📅 May 2021 DWDG Digest #18

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Welcome to another dose of the DWDG monthly newsletter where we cover the latest from the month of May (and AAPI Heritage Month) in Doing Well and Doing Good startups and ecosystem.

A lot has happened in the last month! From the CDC changing guidelines for vaccinated individuals in the US to massive budget proposals, and an unfortunate flare-up in the Isreal-Gaza War.

While the world may be in a constant state of flux, we do our best to remember the things that are going well, and in this post we explore those companies that are contributing to that well-being.

DWDG News

DWDG Fundings

Climate & Sustainability

Solid Power, a 10-year-old, Louisville, Co.-based company that produces solid state batteries, meaning they don’t use the liquid electrolyte found in the conventional lithium-ion batteries that currently power most electric vehicles, has raised $130 million in funding led by Ford Motor Co. and BMW, with participation Volta Energy Technologies, the venture firm spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. [CNBC Report]

  • Doing Good: Solid Power’s technology is meant to replace traditional battery technologies and better stabilize volatile renewable energy sources.

Recurate, a year-old, Washington, D.C.-based “circular economy” startup that works with brands to make it easier for their customers to sell products previously bought from their online storefronts, has raised $3.25 million seed round led by Gradient Ventures.

  • Doing Good: Recurate focuses on providing brands an opportunity to resell used products reducing overall waste in the system.

Mainspring Energy, an 11-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based onsite power generation company, has raised $95 million in Series D funding led by Devonshire Investors. Other investors in the round included Princeville Capital, 40 North Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, and earlier backers Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, ClearSky, AEP, KCK, and Equinor. The company has now raised $228 million altogether. [ Axios Report]

  • Doing Good: Mainspring Energy builds more efficient and more resilient power generation software replacing dependence on less efficient sources from the power grid or less efficient back up sources (e.g. diesel generators).

Cortex, a seven-year-old, Nashville, Tn.-based analytics “decarbonization” software company that helps buildings figure out how to reduce their energy use, their energy spend, and their emissions, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by 4490 Ventures. Cortex has now raised $11 million altogether. [ Crunchbase News Report]

  • Doing Good: Cortex’s software as it expands its use will help reduce the total greenhouse gas emissions being produced by the buildings they serve.

Eat Just, the nearly 10-year-old, San Francisco-based maker of plant-based egg products (formerly known as Hampton Creek), has raised $170 million for its cell-based meat subsidiary, Good Meat. Investors in the round include UBS O’Connor, K3 Ventures and Graphene Ventures. [Food Business News Report]

  • Doing Good: Eat Just is aiming to replace less sustainable farming practices for egg products with plant based alternatives which can can reduce greenhouse gas emissions if successful

Inari, a five-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based plant breeding startup whose gene-edited seeds aim to enhance crop yield while requiring less fertilizer and water, has raised $208 million in Series D funding at a $1.2 billion valuation co-led by Flagship Pioneering (which founded the startup). Other investors in the round include G Squared, Alexandria Venture Investments, Investment Corp. of Dubai, Rivas Capital, Banque Pictet and Pavilion Capital. [ Bloomberg Report]

  • Doing Good: Inari’s products aim to transform the worldwide agriculture industry by increasing crop yield with a fixed input reducing overall emissions while meeting the needs of the ~7B people needing food worldwide.

Smol, a three-year-old, London-based company that makes sustainable home-care products like dissolvable laundry detergent capsules, has raised $34 million in Series B funding. Eight Roads led the round, joined by GV, Latitude and earlier investors Balderton Capital and Jam Jar. [ Tech.eu Report]

  • Doing Good: Smol is bridging the divide between sustainability and affordability by offering both expanding access to low carbon alternatives for home products.

Back Market, a six-year-old, New York- and Paris-based online marketplace dedicated exclusively to refurbished electronic devices, has raised $335 million in funding led by General Atlantic, with participation from Generation Investment Management and earlier backers Goldman Sachs Growth Equity, Aglaé Ventures, Eurazeo and daphni. [Reuters Report]

  • Doing Good: Mining of materials essential for electronics (silicon, lithium, and many rare earth metals) makes it quite unsustainable without a refurbished marketplace for such devices. Back Market is addressing this with their marketplace.

Cider, a nine-month-old, Beijing, China-based fashion brand that says it produces its clothing in controlled amounts to combat waste, has raised $22 million in Series A funding from Andreessen Horowitz and DST Global.

  • Doing Good: Cider’s brand is focused first on sustainability by reducing emissions within the supply chain preventing waste in the process.

