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In 2018, New York City faced a shortage of oat milk, a plant-based alternative to the usual stuff from cows that’s become popular in major cities. People were reportedly devastated as they were forced to consider regular milk for their coffee instead of the oat-based product, and sellers on Amazon took the chance to drive up the price tag. The entire situation was lambasted by Twitter pundits and media alike, with folks blaming hipsters and the Guardian quipping, “Can Brooklyn survive its oat-milk shortage?”
It was crazy. It was absurd. And it…was kind of onto something.
The traditional dairy industry is facing a reckoning as the rise of plant-based alternatives have cut into sales. The nation’s largest milk producer, Dean Foods, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, and one of the oldest producers, Borden Dairy Co., followed in May. Now the space is reshuffling, with Dairy Farmers of America acquiring Dean Foods for $433 million and private equity firms KKR and Capitol Peak Partners buying Borden.
And on Wednesday, Perfect Day, a food tech startup producing animal-free dairy proteins through fermentation, announced that it had expanded its Series C round to $300 million (!), with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s investment group Thematic Investing leading a $50 million tranche.
What makes Perfect Day especially interesting: The company isn’t seeking to find a plant-based alternative to dairy. It says its proteins are molecularly identical to those produced by cows, per my colleague, Beth Kowitt, leaving the same taste.
- VelosBio Inc., a San Diego-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical developing cancer therapies targeting receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1, raised $137 million in Series B funding. Matrix Capital Management and Surveyor Capital led the round.
- Kernel, a Los Angeles-based startup focused on neurosciences, raised $53 million in Series C funding. General Catalyst led the round and was joined by investors including Khosla Ventures, Eldridge, Manta Ray Ventures, and Tiny Blue Dot.
- Fisker, a Los Angeles-based maker of electric vehicles, raised $50 million in Series C funding. Moore Strategic Ventures led the round.
- Growers Edge Financial, Inc., a Johnston, Iowa-based agriculture data startup, raised $40 million in Series B funding. S2G Ventures, Cox Enterprises, and Skyline Global Partners led the round and were joined by investors including Bunge Ventures and Finistere Ventures,
- Kindbody, a New York-based fertility startup, raised $32 million in Series B funding. Perceptive Advisors led the round and was joined by investors including RRE, GV, Freemark Capital, Rock Springs Capital, Goodgrower, Claritas Capital, and NFP.
- LogDNA, a Mountainview, Calif.-based log management solution for DevOps teams, raised $25 million in Series C funding. Emergence Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Initialized Capital, Providence Equity and new investors TI Platform Management, Radianx Capital, Top Tier Capital, and Trend Forward Capital.
- Material Security, an email security startup,raised $22 million in funding. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz.
- Permutive, a New York and London-based publisher-focussed data management platform, raised $18.5 million in Series B funding. Octopus Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including EQT Ventures.
- Upward Farms, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based aquaponics operation firm, raised $15 million in funding. Investors included Prime Movers Lab.
- Yamo, a Zug, Switzerland-based foodtech startup, raised €10.1 million ($11.5 million) in Series A funding. Investors included Five Seasons Ventures, Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund, Ringier Digital Ventures, Müller Ventures, btov Partners, Polytech Ventures, BackBone Ventures and Fundament.
- Traplight, a Finnish mobile game studio, raised €8 million ($9.1 million) in funding. EQT Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Play Ventures, Initial Capital and Heartcore Capital.
- K4Connect, a Raleigh, N.C.-based company seeking to integrate technology for older adults, raised $7.7 million led by Forte Ventures.
- Nucleai, an Israeli start-up using artificial intelligence in oncology, raised $6.5 million. Debiopharm led the round and was joined by investors including Vertex Ventures and Grove Ventures.
- PQShield, a London-based cryptography startup, raised £5.5 million ($7 million) in seed funding. Kindred Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Crane Venture Partners, and Oxford Sciences Innovation.
- Radix DLT, a London-based decentralized finance startup, raised $4.1 million from LocalGlobe and TransferWise’s Taavet Hinrikus.
- Gradient Denervation Technologies, a Paris-based maker of a catheter-based technology to treat pulmonary hypertension, raised €3.5 million. Sofinnova Partners was the investor.
- MastOR, a French medical device company developing a surgical robot for laparoscopy assistance, raised €3 million in seed funding. Sofinnova Partners was the investor.
- Popshop Live, a Los Angeles-based live streaming shopping platform, raised $3 million in funding led by Floodgate and Abstract Ventures, who were joined by investors including Long Journey Ventures, Cyan and Scott Banister, Shrug Capital, Backend Capital and Halogen Ventures.
- Shadowbox, a Encinitas, Calif.-based developer of a no-code integration and automation platform, raised $1 million in seed funding. Blackbird Ventures led the round and was joined by Crowdsmart.IO.
- Silver Lake agreed to acquire Silae, a France-based payroll tech provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Arlington Capital Partners acquired J&J Worldwide Services, an Austin-based provider of maintenance and cleaning services to the federal government. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- GB Auto Service, a portfolio company of Greenbriar Equity Group, acquired Sun Devil Auto and Sun Auto Service, Phoenix-based automotive service facilities. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Sovos, backed by Hg, acquired Accordance, a U.K.-based international value-added tax consultancy and compliance firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Sonoma Brands acquired Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Co., a New York-based jerky maker. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Sagewind Capital invested in QuantiTech, a Huntsville, Ala.-based provider of engineering services to defense agencies. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Mercer Global Advisors, majority owned by Oak Hill Capital and Genstar Capital, acquired M.J. Smith and Associates, Inc., a Denver-based wealth management firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- ATTOM Data Solutions, backed by Lovell Minnick, acquired Home Junction Inc., a San Diego, Calif.-based real estate data technology company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Appfire, backed by Silversmith Capital Partners, acquired Beecom Products AG, a Zurich, Switzerland-based maker of an app in the Atlassian ecosystem. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Slack acquired Rimeto, a corporate directory startup. Rimeto’s investors included Bow Capital, Floodgate Fund and USVP.
- Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) agreed to invest $1 billion in equity and convertible debt in VillageMD, a provider of primary care services. The funding will primarily be used to open full-service doctor offices co-located at Walgreens stores.
- Ant Group, the fintech company backed by Alibaba, is planning an IPO in Hong Kong that could value it at over $200 billion, according to Reuters. Read more.
- Bazaarvoice acquired Curalate, a Philadelphia-based visual marketing platform. Firms including NEA and First Round Capital backed Curalate, per Pitchbook.
- CVC Capital Partners is weighing a potential IPO or sale of Elsan, its French medical chain per Bloomberg. A sale could reportedly fetch some €3 billion (about $3.4 billion). Read more.
- DCM, across-border VC firm with investments in US, China and Japan, raised $880 million through two funds. It raised $780 million for DCM IX and $100 million for its third A-fund dedicated to seed-stage investments.
- Navegar, a Manila-based private equity firm, raised $197million for Navegar II.
- Engineering Capital, raised $60 million for its third fund. Read more.
- Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a middle-market private equity, promoted Matthew Frankel and Michael Weinberg to managing partners. It also promoted Stephen Hogan and David Wolmer to executive officers of LLCP’s management company, and Micah Levin and Matthew Rich to senior managing directors.
- HKW, a middle-market private equity firm, named Daniel Kim as a partner. Kim was previously a partner at Bregal Sagemount.
- Flare Capital Partners, a healthcare technology venture capital firm, named Margaret (Gaby) Malone as a senior associate.