Posted on

Khosla Ventures seeks $1.1 billion for its latest fund

Khosla Ventures, the eponymous venture firm helmed by longtime Silicon Valley rainmaker, Vinod Khosla, is raising  $1.1 billion for its latest venture fund, according to documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing was first spotted by Ari Levy over at CNBC.

Khosla, whose investing career began at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (back when it was still called Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) is rightly famous for a number of bets on enterprise software companies and was a richly rewarded co-founder of Sun Microsystems before venturing into the world of venture capital.

Like his former partner, John Doerr, Khosla also went all-in on renewable energy and sustainability both at Kleiner Perkins and then later at his own fund, which he reportedly launched with several hundreds of millions of dollars from his personal fortune.

Over the years Khosla Ventures has placed bets and scored big wins across a wide range of industries including cybersecurity (with the over $1 billion acquisition of portfolio company Cylance), sustainability (with the Climate Corp. acquisition), and healthcare (through the public offering of Editas).

And the current portfolio should also have some big exits with a roster that includes: the unicorn lending company, Affirm; the nuclear fusion technology developer, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (maybe not a winner, but so so so cool); delivery company, DoorDash; the meat replacement maker, Impossible Foods; grocery delivery service, Instacart; security technology developer, Okta; the health insurance provider, Oscar; and the payment companies Square and Stripe .

That’s quite a string of unicorn (and would-be unicorn) investments. And it speaks to the breadth of the firm’s interests that run the gamut from healthcare to fintech to sustainability and the future of food.

Khosla will likely benefit from the surge of interest in investments that adhere to new environmental, social responsibility and corporate governance standards.

There are billions of dollars that are looking for a home that can invest along those criteria, and for the last 16 years or so, that’s exactly what Khosla Ventures has been doing.

Read More

Posted on

Impossible Foods nabs some Canadian fast food franchises as it expands in North America

After rolling out in some of Canada’s most high-falutin burger bistros, Impossible Foods is hitting Canada’s fast casual market with new menu items at national chains like White Spot and Triple O’s, Cactus Club Cafe and Burger Priest.

While none of those names mean anything to yours truly, they may mean something to our friendly readers to the North. However, I have heard of Qdoba, Wahlburgers and Red Robin. And Canadian customers can also pick up Impossible Foods -based menu items at those chains too.

Since its debut at Momofuku Nishi in New York in 2016, the Impossible Burger is now served in 30,000 restaurants across the U.S. and is available in 11,000 grocery stores across America.

The Silicon Valley manufacturer of meat substitutes expects that Canada, the company’s first market outside of Asia, may become its largest market — second only to the U.S.

Read More

Posted on

Edtech is the new SaaS

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

The whole crew was back, with Natasha Mascarenhas and Danny Crichton and myself chattering with Chris Gates behind the scenes making it all work. An extra shoutout to Natasha this week as we spent a lot of time talking about edtech, a category that she spearheads for us and has brought to the show. It’s a big deal!

We’re on YouTube now, don’t forget, and with that, let’s get into the news:

And with that, we are nearly at the weekend which is a long one thanks to a holiday, so expect Equity Monday to be, in fact, Equity Tuesday next week. Hugs and good vibes from the Equity Crew!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Read More

Posted on

Daily Crunch: Apple removes Fortnite from the App Store

Epic Games takes on Apple, Instagram fixes a security issue and Impossible Foods raises $200 million. This is your Daily Crunch for August 13, 2020.

The big story: Apple removes Fortnite from the App Store

The controversy over Apple’s App Store policies has expanded to include Epic Games and its hit title Fortnite. The company introduced a direct payment option for its in-game currency on mobile, leading Apple to remove the app for violating App Store rules.

“Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services,” Apple said.

Epic, meanwhile, said it’s taking legal action against Apple, and that the game’s removal is “yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100% monopoly over the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market.”

The tech giants

Bracing for election day, Facebook rolls out voting resources to US users — The hub will centralize election resources for U.S. users and ideally inoculate at least some of them against the platform’s ongoing misinformation epidemic.

Instagram wasn’t removing photos and direct messages from its servers — A security researcher was awarded a $6,000 bug bounty payout after he found Instagram retained photos and private direct messages on its servers long after he deleted them.

Slack and Atlassian strengthen their partnership with deeper integrations — At the core of these integrations is the ability to get rich unfurls of deep links to Atlassian products in Slack.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Impossible Foods gobbles up another $200 million — Since its launch the plant-based meat company has raised $1.5 billion from investors.

Omaze raises $30 million after expanding beyond celebrity campaigns — The Omaze model has shifted away from celebrity-centric campaigns to include fundraisers offering prizes like an Airstream Caravel or a trip to the Four Seasons resort in Bora Bora.