Daring Foods, a three-year-old maker of plant-based chicken products founded by Scottish immigrants Ross Mackay and Eliott Kessas, has raised $40 million in Series B funding led by D1 Capital Partners, with participation from Palm Tree Crew, Drake and earlier backer Maveron. [Dot.LA Report]

  • Doing Good: Daring Foods is aiming to replace less sustainable practices for raising chicken with a plant-based alternative which can reduce carbon emissions by taking market share from those markets.

Cervest, a six-year-old, London-based climate risk platform that says it provides commercial and government entities access to current, historic, and predictive views about how combined risks such as droughts, temperature changes, and mass flooding can impact the assets they own, has raised $30 million in Series A funding. Draper Esprit led the round, joined by Astanor Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Future Positive Capital, Magnus Rausing and TIME Ventures. [Tech.eu Report]

  • Doing Good: Cervest’s platform enables customers to better protect assets and their constituents or customers from the increased threat of natural disasters from climate change.

WeaveGrid, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based developer of electrification software designed to connect electric vehicles to the grid and to do it in a way that makes it cheaper and safer for utilities to support their use, has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Coatue led the round, joined by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, The Westly Group and Grok Ventures.

  • Doing Good: WeaveGrid’s product enables a symbiotic relationship between electric vehicles and existing grids helping to reduce the energy needs of the grid with more efficient sharing of energy.

Aurora Solar, an eight-year-old, San Francisco-based solar panel installation startup, has raised $250 million in Series C funding led by Coatue, with participation from earlier backers Iconiq, Energize Ventures and Fifth Wall Ventures. [TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Aurora’s software expands access to solar panel installations to households and businesses previously unable to access it, thus reducing the dependence on high carbon footprint technology from the grid.

Boox, a year-old, Petaluma, Ca.-based startup at work on a platform for creating reusable shipping boxes, has raised $9.25 million in Series A funding. Valor Siren Ventures led the round, joined by Village Global and Kid VC. [Crunchbase New Report]

  • Doing Good: As shipping box use has exponentially increased, Boox is aiming to tackle this with reusable shipping boxes. By bringing this to the mainstream shipping services, this could drastically reduce the carbon footprint of shipping box production.

Bowery Farming, a seven-year-old, New York-based vertical farming company, has raised $300 million in Series C funding at a $2.3 billion valuation. Fidelity led the round, joined by Amplo, Gaingels and earlier investors GV, General Catalyst, GGV Capital, Temasek, and Groupe Artémis. (A sprinkling of celebs also joined the round, including Justin Timberlake.) [ TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Bowery is hoping to take back the urban sprawl by decreasing the need for increased transport and it’s associated carbon footprint) to urban centers for key food sources through their vertical farming approach.

Gridware, a year-old, Sacramento, Ca.-based startup focused on protecting electric grids from climate change (and a recently minted alum of the Y Combinator accelerator program), has raised $5.3 million in seed funding co-led by True Ventures and 50 Years. [TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Gridware is tackling the challenges we saw in Texas where climate related disasters are hurting electric grids and hopes to address this by reducing anomalies in the grid ideally creating efficiencies that reduce carbon emissions overall.

Vinted, a 13-year-old, Vilnius, Lithuania-based marketplace for second-hand clothes and home goods, has raised $303 million in new funding at a post-money valuation of $4.5 billion, which is way up from the $1 billion valuation the company was assigned during its last funding round in 2019. The new round was led by EQT Growth, with participation from earlier backers Accel, Burda Principal Investments, Insight Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Sprints Capital. The company has now raised at least $563.7 million in funding, per Crunchbase data. [ TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Vinted is enabling access to clothes and home goods previously unavailable due to prices via it’s marketplace and also is contributing to reducing carbon emissions from the production of these goods.

Healthcare

Alfie, a year-old, San Francisco-based startup that’s applying AI to IVF cycles to help determine which embryos will have the highest chance of success (it’s akin to another startup, Embryonics, that we covered earlier this year), has raised $9.5 million in seed funding. Lux Capital led the round. Other investors include Amplo, IA Ventures, Springbank Collective and numerous individual investors, including 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki. [ Business Insider Report]

  • Doing Good: Alfie’s technology is focused on making the In-vitro Fertilization process cheaper and thus more accessible to those women who could not previously afford it.

