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A crypto company goes up against Ethereum

June 9, 2021, 2:20 PM UTC

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The last year has brought forth a surge of interest in cryptocurrencies across the board, including in Ethereum, the second largest coin by market capitalization.

While Bitcoin has settled into its identity as digital gold—an asset typically held because others make you nervous—Ethereum is perhaps better known as a platform that allows users to build decentralized applications on top. In part because users need to hold Ether to run transactions on those apps, the cryptocurrency itself has reached a market cap of about $294.9 billion as of Wednesday morning. More importantly, Ethereum has the honor of being among the handful of cryptocurrencies that have reached into popular culture: The trading cats game that boomed in 2017, CryptoKitties, was built on the crypto network.

In 2021, a competitor is getting quite a bit of funding to go up against Ethereum. Solana Labs, a San Francisco-based blockchain company, raised $314.15 million (a nod to the mathematical ratio known as pi) in a token sale led by Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital.

Ethereum has struggled to keep up with its own popularity at times, with transactions slowing down or coming with higher costs amid the boom in digital collectibles earlier this year. Solana’s main sell? That it is faster and is more energy friendly than Ethereum. If Solana can get past the bottleneck Ethereum has faced, it could lead to greater adoption of blockchain in general, with the Wall Street Journal noting that its transaction speed could set it up to compete with Visa.

While Ethereum has handled about 20 transactions per second, Solana says it can handle more than 50,000. Visa meanwhile handles about 65,000, per the Journal.

Of course, I must borrow one of the wider crypto community’s cries of comfort when the value of varying coins sink, which is: We’re in the early innings. Ethereum’s market cap still vastly exceeds that of Solana’s (about $11 billion, according to CoinMarketCap). And while Solana has been dubbed an “Ethereum killer” by some, Olaf Carlson-Wee, managing partner at Polychain Capital, says he sees it as “a compliment to Ethereum.”

One thing is for certain: The crypto companies looking to knock down Bitcoin and Ethereum’s crowns will keep coming.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: 
@shenlucinda
Email: 
lucinda.shen@fortune.com

VENTURE DEALS

- Monogram Health, a Nashville-based benefit management and care delivery company focused on chronic kidney and end-stage renal disease, raised $160 million in Series B funding. TPG Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Frist Cressey Ventures, Humana and Norwest Venture Partners..

- Verbit, a New York City-based transcription and captioning platform, raised $157 million in Series D funding, valuing it at over $1 billion. Sapphire Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Third Point, More Capital, Omer Cygler, Azura, ICON fund, Stripes, Vertex Ventures, HV Capital, Oryzn Capital, Viola Ventures, and ClalTech.

- LetsGetChecked, a New York City-based virtual care company, raised $150 million in Series D funding at a valuation above $1 billion. Casdin Capital led the round and was joined by investors including CommonFund Capital, Illumina Ventures, Optum Ventures, Transformation Capital, HLM Venture Partners, Qiming Venture Partners USA, and professional golfer Rory Mcllroy.

- Morning Consult, a Washington D.C.-based data analysis and polling company, raised $60 million in Series B funding valuing it at $1 billion. Advance Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Susquehanna Growth Equity and Lupa Systems.

- Kojin Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biopharmaceutical company focused on cell state and ferroptosis biology, raised $60 million in Series A funding. Polaris Partners, Newpath Partners, and Cathay Health led the round and was joined by investors including Leaps by Bayer, Abbvie, Eventide Asset Management, Alexandria, and Binney Street Capital.

- Contentstack, a San Francisco-based content management platform, raised $57.5 million in Series B funding. Insight Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Illuminate Ventures, GingerBread Capital, and Georgian.

- Lenus, a Denmark-based maker of a coaching platform for health and fitness professionals, raised €50 million ($60 million) in Series A funding from EQT Ventures.

- MaintainX, a San Francisco-based maker of software for industrial and frontline workers, raised $39 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Amity Ventures, Vulcan Capital, August Capital, Ridge Ventures, and OldSlip Group.

- Overhaul, an Austin-based supply-chain visibility and security software company, raised $35 million in Series B funding. Macquarie Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Edison Partners and Avanta Ventures.

