📅 April 2021 DWDG Digest #17
Happy Friday! The world is certainly a crazy place. From Dogecoin going to the moonto the unfortunate COVID crisis in India and escalation in the Isreali-Palestinian conflict. The world is both an amazing and terrifying place. The good thing is that humans are resilient and despite all of the challenges that come our way, we have a way of keeping the good going.
Thankfully there are plenty of companies and people that are Doing Good that we can highlight.
Although a couple weeks late, enjoy our latest installment of the April newsletter where we highlight the companies Doing Well by Doing Good!
- Hedge Fund Investor Johnathon Soros previously at the Soros Fund launched a new fund focused on empowering Atheletes to own their own destinies via social enterprises — Atheletes Unlimited. He explains the structure and reasoning as a “New Way to Scale Social Enterprises” in this HBR article
- Earth Day (April 22nd, 2021) is more than just a marketing ploy for upstart social enterprise Mindful Mindful, a lifestyle brand selling apparel, home furnishing, and self-care products made from 80% recycled materials, whichlaunched on Earth Day
- Faces of Vibrant Bharat — an award for by Grant Thorton Bharat to celebrate the work of socioentrepreneurs in India — was awarded to founders of Aavishkar Group Vineet and Swati Rai for their work funding social enterprises helping low-income households in India and Africa.
Olive Union, a five-year-old, Carson City, Nev.-based maker of a two-in-one smart hearing aid and wireless earbud, has raised $7 million in Series B funding from Beyond Next Ventures, Bonds Investment Groups and Japan Policy Finance. [ Crunchbase News Report]
- Doing Good: Olive Union is improving the hearing aid experience for the hard of hearing and is bringing the effective cost down by bundling two essential products.
Vesta Healthcare, a three-year-old, New York-based digital health platform focused on home-based care, has raised $65 million in growth capital led by Deerfield Management Company, with participation from earlier investors Oak HC/FT, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Lux Capital, Generator Ventures, Nationwide, CareCentrix and Epstein Partners. [ FierceBiotech Report]
- Doing Good: Vesta is focused on helping vulnerable elderly populations by providing home-based care at a reasonable price.
Papa, a four-year-old, Miami-based platform that offers care and companionship to seniors, has raised $60 million in Series C funding led by Tiger Global Management. The outfit had closed its Series B round last September with $18 million led by Comcast Ventures. It has now raised $91 million altogether. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Papa is aiming to help the aged, one of the most vulnerable populations, find companionship with Papa pals improving outcomes for elderly patients by addressing loneliness and isolation.
Ophelia, a two-year-old, New York-based startup that uses telemedicine to provide medication-assisted treatment (the use of medicine plus counseling) to treat opioid addiction, has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Menlo Ventures led the round, joined by Y Combinator, General Catalyst, and Refactor Capital. [ The WSJ Report]
- Doing Good: Ophelia is tackling the opioid crisis head-on by providing a service to intervene and treat such patients via telemedicine and counseling helping the vulnerable populations with life-threatening opioid addictions.
Strap Technologies, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based developer of lightweight, chest-worn strap that guides the blind and visually impaired by calculating the proximity of physical environments, has raised $1.3 million led by Platform Capital.
- Doing Good: Strap’s hardware and software helps those unable to see better navigate physical environments, a key component of mobility enabling them to do the tasks they couldn’t do before.
Syzygy Plasmonics, a four-year-old, Houston, Tex.-based chemical company developing a photocatalyst-powered hydrogen fuel cell technology that produces a cheaper source of energy that releases fewer carbon emissions, has raised $23 million funding. Hong Kong-based Horizons Venture led the round, joined by Equinor Ventures and earlier backers The Engine, GOOSE Capital, and Evok Innovations. [Innovation Map Report]
- Doing Good: Syzygy has created a technology that cuts the carbon emissions per hydrogen fuel cell by half and by replacing traditional hydrogen fuel cells, could reduce carbon emissions drastically.
Battery Resourcers, a six-year-old, Worcester, Ma.-based company that says it’s recycling used electric vehicle batteries and turning them into nickel-manganese-cobalt cathodes to sell back to battery manufacturers, has raised $20 million Series B funding. Orbia Ventures led the round, joined by At One Ventures, TDK Ventures, TRUMPF Venture, Doral Energy-Tech Ventures and InMotion Ventures. [TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Battery Resources is creating a closed-loop system to recycle batteries from electric vehicles that are coming off the road. This method is reducing overall carbon emissions from cathode manufacturing by encouraging battery manufacturers to buy recycled cathodes.
