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The Week’s 10 Biggest Funding Rounds: Another Inflection Point For AI? Investors Pour More Money Into The Space

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This is a weekly feature that runs down the week’s top 10 announced funding rounds in the U.S. Check out last week’s biggest funding rounds here.

Once again, the week can be summed up in two words we’ve heard all year — artificial intelligence. Investors went crazy again — led mainly by large corporations or their VC arms — dumping big sums of cash into everything AI. That included a huge round of more than $1 billion.

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With all the big money thrown around the space, the only real question left is: When will AI start to write this weekly column?

1. Inflection AI, $1.3B, artificial intelligence: The big news of the week was undoubtedly this Palo Alto, California-based startup. Inflection AI is building what it says will be the “largest AI cluster in the world” and has created large language models to allow people to interact with its AI-powered assistant called Pi, or Personal AI. Pi lets people quickly receive relevant information and advice on their interests. To build the platform, the startup locked up a huge $1.3 billion round led by Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt and new investor Nvidia, which values Inflection AI at $4 billion, according to Forbes, which first reported the news. The new funding brings the total raised by Inflection to more than $1.5 billion, per the company. Founded last year, the generative AI platform is a competitor to other AI firms such as OpenAI and Google. It was co-founded by Mustafa Suleyman, who previously co-founded the Google-owned AI lab DeepMind and serves as CEO at Inflection.

2. Runway, $141M, artificial intelligence: New York-based Runway made this list not that long ago after Business Insider reported on this unannounced round. It finally was announced, with Runway raising  a $141 million extension to its December $50 million Series C from Google, Nvidia, Salesforce Ventures 1 and existing investors, among others. At the time of the original report, the new cash valued the company at $1.5 billion. Runway helped develop the AI image generator Stable Diffusion, and launched its video-to-video generative AI app in April. The app lets users transform videos into different styles, such as claymation or watercolors. Founded in 2018, the company has raised nearly $240 million, per Crunchbase.

3. Author Health, $115M, health care: Health care has been big in recent weeks, and this week a big round went to a newly launched mental health startup. Author Health locked up a $115 million round from General Atlantic and Flare Capital Partners. The Boston-based health care platform creates a team of doctors, nurses, therapists and community health workers for Medicare Advantage recipients with serious mental health disorders. Data from The Commonwealth Fund shows 1 in 4 people with Medicare have a mental illness, but only as much as 50% receive treatment. Author Health is the latest startup to look at government health programs as a revenue stream. EasyHealth, Cityblock Health, CareBridge and Spark Advisors are other startups that have done similar.

4. (tied) Celestial AI, $100M, semiconductors: It seems like photonic chips — which use light to send signals as opposed to the electricity used by conventional processors — is becoming a thing with investors. In late May, Boston-based Lightmatter raised $154 million in the space and this week Celestial AI joined it in cashing in. The Santa Clara, California-based startup raised a $100 million Series B funding led by IAG Capital Partners, Koch Disruptive Technologies and Temasek’s Xora Innovation fund. Such tech is needed now more than ever with AI requiring both faster and more energy-efficient computing. Founded in 2020, the company has raised nearly $164 million, per Crunchbase.

4. (tied) Cyera, $100M, cybersecurity: Data may be king, keeping track of it and securing it can be a pain. Enter data security startup Cyera — which locked up a $100 million Series B led by Accel. Cyera offers a platform that helps security teams at companies understand what data they have and how it’s used, as well as how to secure it. Such platforms can be useful as security teams struggle with growing amounts of data while also often facing staffing issues. Since closing its Series A last March, the company says it has realized 800% revenue growth. Founded in 2020, Cyera has now raised $164.5 million across three rounds, per Crunchbase. The round comes amidst a funding slowdown in cyber — which  has seen a significant dip since the fourth quarter of 2021, per Crunchbase data. The sector saw four consecutive quarters of decline before hitting $2.7 billion in the first quarter of this year — a slight uptick from the $2.4 billion in the final quarter of 2022. However, that first-quarter number represented a 58% drop from the $6.5 billion such startups saw in the same quarter of 2022.

4. (tied) Redpanda Data, $100M, data: Streaming data startup Redpanda Data raised a $100 million Series C led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Google Ventures and Haystack. The San Francisco-based startup provides real-time streaming data services, helped by — you guessed it — artificial intelligence and machine learning. Companies are able to analyze data as soon as it’s collected. The platform works by being both a data storage system and a data streaming system in which companies can integrate their own data into the machine-learning system to bolster responses. The company says it multiplied its revenue growth 5x over and doubled its workforce through its last fiscal year. Founded in 2019, the company has raised nearly $166 million, per Crunchbase data.

4. (tied) Typeface, $100M, artificial intelligence: Yet another AI startup makes the list. San Francisco-based generative AI startup Typeface — which launched in February with a $65 million raise — raised a $100 million Series B led by Salesforce Ventures with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Madrona, GV, Menlo Ventures and M12 (Microsoft’s venture fund). The company’s AI platform helps with enterprise content creation such as product shots, blog posts, social media ads and job posts that meet brand specifications.

8. Augmedics, $83M, health care: Chicago-based Augmedics, a developer of  augmented reality surgical navigation, closed a $82.5 million Series D led by CPMG. Founded in 2014, the company has raised nearly $144 million, per Crunchbase.

9. Presidio Medical, $72M, medical devices: South San Francisco, California-based Presidio Medical, which develops a transformational neuromodulation platform, closed a $72 million Series C led by Deerfield Management. Founded in 2017, the company has raised $102 million, per Crunchbase.

10. (tied) Fly.io, $70M, apps: Chicago-based Fly.io, a remote app delivery network developer, raised a $70 million Series C led by EQT Ventures. Founded in 2017, the company has now raised more than $110 million, per Crunchbase.

10. (tied) K36 Therapeutics, $70M, biotech: Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech startup K36 Therapeutics closed a $70 million Series B led by Nextech Invest. Founded in 2021, this is the first announced round by the company, per Crunchbase.

Big global deals

Inflection’s big round led the way in all deals raised this week, but was followed by two deals from China.

Methodology

We tracked the largest announced rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies for the seven-day period of June 24 to June 30. Although most announced rounds are represented in the database, there could be a small time lag as some rounds are reported late in the week.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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