After a relatively quiet start to the year in regards to local tech fundings (Boom’s massive Series B notwithstanding), the venture capital floodgates opened this week. Since last Thursday, four local startups have made big funding announcements, bringing in $33.43 million between them. The companies range from early to growth stage and span industries from foodtech to cannabis.
Here’s a look at the rounds that made headlines in the last week.
Colorado Springs-based FoodMaven raised an additional $10 million in funding on Jan. 24 with investments from Tao Capital Partners and members of the Walton family (yes, of Walmart fame).
Through the company’s online marketplace, institutional kitchens — such as restaurants, schools, hospitals, catering companies and food prep establishments — can purchase surplus, imperfect and local meats and produce that would otherwise be bound for landfills. Its goal? To fill the gaps in the food supply chain where fresh, edible food gets lost.
The investment comes at a time when the foodtech startup is experiencing record growth and rapidly expanding into new markets. And according to a statement from the company, it plans to add another $50 million to 70 million in Series B funding by the end of Q2.
Earlier in the month, FoodMaven announced it had acquired Denver-based Anderson Beef, a meat processing center that will enable the company to better track and manage more of its supply chain, while also helping small, family-run farms access affordable (and USDA-certified) processing. This is the first step in a broader initiative by the company to purchase complementary food businesses and apply its zero-landfill business model — in which any food that isn’t sold is donated — to their operations.
Cannabis industry recruiting platform Vangst closed its own $10 million round of funding on Jan. 24, in a round led by Casa Verde Capital — a VC firm focused exclusively on the cannabis-related ventures — with participation from Lerer Hippeau. Vangst’s Series A brings its total funding to $12.5 million and will help support the growth and development of its on-demand recruiting platform Vangst GIGS.
The recently launched platform, which currently serves businesses in Colorado and California, connects employers looking to fill temporary positions with job seekers looking for temporary employment. By the end of 2020, the startup aims to launch the platform in 10 additional states as well as Canada.
“This has been a tremendous journey and we couldn’t be more excited to continue down this path with the support of our clients and investors,” said CEO and Founder Karson Humiston in a statement. “From permanent placements to on-demand, gig employees, Vangst makes the process of connecting cannabis companies with high-quality employees seamless, efficient and cost-effective.”
Perks and benefits startup Zestful announced both its official launch and the close of a $1.1 million funding round on Jan. 29. Its platform helps HR teams build and manage customizable employee benefits programs. Companies issue Zestful debit cards to employees and then load them each month with an allowance that can be used to purchase products, services and experiences employees care about the most — things like gym memberships, massages, Netflix subscriptions or meal delivery services.
Zestful currently has a number of beta users testing its software, with more on the waiting list, and it hopes to reach 10,000 users by the end of Q1. By the end of the year, its goal is to have tens of thousands of users on the platform.
In the meantime, the Denver-based startup plans to focus on the development of its software, particularly on building out integrations with other HR products like Gusto or Justworks.
The company participated in Y Combinator’s winter 2017 cohort and raised a small seed round from the accelerator’s venture arm the same year. The latest round saw participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Day One Ventures, Matchstick Ventures and Shrug Capital
Just yesterday, “network-as-a-service” startup Stateless closed an $11.33 million Series A to further its mission to reinvent network connectivity. The oversubscribed round was led by Drive Capital with participation from existing investor Speedinvest and will be used to accelerate the development of its platform and expand deployment and operations activities.
“Stateless aims to take network applications to the next level with a ground-breaking approach to connectivity,” said Co-Founder and CEO Murad Kablan in a statement. “The world of colocation and cloud service providers is rapidly transforming, and providers risk losing the value of their existing networking assets if they do not optimize for new use cases. The platform we are building is designed to elevate existing network assets to provide greater security, visibility and control, no matter the endpoint.”
With the decline of on-premise data centers, the proliferation of software-defined wide area networks and the continued growth of massive public clouds, more and more businesses are adopting hybrid, multi-cloud approaches to their networks. Stateless’s “software-defined interconnect” technology aims to connect the dots between different data centers to ensure entire networks are connected, secured and accessible.