Market Insights

Socially Distant Deals: Friday Dealbook for 3/20/2020

March 20, 2020

As the US adjusts to life working from home, some clear winners are emerging: telehealth demand has skyrocketed, and ghost kitchens are seeing newfound interest. Meanwhile, on the digital identity side of the house, the biometrics segments saw some wins, with Deepgram raising $12 million for its voice recognition platform and Oura raising $28 million for its wellness wearable. Akur8 closed off the week with €8 million ($8.56 million) round for insurtech.

Hoping all are healthy and socially distant in this uncertain time.

 

The Top Deals Covered by OWI this Week

 

Deepgram \ deepgram.com \ Founded in 2015

Provider of an AI-based speech-to-text search platform created to understand human speech. The company’s end-to-end deep learning speech recognition system searches for keywords in transcripts by both sound and text within audio and video files, used for transcribing calls, meetings, and voicemails for searchable notes, providing businesses with a fast, high accuracy speech-to-text on an easy-to-use API at affordable prices.

The company raised $12 million of Series A venture funding in a deal led by Wing Venture Capital on March 18, 2020. NVIDIA GPU Ventures, Compound, Y Combinator, and SAP.iO Foundry also participated in the round. The funds will be used for the development of the company’s platform.

 

Oura \ ouraring.com \ Founded in 2013

Developer of a wellness ring designed to help the wearer get more restful sleep and perform better. The company’s ring tracks sleep quality, stages, ECG level resting heart rate and variability as well as body temperature during the night through an intelligent data-driven plan by detecting changes in blood pulse volume, enabling users to improve their sleep, overall health and align to their natural circadian rhythm.

The company raised $28 million of Series B venture funding from Gradient Ventures, The Yard Ventures, Square and Forerunner Ventures on March 17, 2020. The company intends to use the funds to launch a campaign (both product and educational), to hire talent and prioritize research support with academic institutions.

 

Akur8 \ akur8-tech.com \ Founded in 2018

Developer of an AI-driven insurance pricing platform designed to provide AI-powered pricing automation and optimization for insurance carriers. The company’s platform integrates with leading-edge algorithms dedicated to insurance pricing that can immediately spot anomalies and discover new patterns using which models can be built 10 times faster than with traditional solutions, enabling insurance carriers to improve their profits and win market share with pricing models created and updated in hours instead of months.

The company raised EUR 8 million of Series A venture funding from BlackFin Capital Partners and MTech Capital on March 12, 2020. The funding raised will be used to accelerate its international expansion throughout Europe and the US.

 

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Investor Highlight

 

The Yard Ventures \ theyardventures.com \ Founded in 2016

Founded in 2016, The Yard Ventures is a community of Harvard alums: investors, executives, entrepreneurs, and innovation enthusiasts pooling money together into a venture fund to invest in Harvard entrepreneurs. The firm is based in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Active Portfolio – 50

Investments (TTM) – 12

Med. Round Amount – $16.00M 

Med. Valuation – $55.00M

Exits – 8

 

Deal History

In the past year, The Yard Ventures has invested in the following 4 identity companies:

Digisure

Jebbit

Luma Health

Oura

 

*Source: PitchBook Data Inc. with proprietary keyword searches set by OWI Analysts