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The DL - An inside view into Pacific Northwest Tech

September 9 · Issue #12 · View online
The DL
Welcome to The DL, a weekly newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest.
This week’s issue has a recap of August’s venture deals, a profile on Seattle’s stealthiest unicorn, and a video of me as the Hulk.
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August 2019 Venture Deals
$335M+ raised by these startups in August
$335M+ raised by these startups in August
Here’s a roundup of PNW startups that announced new fundraising rounds in the month of August.
Series B and Later Rounds 🚀
  • Flyhomes - tech-powered real estate brokerage - $21M Series B (plus $120M in debt) led by Canvas Ventures
  • Zenoti - booking platform for spas and salons - $20M Series C1 led by Steadview
  • Lumithera - photobiomodulation treatment device - $5M Series C
Series A Rounds 🛫
  • Chinook Therapeutics - drug discovery platform for kidney diseases - $65M Series A led by Versant
  • Mason - all in one mobile infrastructure solution - $25M Series A led by Coatue
  • Blokable - modular housing developer - $23M Series A led by Vulcan
  • Herbivore - online skincare brand offering non-toxic products - $15M Series A led by Silas Capital
  • Ally - OKR management software - $8M Series A led by Accel
  • Wibotic - wireless charging technology - $6M round led by SV Tech Ventures
  • ePact - emergency communication network - $4.5M Series A led by Yaletown
  • Livible - valet on-demand storage service - $3M convertible note
Seed Rounds 🌱
  • Remarkably - marketing analytics for property managers - $4.1M Seed led by Wildcat
  • SingleFile - automated compliance filing platform - $3.3M Seed led by Foundry Group
  • StormSensor - storm water monitoring platform - $3.2M Seed
  • Dumpling - software for grocery delivery franchises - $3M Seed led by Floodgate
  • Atomo Coffee - “molecular coffee” produced without coffee beans - $2.6M Seed led by Horizons Ventures
  • Glow - podcast monetization platform - $2.3M Seed led by Greycroft
  • Inspo Network - premium lifestyle content company - $2.2M Seed
A few very quick observations from me on this list:
  • Pretty standard mix of SaaS, tech-enabled services, and products last month
  • Series A rounds are getting big!
  • Cool to see two companies spin out of PSL and get funded in the same month
Survey says...
In case you missed it... this was a survey question from last week's DL
In case you missed it... this was a survey question from last week's DL
Last week, Sarah and I had a bet on which option would be most popular. I said B because people want variety, but on an upward trajectory. She said D because startup people like hockey sticks. Turns out we were both right!
Also thanks for answering the rest of the survey. I’ll be adding more content based on your feedback. Meanwhile, if you have a reader question, shoot me an email, so I can get an expert to answer it in a future issue.
Seattle's latest unicorn - 3 years to $3.5B!
Seattle startups are known for being understated relative to Bay Area companies, but Assurance must be one of the stealthiest startups ever. Last week, they were acquired by Prudential for $3.5B ($2.35B plus an earnout), and I don’t think TechCrunch even wrote about the acquisition.
So what do they do? They’re a direct to consumer insurance marketplace that allows people to buy life, health, Medicare, and auto insurance online or over the phone with live agents. They carry products from 20+ carriers and use data to match people up to the best products for them.
Here are a few reasons why it is an awesome story:
  • 👶 The company is only 3 years old
  • 💯 It’s the largest InsurTech strategic exit ever
  • 🔥 The company never raised any venture capital
Ok… so how do I do that, too? I think step 1 is put together this team:
  • Michael Rowell, the CEO, was the founder of another direct-to-consumer life insurance company that got acquired by Fidelity
  • Mike Paulus, the President, was the president of an investment analytics company and a partner at a16z focused on InsurTech
  • Allison Arzeno, the Chief Data Scientist, was the CEO of a wearables startup and an analytics consultant to Sequoia
  • John Lorge, the CMO, led EA’s global mobile user acquisition team
  • Check out the rest of the exec team bios here
Clearly, this was not just a group of people with a good idea. They had deep domain and functional expertise along with capital from a previous exit to go build this company. And now they’ve joined the PNW unicorn club! Congratulations!!
Other stuff I've been talking about
Super excited for my first IMDB credit 🎬
Super excited for my first IMDB credit 🎬
🤖 Deepfakes – They’re back (again)! This time, it’s a Chinese app called ZAO that drops you into movie scenes
🤑 $225M pitch deck – Interesting to see what Sonder presented to investors for their $225M Series D
🔥 Hottest startups – LinkedIn measures how often non-employees view a company’s page and what startups people from top companies leave to join to put together a list of hot startups. This year there were three Seattle companies on the list (Amperity, Convoy, and Outreach). And #1 on the list (Snowflake) is a Madrona company as well!
👯 Bitcoin Billionaires – I’ve been looking for a book about early crypto investors, and this one is great. It follows the Winklevii after the Facebook settlement and tells the story of how they started investing in bitcoin
Please hit reply!
One thing I heard in last week’s survey was people are interested in seeing “Ask a CEO” or “Ask a VC” reader questions. So send me some questions, and I’ll get you some answers!
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