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Meet 20 (small) companies looking to save the future of ESG

October 26, 2021, 2:26 PM UTC

Small things can make a big difference.

While the adage is usually wielded in the context of changing habits for the better, it also applies here to Fortune’s annual Impact 20 list. Our annual Change the World list points to the giants of industry doing good with their dollars. By contrast, the Impact 20 points to relatively smaller venture-capital and private-equity-backed companies looking to improve lives as part of their business model—turning ESG and sustainability from buzzy terms into simple parts of everyday operations.

While smaller, these businesses are looking to tackle outsized issues at a time when the COVID-19 crisis has served to aggravate inequalities around the world, and as problems including climate change and food insecurity seem on the constant verge of ending Life As We Know It. 

The Mom Project, backed by investors such as Leeds Illuminate, wants to bring more women into the workforce after the pandemic took an outsized number out of corporate America compared to their male counterparts. 

Valued at about $11 billion, electric vehicle battery-cell maker Northvolt aims to make the process of making the cars themselves more green, while French second-hand electronics startup Back Market hopes that you’ll buy fewer iPhones in your lifetime. 

With about 500 employees, Apeel makes an edible coating aimed at preserving fruits and vegetables longer—thereby diminishing food waste. Chile-based Alagramo meanwhile is tackling the problem of the so-called poverty tax. Here too is employee coaching and wellness startup, BetterUp.

The list goes on.

We may not ever get back to Life As We Know It. In fact, it’s already gone. But here’s one to optimism—to hoping that these companies and others will aim as true as possible when it comes to a Life as It Can Be.

Read the full Impact 20 here.

NOT A JOKE: To my dismay (and to the great gain of his new employer), my colleague, Robert Hackett, announced plans to depart journalism for no other than Andreessen Horowitz on Monday. Having co-founded Fortune’s crypto-focused Ledger franchise, it’s a natural jump to his soon-to-be new role as the lead for content and editorial for the investing giant’s crypto fund. Needless to say, I’m sad to see him go but excited to see what he does there.

His move though isn’t happening in a vacuum. Another journalist, the Protocol Senior Reporter Megan Rose Dickey, also announced plans to take up a new hat as chief content officer at Backstage Capital on the same day. This also comes after Eniac Ventures hired Anthony Ha from TechCrunch as vice president of content earlier this year and a16z hired Maggie Leung from NerdWallet in January to also focus on content

While venture capital firms looking to go direct with their content is not exactly new (one example being Josh Constantine, who joined SignalFire in 2020 from TechCrunch as head of content), it does feel true that more and more firms are looking to build in-house content chops in this moment of heavy expansion for venture capital. Which means we may see more exits from journalism in favor of the VC industry to come.

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

Jessica Mathews compiled the IPO and SPAC sections of this newsletter.

VENTURE DEALS

- Medable, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based clinical research company, raised $304 million in Series D funding. Blackstone Growth and Tiger Global led the round and were joined by investors including GSR Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, and WTI.

- Devo Technology, a Cambridge, Mass.-based data logging and security analytics company, raised $250 million in Series E funding valuing it at $1.5 billion. TCV led the round and was joined by investors including General Atlantic, Eurazeo, Bessemer Venture Partners, Insight Partners, Georgian, and Kibo Ventures.

- Fabric, a New York City-based micro-fulfillment company, raised $200 million in Series C funding. Temasek led the round and was joined by investors including Koch Disruptive Technologies, Union Tech Ventures, Harel Insurance & Finance, Pontifax Global Food, and Agriculture Technology Fund (Pontifax AgTech).

- Augury, a New York City-based A.I.-driven health tech company, raised $180 million valuing it at over $1 billion. Baker Hughes led the round and was joined by investors including SE Ventures and the corporate venture arm of Schneider Electric.

- DNA Script, a Paris-based DNA printing and synthesis company, raised $165 million in Series C funding. Coatue Management and Catalio Capital Management led the round.

- GrubMarket, a San Francisco-based food technology company, raised $145 million in Series E funding Investors included BlackRock, Liberty Street Funds, Japan Post Capital, Walleye Capital, Celtic House Asia Partners, INP Capital, Pegasus Tech Ventures, RIVC, and Gaingels. The deal values it at $1 billion.

- CoinList, a San Francisco-based crypto listing company, raised $100 million in Series A funding, valuing it at $1.5 billion. Accomplice VC and Agman Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Alphemy Capital, Continue Capital, CMT Digital, DFG Capital Management, Fenbushi Capital, HashKey Capital, executives from GoldenTree Asset Management, Rising Tide Capital, Imperii Partners, and Metaplanet

- Cambrian Biopharma, a New York City-based biotech focused on longevity, raised $100 million. Anthos Capital and SALT Fund led the round and were joined by investors including Apeiron Investment Group, Future Ventures, and Moore Capital.

- Omie, a Brazilian small-to-medium-sized business management software maker, raised funding from Tencent as part of an extension to an August R$580 million ($104 million) round of funding.

