Welcome to Seeking Alpha’s Venture Capital Deals of the Week. Follow this account and turn on the e-mail alert to receive VCDeals in your inbox on Saturday mornings.
Grocery delivery: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) competitor Instacart raised $600M at a $7.6B valuation. D1 Capital Partners led the round, which comes six months after a $150M fundraising. Instacart is spending its infusions slowly and still has about $1.2B available.
The grocery delivery startup lets customers shop from among 300 different retailers including Kroger (NYSE:KR), Walmart (NYSE:WMT), and Costco (NASDAQ:COST) that have made the service available in 70% of use households. TechCrunch sources say Instacart is profitable only on a contribution margin basis (profits on each customer order.) Instacart will use some of its funds to double the engineering team by next year, including 300 open roles in the new Toronto office.
Brazilian delivery startup: SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY) invested $100M in Brazilian delivery startup Loggi in a round totaling $111M. The startup previously raised $3.3M from Qualcomm Ventures and Dragoneer Investment Group.
Loggi differs from many competitors in that it transports goods and delivers food, which can give drivers something to do between mealtimes. The startup sends delivery requests to nearby couriers, who deliver on motorcycles or in vans. Deliveries now total 3M with a 25% growth each month. The app calculates the fee and route. Loggi will use the funds to improve its tech platform and to invest in robotics and engineering.
Competitors: Columbian firm Rappi recently hit a $1B valuation. Amazon is working on a logistics pilot in Brazil with local business CargoX. SoftBank has a stake in Uber (NYSE:UBER), which operates its ride-hail and food delivery services in the region.
Digital cell biology: Nikon (OTCPK:NINOY) led a $95M round in digital cell biology company Berkeley Lights. Sequoia Capital, Walden-Riverwood Ventures, and Black Diamond Ventures were among the other participants. Earlier this year, Nikon signed an exclusive sales agency contract with Berkeley Lights for Japanese sales of its multipurpose cell research and development platform called Beacon.
Berkeley Lights developed a nanoscale technology to accelerate drug discovery and development processes through bioscience technology and information. Companies already using the Beacon platform include Shire, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), and Daiichi Sankyo (OTCPK:DSNKY). Berkeley will use the new funds to expedite solutions for cell therapy development/manufacturing, which includes CAR-T and endogenous T-cells. The money will also help with commercial expansion, platform development, and driving R&D.
Rental management: Airbnb (AIRB) management service Vacasa raised $64M in a Series B bridge round. Riverwood led and was joined by Level Equity, Assurant, and Newspring. Total funding now amounts to about $208M.
Vacasa lets homeowners wanting to rent out their space with listing and space management, including hooking the owner up with cleaners between guests. The service works on top rental platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway (NASDAQ:EXPE). The startup next wants to expand into real estate to sell property to those wanting to rent out a vacation home.
Competitors: Airbnb, now a partner, could become a competitor after its eventual IPO. Other booking giants like HomeAway and Booking.com (NASDAQ:BKNG) could also decide to enter Vacasa’s space.
Exits: Samsung (OTC:SSNNF, OTC:SSNLF) acquired network analytics startup Zhilabs for undisclosed terms. IPOs: Genomic editing company LogicBio Therapeutics (NASDAQ:LOGC) raised $70M, and Chinese scooter maker Niu (NASDAQ:NIU) raised $63M.
New fund: Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures partnered with the European Commission to launch a €100M investment fund. The fund supports clean energy tech in Europe with a primary focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transportation agriculture, and manufacturing. Breakthrough will supply half of the funding with the other half coming from EU research and innovation initiative Horizon 2020.
Fund watch: New fund Jane VC wants to receive cold emails from entrepreneurs to oust the traditional VC model that’s been less than favorable to women. The fund has raised $2M wants to invest between $25K and $150K in early-stage female-founded companies across industries. Jane VC was cofounded by former Flashstarts leader (and 21st Century Fox and YouTube vet) Jennifer Neundorfer and former LittleLane CEO Maren Bannon. So far, the fund has backed insurance tech company Proformex and enterprise software company Hatch Apps. Find out more about the fund here.
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