- Gideon Brothers, a Croatia-based robotics and A.I. company, raised $31 million in Series A funding. Koch Disruptive Technologies led the round and was joined by investors including DB Schenker, Prologis Ventures, and Rite-Hite.

- Terraformation, a forest restoration company, raised $30 million in funding. Sam & Max Altman at Apollo Projects led the round and were joined by investors including Sundeep Ahuja, Lachy Groom, Sahil Lavingia, Joe Lonsdale, Susan Wu, and OVN Cap.

- Dispo, the disposable camera app maker, raised $20 million in Series A funding, per a source with knowledge of the matter. The Series A round comes following controversy around its founder, YouTuber David Dobrik. Investors included Annie Leibovitz and Kevin Durant.

- Liteboxer, a Boston, Mass.-based at-home fitness company, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Investors included Nimble Ventures, B. Riley Venture Capital, Raptor Group, Will Ventures, and musical artist Timbaland.

- Hawthorne Effect, a San Francisco-based platform for decentralizing clinical trials, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Northpond Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including SignalFire and P5 Health Ventures.

- Stoke, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based freelancer management software maker, raised $15.5 million in Series A funding. Battery Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including TLV Partners, Dynamic and Loop.

- Blooma, a San Diego, Calif.-based underwriting platform for commercial real estate, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Canapi Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Nyca Partners

- Superb, a Denmark-based management software maker for restaurants, raised €12 million ($14.6 million) in Series A funding. Kinnevik led the round and was joined by investors including Knight Capital and Seed Capital.

- Kafene, a New York City-based buy-now-pay-later startup focused on consumers with subprime credit scores, raised $14 million in Series A funding. Global Founders Capital and Third Prime Ventures co-led the round and were joined by investors including Valar, Company.co, Hermann Capital, Gaingels, Republic Labs, Uncorrelated Ventures and FJ labs.

- EvoEndo, a Denver-based company developing medical devices for unsedated transnasal endoscopy, raised $10.1 million from investors including TLP Investment Partners.

- Rise Science, a Chicago-based maker of an app to track sleep, raised $15.5 million in funding. That included $10 million in Series A funding led by Goodwater Capital and a $5.5 million seed round with participation from Freestyle Capital, High Alpha, and True Ventures.

- Tracer, a New York City-based data intelligence platform, raised $9.9 million in seed funding. Investors included Marc Lore and Thirty Five Ventures.

- Now, an Atlanta-based company for immediate invoice payments, raised $9.5 million. Virgo Investment Group led the round and was joined by investors including Cresset Capital Partners (not affiliated with Cresset Capital Management). 

- Hummingbot, a Mountain View, Calif.-based crypto trading software provider, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Initialized Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Slow Ventures, Arrington XRP Capital, Borderless Capital, Ava Labs, and AscendEX. 

- Lifted, a U.K.-based home-care startup, raised $6.2 million in Series A funding. Fuel Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including 1818 Venture Capital, Novit Ventures, Perivoli Innovations, and the J.B. Ugland family office.

- Commit, a Canada-based maker of a professional network for startup engineers, raised $6 million in seed funding. Accomplice led the round.

- Extracker, a San Francisco-based communication platform for the commercial construction industry, raised $5.3 million in Series A funding from Jackson Square Ventures.

- Poised, a San Francisco-based speaking coach company using A.I., raised $4.5 million in seed funding. Wing Venture Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Next Play Ventures, Slack Fund, Hyphen Capital, and Concrete Rose Capital. 

- DUOS, a New York-based digital health company with a personal assistant for aging, raised $6 million from investors including Redesign Health and Forerunner Ventures.
- Guest House, a Denver-based home staging company , raised $3 million in seed funding. Range Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Ludlow Ventures, 87 Capital, Rucker Park Capital, V1 Ventures, and Break Trail Ventures.

- Compose.ai, a San Francisco-based maker of a predictive text plug-in, raised $2.1 million in seed funding. Craft Ventures led the round.

- BuyerAssist, a San Francisco-based platform for enterprise sales, raised $2 million in seed funding. Stellaris Venture Partners and Emergent Ventures led the round.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- A long-term fund being raised by EQT acquired Anticimex, a Swedish pest control company, from EQT VI fund. The deal, which values the company at about $7.2 billion, also boosted the stakes owned by Melker Schörling and GIC.

