Impact Investing Deal Report – June 21, 2017


Open-source language Julia’s creator Julia Computing snags $4.6 million, ride-hail services Grab’s $1.5 billion (in talks) and Ola’s $50 million were among this past week’s notable deal news, but perhaps not as big as news of Whole Foods’ acquisition by Amazon.

Freshly, a New York-based prepared meal delivery service, has raised $77 million in Series C funding. Co-founder and CEO Michael Wystrach has pitched the startup as a way to get healthy, on-demand meals. Based in New York, New York.

Goodera – a platform that connects companies with nonprofits, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding. Goodera’s platform allows companies and non-profit organisations complete visibility over the progress of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, as well as measure-impact assessment. Based in Bengaluru, India.

Julia Computing –  this week’s spotlight, the creator of open source programming language Julia, has raised $4.6 million. Julia is an emerging, modern open-source language for data science, machine learning and scientific computing, and which is now being used in areas like healthcare to model cancer genomes or like transportation to simulate self-driving cars and aviation safety. Julia combines the functionality, ease-of-use and syntax of other languages like R, Python, Matlab, SAS or Stata with the speed, capacity and performance of C, C++ or Java. Based in Bengaluru, India and Berkeley, California.

Grab – a ride-hail company focused on Southeast Asia, is in talks with Alibaba new $1.5 billion funding round. Based in Singapore.

Lingokids a language learning platform to teach young kids a second or third language, has raised $4 million in new VC funding. Based in Madrid, Spain.

Mobike – Chinese bike-sharing startup announced last week that it has raised $600 million in new funding led by Tencent ― on top of the $300 million that Mobike raised just a few months back. Based in Shanghai, China. [See the related post of bike-sharing provider Limebike in March]

Modacruz  a leading mobile, online and social marketplace of second hand women fashion items in Turkey, has raised $2 million in Series B funding. Based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Ola ride-hail and cab aggregator company reportedly has raised $50 million in new funding. Based in Bengaluru, India. Softbank, which also funded Grab this past week, led the raise and now has a 40% stake in the company.

Syntimmune  a biotech startup working on rare immune diseases, has raised $50 million in Series B funding. Syntimmune’s leaders believe their company has found a way to block the immune system’s attack on the body. Based in New York, New York.

Wonderschool – a new platform that aims to solve America’s expensive daycare quagmire by enabling qualified childcare providers to open in-home daycares and preschools, has raised $2 million in seed funding. Based in San Francisco, California.

Other relevant news

Travis Kalanick has resigned from Uber, the same week that Grab in SE Asia is poised to grab an additional $1.5 billion in funding from investors like Softbank.

Source: ValuePenguin.

At least one report says that Grab has a better ride-hailing experience, and is cheaper, than Uber in Asia.

The main reason is that Grab charges a lower base fare than Uber does. Consequently, Grab has consistently beat Uber in terms of download ranking, according to data collected from the Apple App Store.

Amazon is buying its “first customer” by buying Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion deal announced last Friday – and in a good analysis why by Ben Thompson of Stratechery.  In separate news, Amazon is also interested in workplace productivity software maker Slack.


Sources: Crunchbase, TechCrunch, SEC, New York Times