View profile

The DL - An inside view into Pacific Northwest Tech

Welcome to The DL, a weekly newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest.
December 9 · Issue #25 · 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 November’s PNW venture deals, a recap of AWS re:Invent, and a super cool AI-powered game to try out.

👋 Referred by a friend? Sign up here.

November 2019 PNW Venture Deals
Here are the PNW startups that announced new fundraising rounds in the month of November. These 24 companies raised ~$600M last month.

Series B and Later Rounds 🚀
  • Convoy - Digital freight network connecting shippers to carriers - $400M Series D led by Generation and T. Rowe Price
  • Viome - Personalized health and weight loss recommendations based on gut microbiome analysis - $36M Series B
  • Wrench - On-demand vehicle maintenance and repair services - $20M Series C led by Vulcan
  • Crowd Cow - Marketplace for high quality craft beef and meats from farms and ranches around the world - $16M financing round
  • CrowdStreet - Platform that gives individuals direct access to commercial real estate investment opportunities - $12M Series C

Series A Rounds 🛫
  • Group 14 Technologies - Novel Li-ion battery materials for electric vehicles - $18M Series A led by ATL, Showa Denko, and Cabot
  • Replenium - SaaS platform for automated replenishment, product subscription and predictive ordering - $13M Series A led by GLP
  • Ideoclick - Managed services firm that helps manufacturers set strategies for selling on Amazon - $12.6M Series A led by GLP
  • Two Hat Security - Risk-based chat filter and moderation software for online communities - $7.5M round led by Tam Holdings
  • Shield Compliance - Compliance platform for the legalized cannabis industry - $5M Series A led by Copia Investments

Seed Rounds 🌱
  • Phoenix Molecular Designs - Developer of precise cancer therapeutics for treating triple-negative breast cancer - $12M Seed
  • Alitheon - AI authentication that can distinguish any solid object from visually identical items using computer vision - $11.8M Seed
  • Rhapsody Vet - Practice management software for veterinary hospitals - $8M Seed
  • - Ops platform for teams to create and share workflow automations - $7.5M Seed led by Tiger Global and Slack Fund
  • Katalyst Fitness - Personalized electrical muscle stimulation training experiences - $5.6M Seed led by Octopus Ventures
  • Picnic - Robotic food assembly systems (starting with pizza) - $5M Seed led by Creative Ventures
  • Casca - Innovative footwear brand pairing high-performance materials with 3D printing - $3.5M Seed led by Khosla Ventures
  • Sanctuary Studios - Bookable, customizable private yoga studios with a life-size film wall - $3.1M Seed
  • MontyCloud - Platform to simplify management and governance of cloud infrastructure - $2.8M Seed led by Madrona
  • Fresh Chalk - Social platform for sharing recommendations about local businesses and professionals - $2M Seed
  • PDX Pharmaceuticals - Nanomaterials from the hybrid of organic and inorganic materials for the treatment of cancer - $1.5M Seed
  • Give InKind - Developer of a platform intended to support and connect with loved ones during times of crises or need - $1.46M Seed
  • Strivve - Fintech app to help cardholders instantly add or update cards online - $1.1M Seed
  • Mendi - CBD products for athletic recovery - $800K Seed

Some fun observations on this list:
  • Congrats to Convoy! Their $400M round overtook Vacasa’s $319M Series C to become the largest PNW venture round in the last decade
  • CrowdStreet had a cool story. They used their own platform to raise their $12M Series C, and it was 75%+ committed in less than a week
  • Replenium and Ideoclick were both founded by ex-Amazonians, they share an office, and both of their Series A rounds were led by GLP, an investment firm focused on logistics real estate
  • A LOT of seed deals (and a lot of seed deals >$5M)

AWS re:Invent 2019 Recap
The CEO of Goldman Sachs (who is actually a DJ) was the opener for the keynote
The CEO of Goldman Sachs (who is actually a DJ) was the opener for the keynote
Last week was re:Invent, AWS’s big customer and partner conference. I got a bunch of free socks from enterprise software companies, and AWS announced a ton of new products and services.

Here’s a good list of the new product announcements. Key takeaways…
  • There were a ton of announcements around databases, data management, analytics, and ML/AI services
  • AWS is also launching more ML apps (i.e., not just providing infrastructure or platform services), such as a call center app, a code review app, a fraud detection app, and a medical transcription app
  • ➡️ Moving beyond infrastructure, AWS wants to become the “data layer” for applications, and they are both building top-down apps to collect this data from customers, and building bottom-up services for customers to get value out of their existing data

  • AWS Outposts (announced last year) is now generally available, so customers can order an Outpost and use AWS services on-prem
  • AWS announced Local Zones, a new type of data center that places infrastructure closer to end users and “Wavelength Zones,” which use 5G networks to enable low-latency edge device compute and storage
  • ➡️ AWS is working to deliver its services everywhere, from its own data centers, to on-prem data centers, to local metro areas, and through the cellular networks

Overall, always interesting to see the rapid pace of innovation at AWS and to see what they are highlighting as key areas of investment.

Other stuff Dan's talking about
the ">" prompts are human input, and the rest of the story is written by AI
the ">" prompts are human input, and the rest of the story is written by AI
  • 🧙 The Difficult Life of a Wizard PhD Student - This is SUPER cool. Someone took OpenAI’s GPT-2 model and used it to build an “AI Dungeon” game with infinite text adventures. Read this user-generated Wizard PhD story here (it’s really good) and then try it yourself here
  • 😑 Portland facial recognition ban - Portland is planning to ban the use of facial recognition for both the government and private business. Of course Amazon is already working on hand recognition
  • 🍽️ Sad times for Seattle restaurants - Ethan Stowell closing three restaurants, Tom Douglas closing his three spots in Via6, and Matt Dillon closing Sitka & Spruce. Is the Seattle restaurant bubble ending?
  • ⚠️ Away expose - “Never work for your dream brand.” Big investigation on the toxic culture at Away, the suitcase startup. Plus, a follow-up on how employees are barred from discussing the article and a separate follow-up on how VCs and founders feel about the news
Please hit reply! (Or subscribe or forward!)
About me: I work as an investor at Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based venture capital firm that has been early partners with companies like Amazon, Smartsheet, Apptio, and Redfin.

If you have thoughts, questions, or comments, hit reply!

👋 Referred by a friend? Sign up here.
Did you enjoy this issue?
If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Seattle, WA