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1. SoftBank sinks $1B in Columbian deliveries
SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF,OTCPK:SFTBY) invested $1B in Columbian delivery startup Rappi with half of the money coming from SoftBank Group’s Latin America-focused Innovation Fund and the rest from the Vision Fund.
Rappi’s platform lets customers buy products from delivery with a particular focus on restaurant food and supermarket goods. The company has expanded into Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. Rappi was valued at $1B at the time of its last private round in September.
Competitors: U.S. equivalents are Uber (Uber) Eats and DoorDash (DOORD).
2. Goldman Sachs invests in Indian logistics
Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) Investment Partners and Accel co-led a $150M Series D round in Indian freight and logistics tech company BlackBuck at a reported valuation near $1B. Wellington, Sequoia Capital, B Capital, and Light Street were among the other participants. BlackBuck has now raised $230M in equity financing and $100M in debt financing.
BlackBuck connects businesses to truck drivers and freight operators. The company has 300K trucks on its platform and about 10K clients including Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Tata. The startup makes money by taking 15% to 20% of what drivers make through the app and brought in $135.5M in revenue on a $17M loss last year. BlackBuck will use the new money to expand and improve its tech stack that helps drivers find work and to grow its fleet of driver partners.
Competitors: Other Indian logistics companies include Delhivery ($670M+ in funding, SoftBank among backers) and Rivigo ($215M+, Warburg Pincus among backers).
3. Mulesoft competitor gets $37M
Mulesoft (NYSE:CRM) competitor Tray.io raised a $37M Series B round. Spark Capital led the round, and Alex Clayton will join Tray’s board of directors. Tray lets companies connect any app to create new workflows without the need for coding.
Clayton says Tray fills a hole in the automation space between high-end tools like Mulesoft and simpler tools like Zapier. Tray’s ARR is growing over 450% Y/Y with customers growing 400%. The current list of over 200 clients includes IBM, Lyft, and SAP.
4. Alphabet invests in contractor engagement
Along with the funding announcement, Sense unveiled the two-way SMS tool Messaging, which connects recruiters with candidates and workers through a central desktop interface. Other products include Sense Engage, a data analytics tool to track worker engagement and satisfaction. The new funds will help growth R&D and sales.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) launches $100M VC fund targeting self-driving vehicle and robotics startups. The Toyota AI Ventures Fund II follows the 2017 fund that in the likes of self-driving shuttle company May Mobility, lidar developer Blackmore, and air taxi firm Joby Aviation. Fund II portfolio companies will have access to ongoing support and resources from Toyota.