Cultured Decadence, a year-old, Madison, Wi.-based working to create cell-cultured lobster meat, has raised $1.6 million in pre-seed funding from a long list of investors. These include Bluestein Ventures, Joyance Partners, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, gener8tor, GlassWall Syndicate, Bascom Ventures, and China-based Dao Foods. The company also received non-dilutive funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. [ Bloomberg Report]
- Doing Good: Cultured Decadence is building a sustainable approach to obtaining lobster meat to replace the currently unsustainable fishing protocols used across the world.
Impossible Foods, the 10-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based plant-based burger maker, is preparing for a public listing that could value the company at around $10 billion or more, according to Reuters, which notes that’s substantially more than the $4 billion the company was worth in a private funding round in 2020. Then again, there is “growing demand for plant-based meat products, driven by environmental and ethical concerns among consumers,” [ Reuters Report]
- Doing Good: Impossible Foods is much like other alternative meat companies aiming to replace unsustainable red meat harvesting with their sustainable plant-based alternative decreasing overall carbon emissions and ensuring enough food to support the world demand.
Hazel Technologies, a six-year-old, Chicago-based agtech company focused on food waste (its sugar-packet-size sachets condition the storage atmosphere to reduce respiration rate and increase resistance to the ripening agent ethylene), has raised $70 million in Series C funding co-led by Pontifax Global Food, Agriculture Technology Fund, and Temasek. The company has now raised $87 million altogether.
- Doing Good: Hazel offers a sachets that can be added to any produce to increase shelf life which is looking to reduce the 30% of wastage currently seen the produce industry, commensurately reducing carbon emissions from harvesting of wasted produce.
Mori, a five-year-old, Boston-based developer of an edible and natural biomaterial coating that extends the shelf life of perishable foods, has raised $16 million in Series B funding. Drawdown Fund led the round, joined by Acre Venture Partners, The Engine, Prelude Ventures, Refactor Capital, Closed Loop Partners, and Knollwood Investment Advisory.
- Doing Good: Much like Hazel above, Mori has developed a coating to extend the shelf life of perishable foods, commensurately reducing carbon emissions from harvesting of waste produce.
Clim8 Invest, a two-year-old, London-based crowdfunding platform that helps consumers to invest in companies and supply chains that are focused on tackling climate change, has raised $8 million from 7pc Ventures and British Business Bank Future Fund. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Clim8 much like others in the space help put retail investor dollars into the green space diverting traditional investment dollars to climate change initiatives.
Atlast Food Co., a two-year-old, Green Island, N.Y.-based company making a plant-based alternative to bacon, has raised $40 million in Series A funding. Viking Global Investors led the round, joined by 40 North, AiiM Partners, Senator Investment Group, Stray Dog Capital, and Footprint Coalition Ventures. [Food Dive Report]
- Doing Good: Atlast Food much like others on the list is an alternative for bacon and other thin cuts of meat aiming to cut emissions from unsustainable meat processing by replacing them.
SES (SolidEnergy Systems), a nine-year-old, Woburn, Ma.-based lithium-metal battery developer, has raised $139 million in funding led by General Motors, which which the company has been working for six years. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: SES’s novel battery technology is a key enabler for renewable energies which often are dependent on time-specific gathering ranges (e.g. solar parks, wind farms, etc).
Universal Hydrogen, a year-old, L.A.-based startup aiming to develop hydrogen storage solutions and conversion kits for commercial aircraft, has raised $20.5 million in Series A funding. Playground Global led the round, joined by Fortescue Future Industries, Coatue, GlobalFounders Capital, Plug Power, Airbus Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Sojitz Corporation and Future Shape. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Universal Hydrogen is developing capsules and processes to enable hydrogen-powered aviation to drastically reduce the carbon emissions from worldwide air travel. Their tech may still be many years out but if successful will make a dent in reducing the 2.4% of global CO2 emissions contributed by the air travel industry.
PowerX, a year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based startup that’s developing a suite of environmental and energy cost-saving products for the home, has raised $4 million led by SpringTide Ventures, which was joined by earlier backers Antler, senior executives from Tesla and SpaceX, and Y Combinator. [ Crunchbase News Report]
- Doing Good: Per capita carbon emissions in the home is a huge contributor to greenhouse gases. PowerX is developing software and sensors to quickly and intervene and reduce per capita energy waste.
Diamond Foundry, a nine-year-old, San Francisco-based maker of lab-grown diamonds, has raised $200 million from Fidelity at a $1.8 billion valuation. [ The Financial Times Report]
- Doing Good: “Blood Diamonds” are a common phrase to describe a large part of the diamond mining industry that uses diamonds as a funding mechanism for civil war. Much of the diamond industry is also questionably sustainable thus Diamond Foundry aims to replace these unsustainable and dangerous practices with their products.
