Category Archives: nea

Unshackled Ventures has $20M to invest exclusively in immigrant founders

Unshackled Ventures isn’t like other venture capital funds. The firm invests in immigrant founders and helps them secure visas so they can ditch their corporate job and launch the startup of their dreams. Today, Unshackled is announcing its sophomore fund of $20 million, topping its debut effort by $15.5 million. “The point is to take the burden off of founders because they are not immigration experts, they are experts at building satellites or extracting protein from plants,” Unshackled founding partner Nitin Pachisia told TechCrunch. “These are people […]

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Mattress startup Casper valued at $1.1B with new funding

Direct-to-consumer mattress business Casper has secured a $100 million Series D investment from existing investors Target, NEA, IVP and Norwest Venture Partners. The fresh infusion of capital values Casper at $1.1 billion, Bloomberg first reported and Casper confirmed. “We are in the very early chapters of our growth story as demand for Casper products continues to expand across the globe,” Casper chief executive officer and co-founder Philip Krim said in a statement. “Today’s financing accelerates Casper’s vision to become the world’s largest end-to-end sleep company. Our growth […]

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Startups Weekly: A much-needed unicorn IPO update

As I’m sure everyone reading this knows, female-founded businesses receive just over 2 percent of venture capital on an annual basis. Most of those checks are written to early-stage startups. It’s extremely difficult for female founders to garner late-stage support, let alone cash $100 million checks. Maybe that’s finally changing. This week, not one but two female-founded and led companies, Glossier and Rent The Runway, raised nine-figure rounds and cemented their status as unicorn companies. According to PitchBook data from 2018, there are only about 15 unicorn […]

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Startups Weekly: What’s up with YC? Plus, mobility layoffs and Airbnb’s grand plans

Where to begin… Netflix darling Marie Kondo is hitting up Sand Hill Road in search of $40 million to fund an ecommerce platform, Y Combinator is giving $150,000 to a startup building a $380,000 flying motorcycle (because why not) and Jibo, the social robot, is calling it quits, speaking to owners directly of its imminent shutdown. It was a hectic week in unicorn land so, I’m just going to get right to the good stuff. Changes at Y Combinator Where to begin! Not only did the prolific […]

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Eargo raises $52M for virtually invisible, rechargeable hearing aids

Eargo wants to become the ultimate consumer hearing brand. The company’s small and virtually invisible direct-to-consumer hearing aids, which come in an AirPods-style chargeable case, are designed to help destigmatize hearing loss. One month after revealing its newest product — the Eargo Neo ($2,550), which can be customized remotely via the case’s Bluetooth connectivity — the startup has closed a $52 million Series D, bringing its total raised to date to $135 million. The latest round of capital comes from new investor Future Fund (Australia’s sovereign wealth […]

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It’s a new era for fertility tech

Women’s health has long been devoid of technological innovation, but when it comes to fertility options, that’s starting to change. Startups in the space are securing hundreds of millions in venture capital investment, a significant increase to the dearth of funding collected in previous years. Fertility entrepreneurs are focused on a growing market: couples are choosing to reproduce later in life, an increasing number of female breadwinners are able to make their own decisions about when and how to reproduce, and overall, around 10% of women in […]

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5 unicorns that will probably go public in 2019 (besides Uber and Lyft)

There’s been plenty of fanfare surrounding Uber and Lyft’s initial public offerings — slated for early 2019 — since the two companies filed confidential IPO paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in early December. On top of that, public and private investors have had plenty to say about Slack and Pinterest’s rumored 2019 IPOs but those aren’t the only “unicorn” exits we should expect to witness in the year ahead. Using its proprietary company rating algorithm, data provider CB Insights ranked five billion dollar companies most likely to […]

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Fintech startup Plaid raises $250M at a $2.65B valuation

In the five years since its product was showcased onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt New York’s hackathon, Plaid has emerged as one of the most critical contributors to financial technology’s evolution — and one of the most under the radar. That is, until now. The company is today announcing a $250 million Series C investment led by famed venture capitalist and the author of the Internet Trends report Mary Meeker, who will join its board of directors as part of the deal. The funds were raised at a […]

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Insurance startup Bright Health raises $200M at ~$950M valuation

A flurry of digital-first insurers are betting they can surpass industry incumbents with a little help from technology and a lot of help from venture capitalists. The latest to land a massive check is Bright Health, a Minneapolis-headquartered provider of affordable individual, family and Medicare Advantage healthcare plans in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, New York City, Ohio and Tennessee. The company, founded by the former chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Bob Sheehy; Kyle Rolfing, the former CEO of UnitedHealth-acquired Definity Health; and Tom Valdivia, another former Definity Health executive, has brought in a $200 million […]

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Alumni Ventures Group is the most active venture fund you’ve never heard of

Alumni Ventures Group’s (AVG) limited partners aren’t endowment or pension funds. Its typical LP is a heart surgeon in Des Moines, Iowa. The firm has both an unorthodox model of fundraising and dealmaking. Across 25 micro funds, AVG is raising and investing upwards of $200 million per year for and in tech startups. Tucked away in Boston, far from the limelight of Silicon Valley, few seem to be paying attention to AVG. There are a few reasons why, and those seem to be working to the firm’s advantage. Today, […]

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