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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.
March 2 · Issue #37 · 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 February’s PNW venture deals, YC’s guide to raising a Series A, stats on Seattle tech compensation, and an analysis of whether or not you should buy the dip.

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February 2020 PNW Venture Deals
Here are the PNW startups that announced new fundraising rounds in the month of February. These 29 companies raised ~$325M last month!

Series B and Later Rounds 🚀
  • Semios - Agricultural data platform with real-time insights into weather, pests, disease, frost, and irrigation - $75M round led by Morningside
  • PayRange - Mobile payment technology for laundry, vending, and amusement machines - $70M round
  • Inpria - EUV photolithography resist materials for the semiconductor industry - $31M Series C led by JSR Micro
  • Rad Power Bikes - Electric bicycles sold directly to customers at radical prices - $25M round led by Vulcan and Durable Capital
  • Polyverse - Cyber-security platform leveraging moving-target defense technologies - $8M round
  • Cardiac Insight - Advanced, body worn ECG sensing technology - $8M Series D
  • Peach - Lunch-delivery service partnering with restaurants to deliver food to working professionals - $5M Series 2
  • Acuva - UV LED water-purification system designed to offer safe and hygienic drinking water- $5.4M round

Series A Rounds 🛫
  • Transparent Systems - Open platform for secure, frictionless payments using distributed cryptographic systems - $14M Series A led by Pantera
  • Fatigue Science - Sleep and fatigue risk management software for heavy industry, military, and elite sports - $10.85M Series A from Rhino Ventures and Sea Purity
  • Kaskada - End-to-end feature engineering and feature serving platform for data scientists - $8M Series A led by Walnut Street Capital
  • Esper - Platform for Android device deployment and application management - $7.6M Series A led by Madrona
  • PocketPills - Online pharmacy that ships meds in “Pocket Packs” to make them easier to manage - CAD7.35M Series A led by WaterBridge

Seed Rounds 🌱
  • Docugami - Document technology using AI to help businesses create and manage documents - $10M Seed led by SignalFire
  • Selkirk Pharma - Aseptic manufacturing services of injectable drugs - $9M Seed
  • PharmID - System to verify the medication and concentration in products within seconds - $5M Seed
  • Househappy - Concierge services for home projects and home maintenance - $3.1M Seed
  • FreightWeb - Easy, reliable, and affordable shipping based on freight, rather than full truckloads - $3M Seed led by Madrona and 8VC
  • Oisin Biotechnologies - Senolytic therapy technology intended to eliminate senescent cells from the body - $3M round
  • AVM Biotechnology - Stem cell tech designed to offer treatment in the form of regenerative medicine for oncology purposes - $2.6M round
  • Source - Platform to help construction professionals find samples, pricing, and documents - $2.5M round
  • Supercast - Podcast analytics and monetization platform - $2M Seed
  • LumaTax - Tax management platform for sales tax compliance for small businesses - $2M round from KPMG, Vulcan, and Cowboy Ventures
  • The Wild - Immersive collaboration platform for designers to create spatial designs in VR and AR - $1.5M round from Portland Seed Fund
  • PypeServer - Software tool for pipe spool design and fabrication - $1.5M Seed
  • n2uitive - Insurance claims interview and recorded statement management platform - $1.3M Seed led by Cascade Seed Fund
  • Cuboh - Software to bring online delivery services into one system and integrate with restaurant POS systems - $1.2M Seed
  • Boost - Basketball scouting and recruiting platform - $1M Seed
  • Joe Coffee - Mobile, order ahead network for indie coffee shops - $1M Seed led by Gravity Payments and Flying Fish

Some observations on this list:
  • Almost 2x the number of investment dollars from January. Deal pace is picking back up!
  • Awesome variety of seed stage companies (and seed stage investors) in vertical AI, vertical SaaS, life sciences, marketplaces, podcasting, AR/VR, insurance automation, consumer, etc.
  • Lots of Canadian companies on the list this month from Semios at the later stage, to Fatigue Science and Pocket Pills at the Series A, to Supercast and Cuboh at the seed stage
  • ^ btw I’m going to be up in Vancouver next week (pending more coronavirus news). Let me know if you’d like to meet up!

How to raise money, according to the pros
How to get a meme-worthy valuation
How to get a meme-worthy valuation
Last week, YC published their guide to raising a Series A - great, practical advice combined with data from their companies. Some of the highlights:
  • It typically takes 30 meetings to find one potential investor
  • Most successful funding rounds are the result of building relationships with a select set of investors over a longer period of time
  • You should write your own investment memo to clearly articulate your story and pitch
  • When negotiating and choosing an investor, remember this fundraising process is the start of a long-term relationship
  • Benchmarks don’t matter, but here are Series A benchmarks anyway: B2B SaaS: $0.5-5M ARR, Marketplace: $5-60M+ GMV, Consumer: $3.5-10M run rate

🤑 <-- Seattle tech workers
55%+ higher pay than New York finance jobs!
55%+ higher pay than New York finance jobs!
There were a bunch of headlines last week on how the 125K “information workers” in King County make an average of $279K per year according to BLS data.
That’s $35B a year getting paid out to Seattle tech workers - which on the one hand is a lot of money, but on the other hand, it’s only one-third of the Vision Fund (imagine Softbank getting three years of work from EVERY single tech worker in Seattle)!

(Btw, in case you want to learn how compensation in tech compare to investment banking, consulting, medicine, and law, check out this comparison of salary trajectories across different high-earning careers)

Other stuff Dan's talking about
🎢 Buy the dip? - A historical analysis of whether it’s better to buy on dips, dollar cost average into the market, or both
🍚 One grain at a time - Ever wonder what it looks like if you count out Jeff Bezos’s fortune in rice where each grain of rice counts as $100K? Well, look no further! (Hint: It’s a lot of rice)
🎁 $100K perk - Cool perk: if you start a new company within 12 months of leaving Lattice, an HR SaaS startup, they will offer to invest $100K (that’s one whole grain of rice) in your company at pre-set terms
📞 Twilio’s board deck - Jeff Lawson (CEO of Twilio) shared his February 2010 board deck on Twitter, and it’s amazing to see 10 years of startup growth. Back then, Twilio had $68K of monthly sales with 1K accounts, and last year, they did $1.1B of revenue with 179K customers

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!

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