We’re exploring the future of SaaS at Disrupt this year — We’re bringing Canaan Partners’ Maha Ibrahim, Andreessen Horowitz’s David Ulevitch and Bessemer Venture Partners’ Mary D’Onofrio together to help explain how the landscape has changed.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

How to get what you want in a term sheet — Lior Zorea discusses the reality of term sheets.

Five success factors for behavioral health startups — Courtney Chow and Justin Da Rosa of Battery Ventures argue that behavioral health is particularly suited to benefit from the digitization trends COVID-19 has accelerated. CEO Mariam Naficy shares ‘the biggest surprise about entrepreneurship’ — Naficy got into the weeds with us on topics that founders don’t often discuss.

Everything else

Digital imaging pioneer Russell Kirsch dies at 91 — It’s hard to overstate the impact of his work, which led to the first digitally scanned photo and the creation of what we now think of as pixels.

AMC will offer 15-cent tickets when it reopens 100+ US theaters on August 20 — The theater juggernaut announced plans to reopen more than 100 theaters in the U.S. on August 20.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

Read More

Posted on

The Not Company, a maker of plant-based meat and dairy substitutes in Chile, will soon be worth $250M

The Not Company, Latin America’s leading contender in the plant-based meat and dairy substitute market, is about to close on an $85 million round of funding that would value it at $250 million, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.

The latest round of funding comes on the heels of a series of successes for the Santiago-based business. In the two years since NotCo launched on the global stage, the company has expanded beyond its mayonnaise product into milk, ice cream and hamburgers. Other products, including a chicken meat substitute, are also on the product roadmap, according to people familiar with the company.

NotCo is already selling several products in Chile, Argentina and Latin America’s largest market — Brazil — and has signed a blockbuster deal with Burger King to be the chain’s supplier of plant-based burgers. It’s in this Burger King deal that NotCo’s approach to protein formulation is paying dividends, sources said. The company is responsible for selling 48 sandwiches per store per day in the locations where it’s supplying its products, according to one person familiar with the data. That figure outperforms Impossible Foods per-store sales, the person said.

NotCo is also now selling its burgers in grocery stores in Argentina and Chile. And while the company is not break-even yet, sources said that by December 2021 it could be — or potentially even cash flow positive.

NotCo co-founders Karim Pichara, Matias Muchnick and Pablo Zamora. Image Credit: The Not Company

With the growth both in sales and its diversification into new products, it’s little wonder that investors have taken note.

Sources said that the consumer brand-focused private equity firm L Catterton Partners and the Biz Stone-backed Future Positive were likely investors in the new financing round for the company. Previous investors in NotCo include Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment firm of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos; the London-based CPG investment firm, The Craftory; IndieBio; and SOS Ventures.

Alternatives to animal products are a huge (and still growing) category for venture investors. Earlier this month Perfect Day closed on a second tranche of $160 million for that company’s latest round of financing, bringing that company’s total capital raised to $361.5 million, according to Crunchbase. Perfect Day then turned around and launched a consumer food business called the Urgent Company.

These recent rounds confirm our reporting in Extra Crunch about where investors are focusing their time as they try to create a more sustainable future for the food industry. Read more about the path they’re charting.

Meanwhile, large food chains continue to experiment with plant-based menu items and push even further afield into cell-based meat using cultures from animals. KFC recently announced that it would be expanding its experiment with Beyond Meat’s chicken substitute in the U.S. — and would also be experimenting with cultured meat in Moscow.

Behind all of this activity is an acknowledgement that consumer tastes are changing, interest in plant-based diets are growing, and animal agriculture is having profound effects on the world’s climate.

As the website ClimateNexus notes, animal agriculture is the second-largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels. It’s also a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss.

There are 70 billion animals raised annually for human consumption, which occupy one-third of the planet’s arable and habitable land surface, and consume 16% of the world’s freshwater supply. Reducing meat consumption in the world’s diet could have huge implications for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If Americans were to replace beef with plant-based substitutes, some studies suggest it would reduce emissions by 1,911 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Read More

Posted on

Massive Slowdown In 2020 VC Funding Hasn’t Happened … Yet

When crashes happen, inevitably the startup space gets hit, too. Funding slows, the IPO window closes and investors say no to bankrolling huge losses in the name of growth.
Now that stocks are officially in bear market territory, and measures to curb coronavirus have turned the biggest tech hubs into …

Read More

Posted on

Impossible Foods Continues Growth Trajectory With $500M Series F

Impossible Foods raised $500 million in a Series F round, bringing its total funding to nearly $1.3 billion.
Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily
Mirae Asset Global Investments, a new backer, led the round, according to a statement from the company. Existing investors, including Khosla Ventures and Temasek Holdings, also participated. The last …

