Hotel Reservation Startup Adds Grab To Its $1B Round

by: VCDeals

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.

Data analytics: Alphabet’s (GOOG, GOOGL) CapitalG participated in a $103M Series E funding for data analytics platform Looker at a $1.6B valuation in what’s likely the last funding before the IPO. Premji Invest led with participation from Cross Creek Advisors, Kleiner Perkins, IVP, Redpoint Ventures and Meritech Capital Partners. The startup offers business intelligence software and a big data analytics platform for real-time business analytics. Looker claims 1.6K customers and recently crossing the $10M revenue run rate. Management says revenue is growing 70% Y/Y.

Competitors: The analytics and business intelligence platform space include Tableau (NYSE:DATA), and Domo (NASDAQ:DOMO).

Indian hotel reservations: Grab (GRAB) invested $100M in Indian hotel-reservation startup OYO as part of a $1B fund raise announced in September. The $1B included $800 from a group that included SoftBank, which has also invested in Grab. OYO claims more than 10K franchised or leased hotels across 350 cities in five countries. OYO will use the funds to fuel international expansion and grow existing businesses in India and China. Grab can use its investment to grow its mobile payment GrabPay in SE Asia.

Competitors: Treebo ($57M in funding), Fabhotels ($35.3M in funding).

Voice security: Alphabet’s CapitalG and GV were among the backers of a $90M Series D round for Pindrop, which develops voice security and authentication tech for biometrics. Vitruvian Partners led with participation from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Citi Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz. Pindrop’s tech historically featured in call centers, but the startup will use the new round, which brought total funding to $212.8M, to move into voice-assisted smart devices. Pindrop says it has seen 137% CAGR in revenue in the past three years and counts “8 of the 10 largest banks and 5 of the 7 largest insurance companies in the U.S. as customers.”

Competitors: Online fraud software competitors include Experian’s (OTCQX:EXPGY) 41st Parameter and RELX’s (NYSE:RELX) ThreatMetrix.

Online pharmacy: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) PillPack’s digital pharmacy competitor Alto closed a $50M Series C round that included Olive Tree Capital, Greenoaks Capital, Jackson Square Ventures, and Zola. Alto offers online prescription drug ordering and delivery and launched a software product that helps doctors manage prescriptions and coordinate with insurance providers. The new funds will go towards offering delivery in more cities beyond the current San Francisco and southern California focus, launching mail-order services, and increasing the number of specialty drugs offered.

Integration platform: ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) and Workday (NYSE:WDAY) Ventures participated in a $25M Series B round for Workato, which offers enterprises an intelligent platform for app integration and workflow automation. Battery Ventures and Storm Ventures also participated. Workato says it stands out from the iPaaS competition by tailoring its service to business users, not IT. The startup used the funding announcement to launch a new AI-enabled feature called Automation Editions for sales, marketing and HR.

Competitors: MuleSoft (NYSE:CRM), SnapLogic, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Logic Apps.

Exits: (NYSE:WMT) acquired’s assets for undisclosed terms and will operate the company, which offers 2M curated images and customization services, as a standalone unit like Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) raised $618M in an IPO by pricing 26.86M shares (including overallotment) at $23/share.

Fund watch: Salesforce Ventures announced the $100M Japan Trailblazer Fund, which will focus on enterprise cloud companies at start and growth stages.

Startup to watch: AI company Artie launched from stealth offering a platform for intelligent avatars. The proprietary Wonderfirend Engine makes it easier to create lifelike avatar-to-consumer interactions, and the company is working on an “Instant Avatar” tech to make the avatars sharable through a standard hyperlink. Founded by industry vets Armando Kirwin (Odema) and Ryan Horrigan (Felix & Paul Studios), Artie wants its avatars to appear everywhere from smartphones to AR gear, serving as a virtual companion. Investors include Youtube cofounder Chard Hurley, DCG, and Founders Fund. Artie has partnerships with Google and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) for early experiments and is starting to onboard major media companies.

Check out a montage of Artie’s AR tests here.

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