Gridential Energy, an 11-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based battery developer that says it’s developing an advanced Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery as an inexpensive, recyclable alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries, has raised $12 million in funding. The firm 1955 Capital led the round, joined by Silicon Valley Bank, August Capital cofounder David Marquardt, renewables exec Yumin Liu, East Penn Manufacturing, Crown Battery and the Roda Group. [ Crunchbase News Report]
- Doing Good: Gridential is another alternative to lithium-ion batteries that is inexpensive (not dependent on precious lithium) and is recyclable. Their mission is to reduce carbon emissions through more sustainable battery manufacturing and enabling renewable energy sources through reliable energy storage.
SunRoof, an eight-year-old, Sweden-based company that installs smart rooftops that produce solar power, as well as enables its customers to share surplus energy, has raised €4.5 million in extended seed funding led by Inovo Venture Partners, with participation from SMOK Ventures, LT Capital, EIT InnoEnergy, FD Growth Capital and KnowledgeHub. [TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: SunRoof is a classic home and commercial solar provider enabling customers to reduce their individual carbon footprint while also helping reduce others by sharing their surplus energy.
Modern Meadow, a 10-year-old, New York-based biotech company that uses biofabrication to create sustainable materials, including alternatives to leather, has raised $130 million in Series C funding. Key Partners Capital led the round, joined by Astanor Ventures, Horizons Ventures and Cape Capital. The company also said that chairperson Anna Bakst, formerly CEO of Kate Spade, is succeeding Andras Forgacs as CEO. [The Business of Fashion Report]
- Doing Good: Modern Meadow is similar to alternative meats companies except for fashion. Their sustainable replacements for leather and other materials reduces the overall carbon impact of unsustainable alternatives in competing products.
Solidia Technologies, a 13-year-old, Piscataway, New Jersey-based low-carbon cement and concrete company, has raised $78 million in new funding. Imperative Ventures and Zero Carbon Partners co-led the round, joined by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, PIVA Capital and earlier backers John Doerr, Bill Joy, BP, and OGCI Climate Investments.
- Doing Good: Solidia is another company reducing carbon emissions in the sourcing and process of manufacturing critical goods — cement and concrete, in this case.
Pachema, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based marketplace for forest carbon credits, has raised $15 million from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Saltwater, MCJ Collective and OATV. [TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Pachema is building a marketplace for forest carbon credits to fund the restoration of forests, critical habitats to sustain biodiversity, and major contributors to the sequestration of CO2, helping slow the effects of global warming.
Misfits Market, a nearly three-year-old, Philadelphia, Pa.-based subscription service for “ugly” produce, has raised $200 million in Series C funding at a valuation north of $1 billion. Accel and D1 Capital Partners co-led, and were joined by insiders Valor Equity Partners, Greenoaks Capital, Sound Ventures and Third Kind Ventures. [TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Misfits Market has expanded to providing more than just produce helping reduce the waste in the grocery supply chain and making quality goods cheaper for the end consumer.
dLocal, an eight-year-old, Uruguay-based cross-border payments startup, has raised $150 million in new funding at a post-money valuation of $5 billion less than seven months after securing $200 million at a $1.2 billion valuation. (Wow.) Alkeon Capital led the latest round, which also included participation from Bond, D1 Capital Partners and Tiger Global Management. General Atlantic had led its previous round, which closed last September and made dLocal Uruguay’s first unicorn. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: dLocal enables cross-border payments for populations in developing countries in LatAm where regulation prevents free-flow of capital providing access to financial services previously unavailable.
Outlier.org, a nearly three-year-old, New York-based online education platform focused on student debt (it was founded by MasterClass cofounder Aaron Rasmussen), has raised $30 million in Series B funding. GV led the round, joined by Unusual Ventures, GSV, Harrison Metal, and Gaingels. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Outlier is focused on providing high quality online intro college courses for credit helping students vulnerable to high student debt a viable alternative.
Cora, a two-year-old, São Paulo-based tech-enabled lender to small and-medium-sized businesses, has raised $26.7 million in Series A funding led by Ribbit Capital. Kaszek Ventures, QED Investors and Greenoaks Capital also participated in the financing, which brings the startup’s total funding to $36.7 million. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Cora enables small and medium business to access capital and financial services previously unavailable to them.