Read More

Posted on

Impossible Foods confirms $500 million fundraising, has raised $1.3 billion in total

Impossible Foods, the privately held meat replacement challenger to publicly traded Beyond Meat, said it has raised roughly $500 million in its latest round of funding.
The new investment brings the company’s total haul to $1.3 billion since it was founded nearly nine years ago.
The new financing led by Mirae …

Read More

Posted on

$19.4B Invested In Agri-FoodTech In 2019 According To AgFunder

According to the latest AgFunder Agri-FoodTech Investing Report, $19.4 billion has been invested in AgriFood tech across 1,858 deals in 2019.  AgFunder, a food and agtech venture firm, publishes the annual report utilizing Crunchbase data to build its unique analysis. The report represents a wide swath of industries from innovative food, eGrocers and restaurants to farming, ag biotech, farm robotics and equipment, bioenergy and biomaterials.

The largest growth year over year in funding includes meat alternatives, indoor farming, robotic food delivery and cloud kitchens. Investment in startups operating what the report terms upstream–closer to the farmer and before  retail–increased 1.3 percent year over year, accelerating in the second half with the highest numbers for H2 on record. Alternative proteins (Impossible Foods raised $300 million, Motif FoodWorks, $90 million and Puris, $75 million) and vertical farming (AeroFarms raised $100 million, Infarm, $100 million and AppHarvest, $82 million) drove much of this. The whole sector showed 250 percent growth in the last five years.

Closer to retail and grouped as downstream in the report are eGrocers, restaurants, delivery and home cooking, which saw an overall decline of 7.6 percent year over year. The largest sector decline is food delivery by 56 percent year over year.

Agritech and foodtech experienced growth in investments in regions outside of Asia and North America. According to Louisa Burwood-Taylor head of media and research at AgFunder “Europe continued its trend for growth across VC industries posting a 94 percent increase in agri-foodtech funding, while Latin America had a breakout year, closing $1.4 billion in agri-foodtech funding across 40% more deals than in 2018; that’s more than the entire LatAm VC industry in 2017. Africa also more than doubled its funding in the space.”

Notable investors in the sector cited by the report include venture investor Sequoia, corporate investors Amazon and Microsoft, and late-stage private equity investors SoftBank, Temasek, KKR and T. Rowe Price.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Launched by General Catalyst alumni, the 15-person firm has invested in six businesses in the U.S. and Canada.

The San Francisco-based company has raised a total of $368 million since its 2007 founding by Ken Lin, according to Crunchbase data.

Europe’s ride-sharing startups diversify by adding food and grocery delivery, and scooter and bike rentals to help take them to the top of the…

Source: Crunchbase News

Posted on

Marcy Venture Partners, co-founded by Jay-Z, Raises $85M Fund

Marcy Venture Partners, the VC firm co-founded by Jay-Z, Jay Brown and Larry Marcus, raised $85 million for its first fund, according to a new filing.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

Marcy Venture Partners, which was founded last year and is based in San Francisco, focuses on consumer brands. Its name is a nod to Brooklyn’s Marcy Houses where Jay-Z grew up.

The firm has already made a number of deals. It’s invested in six companies so far, leading the rounds for three, according to Crunchbase. Its most recent investment was in electric mobility startup Wheels in October 2019, and the largest round it’s led so far was a $70 million round for singer Rihanna’s lingerie line Savage X Fenty. The firm’s first investment since it was founded in March 2019 was Hungry Marketplace’s $8 million Series A in April 2019.

It’s a quick pace of investing for the first seven months of a VC firm’s existence, but the co-founders are no strangers to the world of venture capital.

Jay Brown, who co-founded Roc Nation with Jay-Z and served as its CEO until late last year, has invested in companies like BeautyCon and Right Rice. Jay-Z, hip-hop’s first billionaire, is also known for backing high-profile companies like Uber and Impossible Foods. And Larry Marcus is a seasoned venture capitalist. He’s the director of Walden Venture Capital, which invested in companies like Pandora and SoundHound, and he backed companies like Netflix and BandPage as an angel investor, according to Walden VC’s website.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

Affirm co-founder Jeff Kaditz serves as the CEO of Q Bio, which offers members a comprehensive picture of their health and a web-based dashboard to…

A plant-based approach is really solid for optionality, but how do you create a situation where you’re not just adding an item to a menu?

The investment comes just seven months after OneTrust raised an also massive $200 million Series A at a $1.3 billion valuation.

Women and family health startup Maven raised $45 million in its Series C round, bringing its total funding to more than $87 million.

Source: Crunchbase News