- Contango Oil & Gas (NYSE: NFC) will merge with Independence Energy, an oil and gas company backed by KKR. The deal will value the companies at $5.7 billion.

- Insight Partners invested $110 million in Brinqa, an Austin-based cybersecurity company.

- Accelerant, backed by Altamont Capital Partners, acquired Agribusiness Risk Underwriters, a Winston-Salem, N.C-based provider of poultry farm insurance underwriting. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Apollo Global agreed to buy a majority interest in Total Operations and Production Services, a Midland, Texas-based gas equipment company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Beacon Mobility, a portfolio company of Audax Private Equity, acquired Transit Team, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based paratransit transportation services company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- The Carlyle Group took a majority stake in 1E, a U.K.-based IT analytics company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.                                                                                                                                           - GAC Media, backed by Hicks Equity Partners, acquired the Great American Country Network, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based cable television network, from Discovery. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Granite Creek Capital Partners and Canterbury Ventures acquired Diamond Blade Warehouse, a Vernon Hills, Ill.-based diamond saw blade and tool company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Innovations in Nutrition + Wellness acquired Capstone Nutrition, an Ogden, Ut.-based developer and manufacturer of nutrition and wellness products, from Brightstar Capital Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- InRule Technology, backed by OpenGate Capital, acquired Chicago-based simMachines, a Chicago-based machine learning software platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Periscope Equity invested in MAS, a Londonderry, N.H.-based medical staffing agency. Financial terms weren't disclosed.m.

- Valterra Partners and fifteenfortyseven Critical Systems Realty acquired ColoHouse, a Miami-based cloud and managed services provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXITS

- Bain Capital Private Equity and Crosspoint Capital Partners agreed to acquire ExtraHop, a Seattle-based threat detection and response company for about $900 million. 

OTHERS

- Ciox Health, backed by New Mountain Capital, will merge with Datavant, a San Francisco-based healthcare tech company. A deal values the business at $7 billion including debt. 

- Sinch agreed to acquire SMB mobile messaging company MessageMedia, an Australia-based business messaging company, for $1.1 billion.

- Gemini acquired Shard X, a cryptographic tech company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

IPOS

- Aramis, a French second-hand car company backed by Stellantis, is seeking an IPO that would value it at €2.3 billion ($2.8 billion).

- About You, a German e-commerce company, plans to raise as much as €941 million ($1.1 billion) in a Frankfurt IPO.

- Made.com, a U.K.-based furniture retailer, plans to raise as much as 286 million pounds ($405 million) in a London IPO, per Bloomberg.

- AMTD Digital, the Hong Kong-based fintech unit spinning out of AMTD, now plans to raise $120 million in an offering of 16 million ADSs priced between $6.80 to $8.20. 

- Atour Lifestyle Holdings, a Chinese hotel chain, filed to raise $100 million in an initial public offering. Trip.com backs the firm.

- Torrid Holdings, a City of Industry, Calif.-based retailer spun out of Hot Topic, filed to raise $100 million. It withdrew previous IPO plans in 2019. Sycamore backs the firm.

SPACS

- Vista Global Holding, a Dubai-based business aviation provider, is in talks to merge with a SPAC, per Bloomberg. A deal could value it at $10 billion.

- PropertyGuru, a Singapore-based real estate firm, is in talks to merge with Bridgetown 2 Holdings,  a SPAC by Richard Li and Peter Thiel, per Bloomberg.

- Foresight Acquisition II, a Chicago-based blank check company backed by former Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson, filed to raise up to $250 million. It is targeting consumer healthcare businesses.

F+FS

- Shamrock Capital, a Los Angeles-based investor, closed Shamrock Capital Growth Fund V with $1 billion to focus on buyouts and later-stage growth equity investments in media, entertainment, and communications. 

- RET Ventures, a Park City, Ut.-based venture capital firm focused on real estate tech, raised $165 million for its second fund.

- Version One, a Vancouver-based venture capital firm, raised $70 million for its fourth fund and $30 million for its second opportunities fund. 

- BlockTower Capital, a crypto hedge fund, acquired rival hedge fund Gamma Point Capital for $35 million.

PEOPLE

- Hanover Partners, a San Francisco private equity firm, named Vineet Varma as a partner. He was previously at Alvarez & Marsal Capital.

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