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The Briefing: Fluence Raises $125M For Energy Storage, 23AndMe Gets $82.5M, And More

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase DailyFluence gets $125M from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund at $1B valuation

Fluence, a joint venture between AES Corp. and Siemens that makes energy storage technology, said Wednesday that it has entered a deal with the Qatar Investment Authority to get $125 million from the sovereign wealth fund through a private placement transaction.

The investment in Arlington, Virginia-based Fluence, which makes energy storage products for wind farms and other renewable providers, comes at a $1 billion valuation, according to the company. Fluence said it plans to use the proceeds to grow its product offerings and launch in more markets around the world. AES and Siemens will remain major shareholders in Fluence following the deal, each with an approximately 44 percent stake in the company, according to a funding announcement.

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  • Apple loses copyright case against startup Corellium: A federal judge in Florida rejected Apple’s claims that security and virtualization startup Corellium had violated copyright law with its software, which helps researchers find bugs and security holes on Apple’s products.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-12-30-20/

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Card Issuer Marqeta Valued At More Than $17B in Nasdaq Debut

Chief Marketing Officer Vidya Peters tells Crunchbase News that the IPO “has been a wonderful validation of the modern card issuing industry.”

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Shares of Marqeta, an Oakland-based modern card issuing platform, popped on the first day of trading Wednesday, closing at $30.52 per share, up 13 percent from opening price of $27. Marqeta is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol MQ.

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Marqeta now has a market value of $17.3 billion, according to Yahoo, which is based on 586 million of outstanding shares.

The company filed in May to go public via an initial public offering. Since its inception in 2010 by Jason Gardner, Marqeta has raised a total of $528 million in known venture capital, according to Crunchbase data. Its last disclosed round in May 2020 valued the company at $4.3 billion.

Vidya Peters, chief marketing officer for Marqeta, told Crunchbase News that the IPO “has been a wonderful validation of the modern card issuing industry and what we have done over the last decade.”

She went on to say that there is a “massive $74 trillion market opportunity ahead of us, which provides an endless runway.”

And, as a payments infrastructure company, being publicly traded enables Marqeta to be transparent on its financial health to stakeholders and customers.

“It also provides a massive arsenal to accelerate our product roadmap and fuel our global expansion,” Peters added. “We are already in 36 countries and now we can accelerate even faster.”

To complement prepaid and debit card offerings, in the past year Marqeta added credit, which Peters touted as being the first company to offer all three.

She also believes this is just the start for what Marqeta can enable with innovative offerings, such as open APIs so that developers can build their own card-issuing products.

“Marqeta is just scratching the surface with cards,” Peters added. “Imagine being able to have your check deposited onto your card, buy now, pay later, peer-to-peer payments and even monetize your cryptocurrency. The possibilities are endless, and in our next chapter we are in a position to unlock all of that with our card types.”

Among the S-1 statement disclosures, Marqeta touts customers, such as Affirm, DoorDash, Instacart, Klarna and Square, which it reported was its largest customer, accounting for 70 percent of its net revenue in 2020.

It reported $350 million in fourth-quarter 2020 annualized net revenue, operates in 36 countries, and has issued more than 320 million debit, credit and prepaid cards to date.

The company reported $107.9 million in revenue for the first quarter ended March 30, 2021, more than double from the same three-month period in 2020. It narrowed its net loss to $12.8 million during the quarter from $14.5 million last year.

Prominent backers include 83North II, Coatue, ICONIQ Capital, Granite Ventures and Discover Financial Services, according to its filings. With the exception of Discover, all of the remaining entities led investments into the company, according to Crunchbase data.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

The company filed in May to go public via an initial public offering. Since its inception in 2010 by Jason Gardner, Marqeta has raised a total of $528 million in known venture capital, according to Crunchbase data. Its last disclosed round in May 2020 valued the company at $4.3 billion.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/card-issuer-marqeta-begins-trading/

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ID Verification Company Clear Files To Go Public As Travel Picks Up

If you’ve walked through security at a major airport in the United States, you’ve likely seen signage for Clear, which allows enrolled members to pass through a security checkpoint quickly by scanning their eyes and face.

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Clear, the company known for using biometric data to verify identities, has filed to go public.

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If you’ve walked through security at a major airport in the United States, you’ve likely seen signage for Clear, which allows enrolled members to pass through a security checkpoint quickly by scanning their eyes and face.

