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The DL - May 2020 PNW Venture Deals, Pike Pine Stories, Soonicorns, and AWS One-Liners

Welcome to The DL, a weekly newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest.
June 1 · Issue #50 · View online
The DL
Welcome to The DL, a weekly newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest.

This week’s issue reviews May 2020 PNW venture deals, stories on how Capitol Hill businesses are responding to the pandemic, what it takes to become a Soonicorn, and 163 AWS one-liners.

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May 2020 PNW Venture Deals
Here are the PNW startups that announced new fundraising rounds in the month of May. These 18 companies raised ~$340M last month!

Series B and Later Rounds 🚀
  • AbCellera - Single-cell platform for therapeutic antibody discovery - $105M Series B led by OrbiMed and DCVC
  • Nautilus Biotechnology - High-throughput, low-cost platform for proteome analysis - $76M Series B led by Vulcan
  • DefinedCrowd - Platform for sourcing, structuring, and enriching ML training data - $50M Series B
  • Knock - Front office platform for multifamily property management companies - $12M Series B led by Madrona
  • - Asynchronous virtual healthcare platform - $8.7M Series C led by B Capital, Seven Peaks, and Concord Health

Series A Rounds 🛫
  • Good Therapeutics - “Context-dependent” protein drugs that act only when and where they are needed - $22M Series A
  • ARTMS – Systems for local production of diagnostic imaging isotopes - $19M Series A led by Deerfield
  • Wyze - Smart home cameras and devices at affordable prices - $10M Series A1 led by Norwest
  • Syndio - Pay-equity analysis platform - $7.5M Series A led by Voyager and Emerson Collective
  • Coinme - Bitcoin ATM network - $5.5M Series A1 led by Pantera
  • Beta Hatch - Insect protein for animal feed - $3M Series A1

Seed Rounds 🌱
  • Ziva Dynamics - Virtual character simulation software - $7M Seed
  • React Mobile - Panic button apps and devices - $6.8M Seed
  • Skinny Dipped Almonds - Chocolate coated almonds - $5.8M Seed
  • Latchel - Rental property maintenance platform - $3.4M Seed
  • Tripgrid - Workspace to manage project travel - $1.9M Seed
  • Cloud Paper - Toilet paper made with ultra-soft bamboo - $1.6M Seed
  • MDMetrix - Healthcare analytics platform - $1.15M Seed
  • Stably – Asset-backed stablecoins on the blockchain - $1M round

M&A and IPOs 💥
  • Tune - SaaS platform for managing marketing partnerships - Acquired by Constellation Software
  • – next two are not Seattle companies, but were acquired by one –
  • Softomotive - RPA platform focused on desktop automation - Acquired by Microsoft
  • Metaswitch - Software for communications platform providers - Acquired by Microsoft

Thoughts and Observations 🧐
  • Two-thirds of investment dollars went towards life sciences companies
  • Only one company on this list was founded in 2019 or later. We’ll continue watching how the pandemic slows down the rate of new startup formation in the PNW
  • Expect to see more big tech acquisitions in the coming quarters as startups look for exits, and valuations come down

We need a "new normal"
President Obama on Twitter
President Obama on Twitter
Pike Pine Stories
Neumos had to lay off their entire staff (100+ people)
Neumos had to lay off their entire staff (100+ people)
This is a cool project. Over the next year, Bloomberg is following small businesses (and some larger ones, too) in Capitol Hill to track the impact of the COVID pandemic on businesses, neighborhoods, and people.

The intro video shows the owners of Linda’s, Neumos, and Porchlight Coffee talking about how they’ve already been impacted and the decisions they’ve been forced to make. I’m looking forward to hearing more of these stories.

What It Takes to Become a Soonicorn
Last week, Forbes published a list of the 25 “Next Billion Dollar Startups.” The methodology for these things is always kind of funny - they ask VCs to nominate the companies, so naturally it ends up being portfolio companies.

In any case, it’s interesting to see the overall trends and stats for which companies made the list. Here are some of my observations:
  • Average equity raised is $120M, and average 2019 revenue is $30M
  • 55% of the list is SaaS, 25% is consumer, 20% is other stuff
  • 11 of the 14 SaaS companies focus on horizontal software. Only 3 focus on verticals (shipping, healthcare, life sciences)
  • Both of the marketplaces are labor marketplaces
  • No hardware (only) companies

(Thanks to Elisa for plotting out the data!)

Other stuff Dan's talking about
Wade Foster (CEO of Zapier)
Wade Foster (CEO of Zapier)
💬 dude that would be awesome - Love this screenshot showing the first incarnation of a $50M ARR business idea. The article is great, too
⛰️ NW Innovation Ecosystem - Very thorough 63 page report on the PNW startup ecosystem with a directory of all the people and organizations that work with local startups
💻 AWS one-liners - Not jokes about AWS. One line descriptions of all 163 AWS services. I am going to have to go try this one out (timesharing radios and large antennas pointed at space)
🥋 Ninja Warrior for Squirrels - Great video from a YouTuber who set up a “Ninja Warrior” course for squirrels in his backyard

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! If you’re new, check out some of the DL’s top articles from the last few months:

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