Patreon, an online platform that connects musicians and other creators with fans, has raised $155 million in fresh funding at a $4 billion post-money valuation as venture capitalists bet on startups that serve content creators. Tiger Global Management led the round, joined by Woodline Partners and several earlier investors, including Wellington Management, Lone Pine Capital and New Enterprise Associates. Patreon had raised $90 million in funding in September at a valuation of $1.2 billion, so this new valuation is a massive jump. [The WSJ Report]
- Doing Good: Patreon provides a platform for individual creators often struggling with unstable streams of income to directly profit from their fans.
Empathy, a 10-month-old, Israel-based app that aims to help families through all the financial, legal, and logistical challenges after losing a loved one, has raised $13 million in funding co-led by General Catalyst and Aleph. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Empathy is focused on helping families financially at their most vulnerable time. By helping families plan in advance, it smooths the financial and emotional burden on the bereaved family
Charles, a year-old, Berlin, Germany-based “conversational-commerce” SaaS startup serving businesses that want to sell on WhatsApp and other chat apps, has raised €6.4 million ($7.6 million) in seed funding co-led by Accel and HV Capital. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Charles takes a new approach to selling giving SMBs without the resources to invest in digital storefronts to leverage existing low-touch chat interfaces to sell their goods.
Mercato, a six-year-old, New York-based online marketplace for independent grocery stores, has raised $26 million in Series A funding led by Velvet Sea Ventures, with participation from Team Europe, the investing arm of Lukasz Gadowski, co-founder of Delivery Hero. Seed investors Greycroft and also returned for the new round. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Mercato is helping vulnerable independent grocery stores better reach their customers and compete in a digital-first world against the larger players.
Formation, a nearly two-year-old, Bay Area-based remote software engineering fellowship program, has raised $4 million in seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Other participants in the round include Designer Fund, Combine, Lachy Groom, Slow Ventures and engineers from Airbnb, Notion, Rippling and others. [TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Formation’s fellowship program enables traditionally underrepresented group in tech to gain access to education that leads directly to high quality tech jobs.
Hatch, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based digital bank focused on small and mid-size businesses (founder Thomson Nguyen sold his last company to Square), has raised $20 million in funding from investors like Kleiner Perkins, Foundation Capital, Silicon Valley Bank and Plaid founders William Hockey and Zack Perret. [TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: Hatch is focused on reducing the burden of traditional banks on small and medium businesses by providing fairer terms and helping these vulnerable small business owners gain leverage.
ElasticRun, a four-year-old, Pune, India-based company that helps secure inventory for the country’s many mom-and-pop stores and merchants operating these stores, and also invites them to hold and deliver inventory for e-commerce giants like Flipkart and Amazon, has raised $75 million in Series D funding. Earlier backers Avataar Ventures and Prosus Ventures co-led the round, joined by Kalaari Capital. The company has now raised $130.5 million altogether. [ TechCrunch Report]
- Doing Good: ElasticRun helps mom and pop stores without much disposable income to operate like a big box store and also provides new sources of revenue by allowing stores to support larger e-commerce giants in the process.
Welcome Tech, an 11-year-old, L.A.-based tech platform for immigrant families, has raised $35 million in Series B funding co-led by TTV Capital, Owl Ventures and SoftBank. Other participants in the round include Crosscut Ventures, Mubadala Capital, Next Play Capital and Owl Capital. The company has now raised $50 million altogether. [ Crunchbase News Report]
- Doing Good: Welcome Tech is building financial and educational tools for the underserved and highly vulnerable immigrant market to help them get up and running in a new country.
Kickfurther, a seven-year-old, Boulder, Co.-based crowdfunded inventory funding platform that provides working capital to small and medium-size product businesses in the U.S., just raised $5.9 million in seed funding led by Grand Oaks Capital.
- Doing Good: Kickfurther is providing a service traditionally unavailable to SMBs due to their size from traditional banks. The working capital enables growth, and further success.
InterviewIA, an 11-month-old, Denver, Co.-based platform that manages all aspects of the job-hiring workflow to ensure objectivity and inclusiveness, has raised $2 million in seed funding. The Colorado Impact Fund led the round, joined by FirstMile Ventures, Rockies Venture Club, Outbound Capital, Dasein Capital, Stout Street Capital, and Service Provider Capital.
- Doing Good: InterviewIA is focused specifically on solving the equitability challenge in hiring processes by making it more objective and thus inclusive to underrepresented groups.
- Mission: “We are bringing the technology, design and supply chain innovations that revolutionized Silicon Valley to the world of infrastructure and construction.”
- Jobs: https://careers.infra.market/
Thanks for reading! May the FOURteenTH be with you! Hope you enjoyed this late edition of the April Doing Well by Doing Good Newsletter. If you found any of this of interest, please share it with your friends and family. Share
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Originally published at https://dwdg.substack.com.