- Pipefy, a San Francisco-based workflow management software maker, raised $75 million in Series C funding. SoftBank Latin American Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Steadfast Capital Management, Insight Partners, and Redpoint eventures.
- Maxwell, a Denver-based mortgage software maker, raised $52.5 million in additional funding. Fin VC led the round and was joined by investors including Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, Prudence, Rotor Capital, and TTV Capital.

- Coterie Insurance, a Cincinnati-based insurtech, raised $50 million in Series B funding. Weatherford Capital led the round and was joined by investors including RPM Ventures, Intact Ventures, Group 1001, and Alpha Edison.

- Sonrai Security, a New York City-based cloud security company, raised $50 million in Series C funding. ISTARI led the round and was joined by investors including Menlo Ventures, Polaris Partners, TenEleven Ventures, and New Brunswick Innovation Fund

- Stride, a San Francisco-based worker benefits startup, raised $47 million in Series C funding. King River Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Mastercard, Allstate, Venrock, NEA, and Fidelity’s F-Prime Capital.

- Bespoke Post, a New York City-based e-commerce retailer, raised $40 million in Series B funding. NewSpring led the round.

- BackBox, a software automation startup, raised $32 million in Series A funding. Elsewhere Partners led the round.

- Y42, a Berlin-based company data platform, raised $31 million in Series A funding. Atomico

led the round and was joined by investors including Insight Partners, La Famiglia, and Data Community Fund. 

- Yokoy, a Switzerland-based spend management software maker, raised $26 million in Series A funding. Left Lane Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Balderton Capital.  

- Selfbook, a New York City-based maker of hotel payment software, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Tiger Global Management led the round and was joined by investors including Lachy Groom, Valia Ventures, and Fin Venture Capital.

- Admix, a gaming monetization company, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Investors included Elefund, Force Over Mass, DIP Capital, Notion Capital, Speedinvest, Rocket Capital, Colopl Next, Sure Valley Ventures, and Sidedoor Ventures.

- Sana, an Austin-based provider of health insurance for small and midsize businesses, raised $20 million in Series A extension funding. Investors include Gigafund, American Family Ventures, Breyer Capital, JAM Fund, and Harmon Brothers Ad Ventures.

- YieldX, a Miami-based fixed income fintech, raised $18 million in Series A funding. Envestnet led the round. 

- Anomaly, a New York City-based payments platform using A.I. and focused on healthcare, raised $17 million in Series A and seed funding. The Series A was led by RRE Ventures.

- SimBioSys, a Chicago-based simulation company focused on healthcare, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Genoa Ventures and Northpond Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including AV8 Ventures, Heritage Medical Group, and Mayo Clinic. 

- Autochek, a Nigerian automotive tech company, raised $13.1 million in seed funding. TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures led the round.

- Countable, a San Francisco-based brand engagement startup, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Canaan Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Ulysses Capital, Global Catalyst Partners, Seed to A, Gokul Rajaramm, and Fernbrook Capital Management.

- Testlio, a software testing company, raised $12 million in Series B funding. Spring Lake Equity Partners led the round.

- Unique Network, a London-based NFT chain for Polkadot and Kusama, raised $11.3 million. Outlier Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including The LAO, Flamingo, and Nalu Capital.

- Gencove, a New York City-based genome sequencing company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Lewis & Clark AgriFood led the round.

- Brave Health, a Miami-based virtual-first behavioral health company, raised $10 million in Series B funding. City Light Capital, Union Square Ventures, and Able Partners led the round.

- Mercê do Bairro, a Brazilian marketplace for entrepreneurs, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Flourish and GFC led the round and was joined by investors including MAYA Capital, SV Latam, Quartz, Picus, Domo, Alexia Ventures, and Prana.

- Piiano, an Israel-based data privacy engineering company, raised $9 million in seed funding. YL Ventures led the round.

- Influ2, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based advertising tech company, raised $8 million. Rally Ventures led the round.

- OnChain Studios, a Miami-based NFT studio, raised $7.5 million in seed funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round and was joined by investors including Draper & Associates, CoinFund, Sound Ventures, Dapper Labs, Collab + Currency, and WndrCo.

- Sipher, a Vietnam-based gaming studio focused on blockchain, raised $6.8 million in seed funding. Arrington Capital, Hashed, and Konvoy Ventures led the round.

- Coefficient, a Mountain View, Calif.-based no-code spreadsheet company, raised $6.7 million in seed funding. Foundation Capital led the round and was joined by investors including S28 Capital.

- Rally Commerce, a Portland, Or.-based one-click checkout company, raised $6 million in seed funding. Investors included Felix Capital, Rainfall Ventures, Long Journey Ventures, Afore Ventures, and Commerce Ventures.

- Cyabra, an Israel-based social media analytics company, raised $5.6 million in Series A funding. OurCrowd led the round and was joined by investors including Founders Fund, Harpoon Ventures, Alabaster, Accomplice, Brian Norgard (former CPO of Tinder), Red Shepherd Ventures, Will Graylin (former GM of Samsung Pay), Summus Z, TAU Ventures, and Capital Y Management.

