This is a monthly feature that runs down the month’s top 10 funding rounds in the U.S. Check out last month’s here.
It’s probably fitting that as Silicon Valley and California deal with energy issues this week, we see that energy startups dominated the largest rounds of last month. Four energy-related startups made the list—including three in the top five with some very substantial raises.
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Here’s a quick review of the top 10 rounds of August:
1. TerraPower, $750M, energy: The Bill Gates-founded nuclear innovation company secured an equity raise that yields a “minimum of $750 million,” the company said in a release. The fundraise was co-led by SK Inc. and SK Innovation—which invested $250 million—as well as Bill Gates. The SK Group is among South Korea’s largest energy providers and this is not the only time it will be mentioned here. The round also is one of the largest advanced nuclear fundraises to date. Founded in 2006, TerraPower is an incubator and developer of ideas and technologies. The Bellevue, Washington-based company will use the new money to develop advanced nuclear technology as well as new cancer treatments from nuclear isotopes.
2. Longroad Energy, $500M, energy: Boston-based Longroad Energy, focused on wind, solar and storage project development, locked up $500 million last month from MEAG, a Munich Re company. The new funding is part of a change in business strategy for Longroad, as it moves away from its “develop to sell” business model for its energy infrastructure developments to more ownership. Founded in 2016, the round is the first disclosed fundraise, according to Crunchbase data.
3. Flow, $350M, real estate: Well, this one caused quite the outpouring of opinions. Not a ton is known about Adam Neumann’s new startup other than it is in the rental real estate market. That did not stop people from pointing out the hypocrisy of Marc Andreessen supporting the new venture with $350 million from a16z and writing his “It’s Time To Build” piece in support of the startup. All this while having protested the building of townhomes in the billionaire-dense enclave of Atherton. Pretty tone-deaf. Many also questioned giving Neumann—best known for the WeWork debacle—that amount of money for a new venture. Needless to say, everyone will be watching this closely.
4. Lunar Energy, $300M, clean energy: Last month, Mountain View, California-based Lunar Energy closed $300 million of investment over two rounds in the past two years as it quietly worked in stealth. The company is led by former Tesla executive Kunal Girotra. In that time it has built a team of nearly 250 employees. Lunar is attempting to build the full ecosystem of hardware and software needed to make homes completely energy independent by creating, storing and using the power they themselves generate. Investors in the two rounds include San Francisco-based solar company Sunrun and South Korea’s SK Group.
5. SeatGeek, $238M, ticketing: The decline in the SPAC market stopped New York-based SeatGeek from going public. However, it did not stop the company from raising a lot of money. SeatGeek announced it raised $238 million as part of a Series E at a $1 billion pre-money valuation. The funding announcement comes just about two months after SeatGeek’s $1.35 billion deal to go public via a SPAC was mutually canceled by both the SPAC, RedBall Acquisition Corp., and the company due to unfavorable market conditions. While the amount is less than one-fifth of what the company would have raised from its SPAC deal, it does give it a unicorn valuation and money to expand on its platform. SeatGeek’s SPAC deal was just one of many canceled this year as the market for such vehicles cooled significantly from a record-setting 2021. The new round was led by longtime investor Accel. Founded in 2009, SeatGeek has now raised approximately $400 million, according to Crunchbase data.
6. Orna Therapeutics, $221M, biotech: Last month was a big one for biotech. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Orna Therapeutics helped lead the way, as the RNA therapies developer announced a $221 million Series B. Drug giant Merck joined as a new investor, and MPM Capital and BioImpact Capital also participated in the round. Founded in 2019, Orna has now raised $321 million, per Crunchbase.
7. Triller, $200M, digital media: Los Angeles-based Triller had a pretty busy few months. The company’s planned $5 billion SPAC deal fell through in June. Then, last month it was reported the music and video app—not dissimilar to TikTok—had raised $200 million in financing ahead of a potential $3 billion IPO before the end of the year. The raise was a mix of debt and equity from investors such as Fubon Financial, TheWrap reported. Just a day after the raise was reported, Variety reported that Sony Music filed a lawsuit against Triller for copyright infringement when the company allegedly stopped making payments for music used on the platform. This is not the first time Triller has faced legal trouble.
8. Fervo Energy, $138M, clean energy: Like we said earlier, August was a busy month for energy. Houston-based geothermal power company Fervo Energy raised $138 million in new funding led by DCVC. The startup plans to use the new cash to build, own and operate carbon-free, geothermal power plants. It says it will use techniques such as horizontal drilling and distributed fiber optic sensing to reach and use reservoirs of hot rock beneath the earth’s surface. Founded in 2017, the startup has raised $177 million, according to Crunchbase data.
9. Alma, $130M, health care: Health insurance is complicated for patients. Imagine how health care professionals who deal with a multitude of claims and several insurance companies must feel. New York-based Alma closed a $130 million Series D to help mental health therapists with exactly that. Alma is a membership-based platform that allows independent therapists who run their own practices deal with administrative tasks like setting up insurance and billing. The new round was led by Thoma Bravo. Founded in 2018, the company has now raised $220 million, according to Crunchbase data.
10. Landing, $125M, rental: It isn’t often we see an Alabama-based startup on this list, but Landing landed in the top 10 this month. The Birmingham-based startup announced a $125 million Series C—a mix of both debt and equity—led by Delta-v Capital. Landing offers a subscription model for the apartment rental experience; move-in ready apartments with monthly leases. Members can move throughout the company’s nationwide network of 20,000 available listings in more than 375 U.S. cities. Landing has now raised the two largest venture rounds in the state since being founded in 2019, according to Crunchbase.
Big global deals
While some U.S.-based startups saw big rounds last month, the biggest came from abroad.
- Singapore-based Lazada Group, an online shopping and selling destination in Southeast Asia, closed a $912.5 million round from Alibaba.
We tracked the largest rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies for the month of August. Although most announced rounds are represented in the database, there could be a small time lag as some rounds are reported late in the month.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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Author: Chris Metinko