or co-led the next most U.S.-based rounds for the month at seven—which also accounts for all the rounds they participated in last month. Google for Startups, Jamstack Innovation Fund and Andreessen Horowitz came in third with six rounds led or co-led each.
- No firm led or co-led rounds totaling much last month. In fact, Blackstone Energy Partners led the way with only one round—New York-based carbon and environmental commodities platform Xpansiv’s $400 million round.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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Author: Chris Metinko