- Immunefi, a Singapore-based bug bounty and security services platform for DeFi, raised $5.5 million in funding. Blueprint Forest, Electric Capital, Framework Ventures, Bitscale Capital, P2P Capital, IDEO Colab, The LAO, BR Capital, 3rd Prime Ventures, and North Island Ventures led the round.

- Pop Market is a Greek quick-delivery startup, raised $3.5 million in seed funding, per TechCrunch. Global Founders Capital and 468 Capital led the round.

- Torpago, a San Francisco-based spend management company, raised $2 million in seed funding. Operate led the round and was joined by investors including Index Ventures, Clear Haven Capital Management, former Summit Partners Managing Partner Walter Kortschak.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Hellman & Friedman and EQT paired up after a bidding war, offering to acquire Zooplus, a German petcare company, for $4.3 billion.

- BV Investment Partners invested in Ubiquity, a New York City-based business process outsourcer, in a deal valuing it at $325 million.

- Beringer Capital acquired a majority stake in Benzinga, a Detroit-based financial media site, valuing it at $300 million. 

- Great Hill Partners invested in Clearwave, a digital patient engagement software company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- CORE Industrial Partners formed a new additive manufacturing company by merging 3DXTECH, Triton 3D, and Gearbox3D. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Golden Gate Capital recapitalized All My Sons Moving & Storage, a Carrollton, Texas-based moving and storage service. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Loenbro, backed by Tailwind Capital, acquired Switch Electric, a Phoenix-based electrical contractor. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Marucci Sports, backed by Compass Diversified, acquired Lizard Skins, a maker of sports grip products, protective equipment, bags and apparel. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- MSI Express,  backed by HCI Equity Partners, acquired PacMoore Products’ contract manufacturing operations located in Hammond, Indiana. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- nThrive, backed by Clearlake Capital Group, agreed to acquire TransUnion Healthcare, the healthcare data and analytics business of TransUnion (NYSE: TRU). Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- OceanSound Partners invested in Digital Management Holdings, a digital transformation company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Pamlico Capital invested in Avant, an IT decision-making company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sonobi, backed by Cohere Capital, acquired Amply, a Kansas City, Mo.-based provider of push notification tech. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Orolia, backed by Eurazeo, agreed to acquire Seven Solutions, a Spain-based maker of sub-nanosecond time transfer and synchronization tech. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Periscope Equity invested in Praecipio Consulting, an Austin-based IT services and business process management consulting firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXIT

- Husqvarna Group will acquire Orbit Irrigation, a Salt Lake City-based watering equipment maker, for $480 million. Platinum Equity was the seller.

- IK Investment Partners will acquire CONET, a German digital transformation consultancy, from H.I.G. Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Verisk (Nasdaq:VRSK) will acquire ACTINEO, a German digitization and medical assessment company focused on bodily injury claims, from The Riverside Company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Norwest Equity Partners acquired Coretelligent, a Westwood, Mass.-based provider of IT, cybersecurity, and cloud services, from VSS Capital Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Wellspring Capital Management acquired Caring Brands International, a Sunrise, Fla.-based franchisor of home health care services. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Levine Leichtman Capital Partners was the seller.

OTHERS

- Cameo agreed to acquire Represent, a Los Angeles-based company for celebrities and brands set up individualized online storefronts, from CustomInk. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

IPO

- Sweetgreen, a Los Angeles-based salad company, filed for an IPO. The company posted $221 million in revenue in the 12 months ending Dec. 27 and reported a net loss of $141 million. Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, Revolution Growth, D1 Capital, Anchorage Capital Group, and Lone Pine Capital back the firm.

- Delimobil Holding, a Russian car sharing company based in Luxembourg, plans to raise up to $240 million in an offering of 20 million ADSs priced between $10 and $12 per ADS. The company posted $90 million in revenue in 2020 and a loss of $6 million. Mikro Kapital, D-Mobility Worldwide, and VTB Capital back the firm.

- Solo Brands, a Southlake, Texas-based outdoor gear and apparel company, plans to raise up to $219 million in an offering of 12.9 million shares priced between $14 and $17 per share. The company posted $133 million in net sales in 2020 and a net loss of $24 million. Summit Partners backs the firm.

- TC Biopharm, a Scottish immunotherapy product development company, plans to raise up to $56 million in an offering of 6.3 million shares priced between $7 and $9 per share. Renaissance Capital Partners, MEDINET, Scottish Enterprise, and NIPRO Corporation back the firm.- Iris Energy Limited, an Australian Bitcoin mining company, filed for an IPO in the U.S. The company posted $8.1 million in total revenue in the 12 months ending June 30 and a total comprehensive loss of $58 million.

F+FS

- World Fund, a climate tech-focused investor, launched a €350 million fund.

- Marcy Venture Partners, focused on consumer and impact investments, raised $325 million for its second fund.

- Asymmetric Capital Partners, a venture capital firm helmed by Rob Biederman, co-founder of Catalant Technologies, raised $105 million for its first fund.

PEOPLE

- Unusual Ventures added Wei Lien Dang as a general partner.

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