Vida Health, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based virtual chronic condition care platform, has raised $110 million in Series D funding led by General Atlantic, Centene and AXA Venture Partners; they were joined by eight other firms to bring the company’s total funding to date to roughly $188 million, according to Crunchbase. [MobiHealth News Report]

  • Doing Good: Vida Health is taking on the challenge of providing better care for a global segment of the market suffering from chronic conditions (many of which are life-threatening)

Groups Recover Together, a nearly seven-year-old, Burlington, Ma.-based care platform focused on opioid addiction treatment, has raised $60 million in Series C financing. Oak HC/FT led the round, joining earlier investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Transformation Capital, RRE Ventures, Optum Ventures and Kaiser Permanente Ventures. [HIT Consultant Report]

  • Doing Good: Groups Recover Together is targeting an incredibly huge problem and vulnerable population in opioid addicts by using group therapy interventions.

Brightside, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based mental health telemedicine platform that offers access to anxiety and depression care, has raised $24 million in Series A funding led by ACME Ventures, with participation from Triventures and earlier investors. [Business Insider Report]

  • Doing Good: Brightside is targeting those suffering from potentially life-threatening anxiety or depression and helping them get the help they need.

Eleanor Health, a two-year-old, Waltham, Ma.-based addiction and mental health services startup focused around outpatient services, has raised $20 million in Series B funding from Warburg Pincus and earlier investors Town Hall Ventures, Echo Health Ventures and Mosaic Health Solutions.

  • Doing Good: Eleanor Health’s platform is helping patients vulnerable to life threatening substance abuse and mental health issues cope and overcome.

Ooda Health, a four-year-old, San Francisco, CA-based intelligent healthcare insurance platform has been acquired for $425 millionby Cedar Health. [Fierce Healthcare Report]

  • Doing Good: Ooda Health provides a platform that enables those struggling with insurance bills to better manage their health insurance payments and make them bearable by building a more efficient system for payers, patients, and hospitals.

Finance

Graviti, a 1.5-year-old, Mexico City, Mexico-based buy-now-pay-later startup focused on home appliances, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Active Capital, Other backers in the round include Mucker Capital, Clocktower Technology Ventures, and entrepreneur Matt Brezina. [Crunchbase News Report]

  • Doing Good: Graviti helps those most in need buy the essential home appliances they need to live, and thereby expands access to those most vulnerable populations.

Lami Technologies, a three-year-old, Nairobi, Kenya-based digital insurance platform, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding led by Accion Venture Lab, a seed-stage investment firm that supports financial services targeted at underserved markets. Other participants in the round include AAIC, Consonance, P1 Ventures, Acuity Ventures, The Continent Venture Partners and Future Africa. [ TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Lami’s insurance platform provides access to insurance to protect the assets of underserved markets.

Blair, a two-year-old, Bay Area-based company creating income-share-agreements programs for schools, has raised $6.3 million in seed funding led by Tiger Global Management. Other investors include Rainfall and 468 Capital, along with numerous angel investors. The company, which passed through Y Combinator in 2019, previously raised $1.1 million in pre-seed funding. [TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Blair is helping to expand access to exclusive schools by enabling income share agreements (much like coding schools, etc) rather than super high entry costs. Doing Good: Spinwheel is tackling the challenge of helping those most in need to life their life without crippling student debt by making it more bearable.

Spinwheel, a two-year-old, Bay Area-based student loan debt payment-as-a-service, has raised $11 million in funding led by QED Investors, with participation from Core Innovation Capital, Fika Ventures and Firebolt Ventures. [Crunchbase News Report]

  • Doing Good: Spinwheel is tackling the challenge of helping those most in need to life their life without crippling student debt by making it more bearable.

BukuKas, a two-year-old, Indonesia-based startup focused on digitizing the country’s small businesses, has raised $50 million in Series B funding. The round included participation from Gokul Rajaram, the DoorDash executive, and Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder and chief executive officer of TransferWise. [TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: BukuKas is targeting small business who are typically vulnerable to larger incumbents and do not have the resources to digitize themselves

Telda, a month-old, Cairo, Egypt-based startup that aims to offer digital banking services to the two out of three individuals who are currently underbanked in the country, has raised $5 million in pre-seed funding led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Global Founders Capital and Class 5 Global. Telda was founded by Ahmed Sabbah and Youssef Sholqamy; Sabbah earlier cofounded Egypt’s ride-hailing company Swvl; Sholqamy was formerly a senior engineer with Uber’s infrastructure team. [ TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Telda is expanding financial access to the underbanked in Egypt allowing those without access the ability to access the basic needs.

DailyPay, a five-year-old, New York-based company whose software enables enterprises to provide on-demand pay to employees, has raised $175 million in Series D funding. Carrick Capital Partners led the round; the company says it also secured $325 million of credit capital from “various sources.”

  • Doing Good: DailyPay’s platform enables wage workers to better manage their incomes by adding stability to their typically unstable incomes providing them the basic needs.

