NEWS: SoCal Funding Roundup June 29 – July 3 – Anduril, Arqlite, SpringHill Entertainment, Airvet, Elementary Robotics, Tusimple, GroupSolver

Here are startups throughout SoCal that announced receiving investments this week, June 29 – July 3, 2020.

And, also those that opened up new rounds or extensions.

And, entities that made investments or started new funds.

Orange County (military defense): Anduril, raised $200 million in a C Series funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The investment values the company at $1.9 billion post-money, almost double its last funding round in September.

General Catalyst, which raised its stake in Anduril in the C series round along with Founders Fund, Lux Capital and Human Capital. (Elad Gil also participated.)

OF NOTE: Under pressure from employees uncomfortable with defense work, many big consumer tech companies like Google have shied away from security contracts in recent years.

(from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeremybogaisky/2020/07/01/anduril-raises-200-million-to-fund-ambitious-plans-to-build-a-defense-tech-giant/#100bff223c5e)

CEO Palmer Luckey remains unapologetic about Anduril’s militarization of tech. There’s still, reportedly, no debate within the company about the ethical standards around AI, nor any universally-approved standards. Luckey has said he does not believe he has any responsibility to either wait for ethical standards around AI to be developed and approved universally, or take any initiative to do that himself, according to this article from NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/inside-anduril-startup-building-ai-powered-military-technology-n1061771

Recently, Anduril has expanded within OC and to Seattle.

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Orange County (recycling): Arqlite SPC, received an investment from Cemex Ventures, the amount of which was not disclosed.

Arqlite SPC processes un-recyclable plastic waste into artificial gravel, and thereby avoids the use of natural quarry aggregates and boulders in the production of light concrete. It also has a low CO2 footprint.

The company won the 2019 Construction Startup Competition.

(from a company press release)

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Los Angeles (media/entertainment): SpringHill Entertainment raised $100 million. Investors included Guggenheim Partners and S.C. Holdings.

Founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, SpringHill Entertainment intends to create compelling stories for television, feature film and digital. It incubates, develops and produces work for a cross-cultural audience.

(from Crunchbase)

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Los Angeles (telehealth for pets): Airvet, which operates a pet telehealth service that lets veterinarians do virtual visits, has raised $14 million in Series A funding.

(from SoCalTech)

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Los Angeles (industrial robotics) : Elementary Robotics, which recently launched, and is led by startup veteran Arye Barnehama, raised $12.7 million.

(from SoCalTech)

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San Diego (self-driving trucks): Tusimple is looking to raise $250 million, which the company intends to use to make its robotruck fleet completely autonomous as early as next year, and in doing so, remove so-called “safety drivers.”

The company reportedly also plans to go public next year.

Tusimple achieved unicorn status with a valuation of $1 billion after closing its Series D1 early last year.

The company plans to start offering driver-less freight delivery services in the U.S. next year along with partners like auto supplier ZF.

(from TechNode)

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San Diego (market research tech): GroupSolver raised $2 million, in its third fundraising round.

It’s a market research tech company that also has operations in Utah and Slovakia.

It built an intelligent market research platform (think “online survey with a brain”) that helps businesses answer their “why?” “how?” and “what?” questions. It says it does this faster, due to using AI and crowd intelligence, which is basically an Internet-based collective intelligence. Among its properties is that it arises frommassive numbers of individuals in online organizations and communities on online platforms.

The round was led by Eterus Capital. Tech Coast Angels’ SD chapter also contributed. Eterus Capital is a Slovak private equity fund.

(from a press release)

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If I’ve missed anything, please let me know – dnewman@ocstartupsnow.com Thanks!

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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