Venture Capital Deals Of The Week: Space Catapult Edition

by: VCDeals

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Toyota’s Grab: Grab (GRAB) announced a new funding round led by Toyota (NYSE:TM), which committed $1B in capital. The funding valued Grab at over $10B. Toyota gets a board seat and the chance to place an exec within the Grab team for its investment.

Grab plans to use the funding to create a more efficient network and to help drivers increase their income. Grab will work with Toyota’s Mobility Service Platform on user-based insurance, financial packages, and predictive car maintenance.

Grab claims over 100M app downloads across eight Asian countries. The company says its annual revenue run rate has now passed $1B.

Competition: Grab acquired the regional business of competitor Uber (UBER) but still faces the likes of Indonesia-based Go-Jek, which has a valuation around $4.5B.

Data storage: SoftBank’s (OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY) Vision Fund led and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE) and Cisco Investments (NASDAQ:CSCO) participated in a $250M Series D round in data storage startup Cohesity. Other participants included Sequoia Capital, Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, Battery Ventures, and Trinity Ventures. Cohesity previously raised $160M in funding including a $90M Series C round co-led by GV (GOOG, GOOGL) and Sequoia Capital.

Cohesity focuses on consolidating secondary data, which is non-mission critical data that’s rarely accessed but can use up to 80% of a company’s storage capacity, driving up costs. Cohesity customers include AutoNation, Shutterstock, and AllianceHealth.

Competition: Data center backup and recovery companies include Veeam, Rubrik ($292M in total funding), Dell <<DVMT>>, and Commvault <<CVLT>>.

Uber competitor: VW (VLKAY, OTCPK:VLKAF) led an $80M round in on-demand transportation company Gett. The company said the round pushed valuation up to $1.4B.

Gett said the funding would allow it to be profitable in all of its markets by Q1 of CY19 at the latest. Gett operates in 120 cities around the world. Half of the companies revenue comes from the New York and London markets. Gett is currently at a $1B/year rate and focusing on conquering the market of one city before expanding further.

Competition: Uber ($62B valuation), Lyft (LYFT), and traditional taxi companies.

Fan communities: GV and Time Warner (NYSE:T) Investments participated in a $45M Series C round in fan community apps startup Amino. Other participants include Venrock, Union Square Ventures, Goodwater Capital, and Hearst Ventures. The round brought total funding to $70M.

Users can launch new communities through the main Amino app based on the fandom of choice and then communicate with other fans through that community. There are now over 2.5M communities but some aren’t active and there are some overlaps in topics. Community focuses can get specific with one including gameplay tips for a certain game and another including art from that same game, for example. The average user spends more than 70 minutes a day in Amino.

Space catapult: Alphabet and Airbus (OTCPK:EADSF, OTCPK:EADSY) participated in a $40M round in space catapult company SpinLaunch. Kleiner Perkins and Caufield & Byers also participated.

SpinLaunch wants to get rockets into space through a catapult process rather than using propellants. The company wants to start the rocket spinning in a circle at up to 5K miles/hour and then let it go to throw it into the edge of space where it can light up and deliver things like satellites into orbit. This “kinetic energy launch system” would lighten the fuel weight and cost while making more room for cargo.

The company has a working prototype of the launcher and hopes to begin launches by 2022. Each launch will cost less than $500K compared to the typical $2M to $10M per launch.

CRE analytics firm: SAP’s (NYSE:SAP) affiliated Sapphire Ventures led and SoftBank participated in a $30M round for commercial real estate analytics firm Reonomy. Bain Capital also participated. The round brought total funding up to $68.4M.

Reonomy lets users search U.S. commercial assets from properties to ownership contracts to other detailed data. Reonomy has talked to SAP to see how the product could be helpful to its network. Reonomy hopes to open an office on the west coast of the U.S. and another in London.

Competition: Other CRE-focused data platforms include CompStak ($21.9M in funding, Moody’s among backers) and REscour ($2.8M in funding, Social Capital among backers.)

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