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Welcome to the world of work, friends, I hope you survived returning to the desk in good condition and that you are both warm and healthy. The current spurt in COVID cases is a huge hassle, but perhaps this is the last year we have to bring ourselves back to productivity due to the lockdown, mass death and lack of embracing. I hope
Regardless, today we have tons of fun stuff that should take your mind off the state of the world for a few minutes.
Starting today, let’s talk about Liquid Death. Outstanding Designated Company kills with thirst Water, hence its name. In short, this is the company. Liquid Death sells water in a can, a business around which it has built an anti-plastic stance and a general heavy metal vibe. It’s clear.
But Liquid Death also raised $75 million this week, which made me wonder why everything is so expensive these days. Why does a water company need to raise the entire pre-seed fund in a single investment? What is the need of money for this? Research? It’s selling water!
A few years ago there was a general view that it was cheaper than ever to start a startup. With off-the-shelf software, cloud computing, and a modern fintech back end, it was becoming faster and less expensive to put together the building blocks of a modern business. In addition to the high cost of hiring software developers, it looked like startups would be able to do more for less.
and yet. Startups are raising more money than ever before. The exchange is diving into venture capital data next week, but it’s clear that the venture and startup classes are still moving funds around with great joy. So much so that Liquid Death has raised over $130 million to date, Per CrunchBase Data,
Lower startup costs and square the circle of mega-rounds for me if you can. Are we seeing an increase in marketing spend through equity capital sources? If so, that worries me a bit!
(Note that Liquid Death can be a Kickstarter business with big margins and pretty economics; I don’t know the numbers. But if it’s in such good shape why does it need $75 million? What are we missing here? Huh?)
level raised funds
In depth in the Notes docs, a short note Level, Level is a company that I covered back in February of 2021. The company closed a $1.5 million round for work we described as “giving credit to workers who may not have been able to tap it from traditional sources, using their current income from freelance can. Work to return the advance. ,
It was a neat model, because lending based on assets over cash flow is a bit silly in a world where many people work but don’t live asset-heavy lifestyles. (It’s definitely a polite way to diss NIMBY boomers).
Anyway, Level raised another round as 2021 closed, this time for a $7 million Series A. Anthos Capital led the funding, with Nextview Ventures and other former inventors also kicking in cash. The capital came after the company increased its size by “10x” according to its own data.
What I find most remarkable about the Level news item isn’t that the company raised more money—more so that its target set is super large. To company, it wants to create a “financial OS for micro businesses”.
I dig this because small businesses aren’t companies that get a lot of attention from traditional financial institutions. In my view, fintech should be a way of applying technology to break down walls and bring more value to more people. Level is working along those lines, while also building an enterprise-ready business. clean!
Cymed raises biotech fund
On the heels of news that a16z has invested $9 billion in a new fund for venture, growth and biotech investments, it’s easy to forget that there are smaller funds in the market, too. And some that are actually quite new.
on the biotech front Symed Ventures Engaged in fundraising $25 million, with the first closing ($8 million) in the bank. I chatted with the group on Friday to learn a little more about their model.
First, the basics. Cymed has three investment partners: Dina Burkitbayeva, Greg Kubino And Matias Serebrinsky, As you can work from its earlier fund size target, it will invest on the first side of things in some related areas as well as the psychedelic medical space. The group is not new to working together, having already created an investment group using AngelList technology to invest about $15 million.
Some thoughts about PsyMed. First, let me preach that we are expanding the limits of what we test for medical use. In my country conscience has stopped such work, to our detriment. Second, the biotech investment space is interesting to me because companies go public long before we see, shall we say, the enterprise software market. Therefore, you get to see companies more quickly and more often.
For venture investors in biotech companies, this can mean even earlier liquidity prospects than those often seen in today’s unicorn era.
In speaking with Burkitbayeva, Kubin and Serebrinsky gave me the impression that we are close to a confluence point in terms of regulatory, scientific and medical advances that could unlock a lot of new treatments for some sticky human cases. Things like PTSD, treatment-resistant depression, and my personal favorite, substance-use disorder.
All this is meant to say that I will keep an eye on where the group puts their new fund in place and how quickly they can promote early stage pharma startups in the public markets. Here’s to reading more biotech S-1s this year, I guess!
And that’s what I have for now—don’t forget that equity Next week is back to its regular three-week cadence, so I’ll chat with you in short order on your podcasting app of choice! Hug!