While it’s perhaps best known for its airport usage (investors in the company include United Airlines and Delta Air Lines), Clear is also used for identity verification and security at live events. The New York-based company reported having 5.6 million cumulative enrollments. Clear is available in 38 airport locations and works with 26 sports and entertainment partners, according to the company.

Among the largest stockholders in the company are Delta Air Lines, General Atlantic, and T. Rowe Price.

Clear is heavily reliant on travel and live events, both of which were essentially put on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. But even though travel and live events took a hit, Clear still grew its memberships and revenue, and brought down its losses, according to its S-1.

The company reported nearly $230.8 million in revenue last year, up 20 percent from $192.3 million in 2019. Though the company’s total bookings declined 10.6 percent from 2019 to 2020, its net losses shrunk down from $54.2 million in 2019 to $9.3 million in 2020.

The company acknowledged in the “Risk Factors” section that the pandemic limited its growth in airports, the entertainment industry, and events.

“We experienced a decrease in enrollments for our airport service and a decrease in membership renewals,” the company wrote. “In fiscal year 2020, our Annual CLEAR Plus Net Member Retention declined to 78.8% (compared to 86.2% in fiscal year 2019). We expect that COVID-19 will continue to adversely impact our airport enrollments and business in 2021 and possibly beyond.”

Clear also acknowledged that its performance is dependent on the strength of the travel industry, since it “derived substantially all of our historical revenue from members who enroll in CLEAR Plus, which includes our Registered Traveler Program service at U.S. airports, and one of our growth strategies is to continue expanding in our domestic aviation network.”

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are among the underwriters for the IPO. The company intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker YOU.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/id-verification-company-clear-files-to-go-public-as-travel-picks-up/

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Exclusive: Women’s Supplement Startup Rae Wellness Closes $9.5M Series A

Rae develops supplements targeting women’s well-being in sexual, hormonal and mental health.

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Minneapolis-based Rae Wellness got a cash infusion of $9.5 million in Series A funding to continue developing its supplements targeting women’s well-being in sexual, hormonal and mental health.

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PowerPlant Partners led the round and was joined by M13, Able Partners and Victress Capital. Co-founder and CEO Angie Tebbe founded the company in 2019. She did not disclose the company’s total funding to date.

Three years ago, Tebbe was a Target executive with two toddlers when she noticed that her own well-being was not a priority.

“I thought about what wellness meant to me,” she told Crunchbase News. “I grew up in a holistic household and wanted an opportunity to honor that. I left my career to pursue my own well-being and take better care of myself.”

A believer in the power of supplements, she went in search of the right ones for her. During that diligence, she found that either quality products did not exist — many were sugary and gummy — or they were very expensive. That’s where Tebbe said she saw whitespace to create products.

Rae Wellness started out as direct-to-consumer in 2019, but by 2020 was on shelves in Target stores and selling on Amazon. It is also available in Anthropologie and will be in Thrive Market and other retailers later this year, she said.

“We’ve been ramping up fast — it’s a crazy dream come true,” Tebbe added. “We needed a big infusion to get to the scale we want, which includes creating an omnichannel brand.”

The company is going after the global dietary supplement market, which was valued at $140.3 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow at an 8.6 percent compound annual rate from 2021 to 2028, according to market research firm Grand View Research.

In the first year of business, Rae Wellness reached 1 million customers, and Tebbe said the company is poised for triple-digit growth this year. As such, the new funding will go toward that growth of reach, brand awareness and partnerships.

“We are thrilled to see women are putting themselves on the priority list,” she said. “We are continuing the journey to create pure and powerful supplements to support women’s journey to feel better.”

Dan Gluck, partner at PowerPlant Partners, said his firm is tracking the supplement category and that the opportunity is huge, with the U.S. market forecasted to be $50 billion by 2024, as more adults take dietary supplements.

With the increasing concern around health and wellness and clean beauty, companies like Rae Wellness have an opportunity to take market share, he added. By focusing on clean and green brands and ingredients that come at accessible price points, Gluck said Rae is resonating with customers.

“From Angie’s experience as a Target executive, she has an insight that most entrepreneurs don’t have,” Gluck said. “We also loved her vision, passion and enthusiasm, as well as her rationale around building the business into a world-class organization.”

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

“I thought about what wellness meant to me,” she told Crunchbase News. “I grew up in a holistic household and wanted an opportunity to honor that. I left my career to pursue my own well-being and take better care of myself.”

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/exclusive-supplement-startup-rae-wellness-closes-9-5m-series-a/

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