ProducePay, a 6.5-year-old, L.A.-based startup that provides financing and analytics to farmers and other growers or fresh produce, has raised $43 million in Series C funding. G2VP co-led the round with International Finance Corp and IDB Invest. Other participants in the round include Anterra Capital, Coventure, Astanor Ventures, IGNIA, and Finistere.

  • Doing Good: ProducePay provides farmers the ability to finance their work along with analytics to facilitate their payments enabling previously unaccessible capital.

TaniHub Group, a five-year-old, Indonesian startup that helps farmers get better prices and more customers for their crops, has raised a $65.5 million Series B. The funding was led by MDI Ventures, the investment arm of Telkom Group, one of Indonesia’s largest telecoms, with participation from Add Ventures, BRI Ventures, Flourish Ventures, Tenaya Capital, UOB Venture Management, Vertex Ventures and earlier backers Intudo Ventures and Openspace Ventures. The company has now raised $94 million altogether. [ TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: TaniHub is targeting farmers in Indonesia a population vulnerable to being undercut by enabling them to increase customer volume and price points.

Secai Marche, a 2.5-year-old, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based agtech platform that helps farmers sell products into commercial channels, has raised $1.4 million from Rakuten Ventures and Beyond Next Ventures. [TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Secai Marche helps vulnerable farmers sell their products more effectively helping them make their living for their families.

Canvas, a 3.5-year-old, L.A.-based diversity-focused recruiting platform, has raised $20 million in funding led by investor Lachy Groom and Sequoia Capital, with participation from Four Rivers Capital. The company was formerly known as Jumpstart. [TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Canvas’ product aims to bridge the diversity gap in hiring helping traditionally underrepresented groups better be discovered.

Homeward, a three-year-old, Austin-based startup that aims to help people and their agents buy homes faster by giving them the money to buy them, then leasing them the homes until they can buy directly from Homeward, has raised $136 million in Series B funding. Norwest Venture Partners led the round at a valuation of just north of $800 million, says the company, which has raised $160 million altogether. Other participants in the round include Blackstone, Breyer Capital and earlier backers Adams Street, Javelin and LiveOak Venture Partners. The company separately raised $235 million in debt. [TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Homeward is expanding the market of home buying by allowing those without the immediate means to pay a down payment to acquire a home and pay if off via a lease.

Upsie, a six-year-old, St. Paul, Mn.-based platform for buying product warranties, raised $18.2 million led by True Ventures. The company has now raised $25 million altogether. [ TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Upsie is undercutting the middleman to make product warranties more affordable for a wider array of customers providing security to that population.

Fewcents, a year-old, Singapore-based fintech startup that enables publishers to take “micropayments” for individual pieces of content, announced today it has raised $1.6 million in seed funding co-led by M Venture Partners and Hustle Fund. [TechCrunch Report]

  • Doing Good: Fewcents enables publishers who’s business is particularly vulnerable to media technology to capitalize on micropayments on their pieces of content and thus make a stable living on it.

Cartwheel, a 1.5-year-old, L.A.-based startup that helps restaurants launch in-house delivery or upgrade their third-party delivery infrastructure, has raised $1 million in seed funding led by TenOneTen Ventures, with participation from Act One Ventures and Portillo’s Hot Dogs.

  • Doing Good: Cartwheel is helping struggling restaurant businesses to expand their reach with a digital storefront and improved delivery infrastructure helping them sustain their business and livelihoods.

DWDG Jobs

Serenade [Seed] — HQ: San Francisco, CA, USA

Gotham Greens [Series D] — HQ: Brooklyn, NY, USA

Benson Hill [Series D] — HQ: St. Louis, MO, USA

  • Mission: “Better means innovating in partnership with nature to create healthier food options that are more sustainably produced and help to mitigate climate change.”
  • Jobs: https://bensonhill.com/careers/

Thanks for reading and as always if you found any of this interesting or think a friend or family member might like this, feel free to forward this email or send them over to this URL: Share

Hope you don’t have a case of the Monday Scaries, but even if so I hope this post does reminds you of the good people are doing in business. Contrary to much of the news outlets, turns out there are a lot of companies dedicated to changing the world one step at a time.

If you know of any Doing Well by Doing Good companies you think we should highlight, reply to this email or tweet me @anandsampat or @dwdgsf.

Catch you on the flip side!

✌🏽Anand

Originally published at https://dwdg.substack.com.

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Anand Sampat

Anand Sampat

Builder. Thinker. Musician. Subscribe to my newsletter @ http://dwdg.substack.com @datmoAI (acq by @oneconcerninc)