View profile

The DL - An inside view into Pacific Northwest Tech

Revue
 
Welcome to The DL, a weekly newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest.
 
January 6 · Issue #29 · View online
The DL
Welcome to The DL, a weekly newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest.

This week’s issue covers December’s PNW venture deals, how to waste $40K on a brilliant startup idea, a recap of the best articles about the PNW startup ecosystem, and a comparison of investing in startups vs. Microsoft.

👋 Referred by a friend? Sign up here.

December 2019 PNW Venture Deals
Here are the PNW startups that announced new fundraising rounds in the month of December. These 22 companies raised $320M+ last month.

Series B and Later Rounds 🚀
  • Highspot - Sales enablement platform with content management, sales guidance, and buyer engagement - $75M Series D-1
  • General Fusion - Developer of fusion power generation systems - $65M Series E led by Temasek
  • Seeq - Advanced analytics for process manufacturing data - $24.2M round
  • Thoughtexchange - Employee, customer, and community crowdsourcing platform - $20M Series B led by Information Venture Partners
  • AbSci - All-in-one protein expression platform for ultra-high yield, streamlined protein production - $10.4M Series D
  • D-Wave - Developer of quantum computing technologies - $10M round led by NEC Corporation

Series A Rounds 🛫
  • Brains Bioceutical - Manufacturer of plant-based CBD - $30M round
  • RareCyte - End-to-end integrated platform for single cell analysis - $22M round led by HealthQuest Capital
  • HaptX - Provider of realistic haptic technology for virtual reality - $12M Series A led by Mason Avenue Investments
  • Boulder Care - Digital treatment program that supports long-term recovery from opioid use - $10.5M round led by Tusk Ventures
  • LegalPad - Service pairing software with human support for work visas for startups - $10.2M round
  • The Renewal Workshop - Provider of circular solutions for apparel brands - $8.6M Series A

Seed Rounds 🌱
  • One More Game - Seattle game development studio - $5.7M Seed
  • iFlipd - Weekly textbook and game rentals for college students - $4.4M Seed led by Portland Seed Fund
  • Riipen - Career readiness platform for students and young professionals - $3.75M round
  • Taqtile - Augmented reality for industrial applications on headsets and mobile devices - $3M Seed led by Broadmark Capital
  • Spiral - Analytics platform for customer feedback - $2.4M Seed
  • Trainiac - Online personal training with real trainers - $2.2M Seed led by Curious
  • Volt - Personalized training plans that adapt to user feedback - $2.1M Seed
  • Shipium - Software for faster, more accurate delivery for online retailers - $2M Seed led by PSL Ventures
  • Growthplug - Healthcare practice platform to acquire new patients and automate front desk operations - $1M Seed led by Elevate Capital
  • Falkon AI - System of intelligence to define, understand, and improve metrics that matter - Seed led by Greylock and Trilogy

Some fun observations on this list:
  • Highspot just raised $60M in June, and six months later they’ve raised another $75M! Geekwire explains how that happens here
  • Fun to close out the 2010s with two VR/AR companies and a quantum computing company. We’ll see what happens to these two trends over the next decade
  • Almost all of the SaaS companies have something to do with healthcare, analytics, or automation

Read this before starting a startup
Screenshot of GlacierMD
Screenshot of GlacierMD
One of last week’s top links on Hacker News was a post called I wasted $40k on a fantastic startup idea. It’s about one developer’s hard-earned lessons (nine months of work and $40K of savings) on how to validate a Brilliant Startup Idea.

It’s definitely worth learning from other people’s (expensive) mistakes, so if you have a startup idea, this is a great reference on how to evaluate whether something is a great business or just a great product. In case you don’t want to read the full thing, my favorite takeaway was this quote:
[Startups] can’t just create value for the user: that’s a charity. You also can’t just create value for your company: that’s a scam. Your goal is to set up some kind of positive-sum exchange, where everyone benefits, including you.

Why the PNW startup market is 🔥🔥🔥
To kick off 2020, I wanted to recap some of the best articles on what’s going on in the Seattle and Pacific Northwest tech and startup ecosystems:
  • Big tech and big checks: Seattle startups claim VC funding record (Pitchbook)
  • A big year for Pacific Northwest startups: Unicorn births, key exits, and others waiting in the wings (Geekwire)
  • One in five new tech jobs is based in Seattle (The DL)
  • Amazon has become America’s CEO factory (WSJ)
  • In the shadow of Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle startups are having a moment (Techcrunch)
  • Analysis: Seattle startup ecosystem poised for unprecedented acceleration of company creation (AI2/Geekwire)

Key themes across these articles:
  • 💰 Record levels of capital invested into the PNW ecosystem
  • 🌱 Deep pipeline of companies at all stages
  • 👩‍💻 Lots of very well-trained talent
  • 🥰 More and more groups to support founders
Other stuff Dan's talking about
Intro to The Man Who Solved the Market
Intro to The Man Who Solved the Market
👨‍🏫 The Man Who Solved The Market - How crazy are those stats? $100B+ total profit, $7B annual profit, and only 300 employees. This book covers the history of Renaissance Technologies and its founder, Jim Simons. Not the best writing, but the story is pretty incredible
⚔️ Unicorns vs. Microsoft - Someone compared the return of investing in all unicorns vs. Microsoft over the last five years. Spoiler alert: Microsoft wins. Why invest in risky startups when you can just buy MSFT shares?
🏡 The Hype House - Twenty of the biggest TikTok stars just moved in together, and the NYT describes what it’s like. To get in, “you either have to be talented at something, or a weird funny mix, or extremely good looking.”
🍌 BANANA! - Not the Art Basel banana but just as good. Please turn on your sound and watch this 30 second video

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