Deals That Matter

Top VC deals this week: Atlassian co-founder bets huge on self-driving cars, Will Smith launches new fund with Japanese soccer star

Key Points
  • Zoox is loading up on cash to build and electric autonomous car.
  • Embark, which is building self-driving trucks, reeled in $30 million.
  • New York's Insight Venture Partners closed a $6.3 billion to invest in growth-stage companies.
Actor Will Smith attends the Centerpiece Gala Premiere of Columbia Pictures' 'Concussion' during AFI FEST 2015.
Kevin Winter | Getty Images

Here's a roundup of the most important deals in venture capital in the last week.


Zoox recently raised $500 million from investors to fulfill its ambitious vision of building an electric self-driving car from the ground-up, Bloomberg reports. The start-up is taking on giants from the technology and automotive worlds, like Alphabet, GM and Tesla, and hopes to launch its cars and a ride-hailing service in 2020. The round was led by Atlassian co-founder and CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Agriculture-tech company Indigo Agriculture, a 2018 CNBC Disruptor 50 company, is aiming to raise $300 million in a new round, seven months after raising $203 million, according to Pitchbook. The company aims to use naturally occurring microbes to control plant pests, replacing pesticides and weed killers.

Indigo Agriculture CEO wants to change economics for farmers with a 'revolution in agriculture'
Indigo Agriculture CEO wants to change economics for farmers with a 'revolution in agriculture'

Self-driving truck start-up Embark raised a $30 million series B round led by Sequoia. The company does not aim to replace truck drivers completely, but only for the long interstate portions of the trip, according to TechCrunch.

Content delivery network Fastly has raised a $40 million series F round led by Deutsche Telekom. The company enables websites to store content on servers that are physically closer to the person requesting the content, which makes pages load faster. It claims to be on pace to book $100 million in annual revenue, and is used by high-traffic sites like Reddit, Pinterest and Ticketmaster.

Alphabet venture arm GV (formerly Google Ventures) has led a $6.5 million investment into Blavity, a set of media properties and products for black millennials, TechCrunch reports. The investment will go mainly toward technology, including a new engineering center. (Comcast Ventures, which is owned by CNBC parent company Comcast, was also involved in the round.)

Funds and Firms

Insight Venture Partners announced it had closed a $6.3 billion fund to invest in growth-stage companies in the technology sector. The firm's partners were, collectively, the largest class of investors in the fund, a first for the firm. Insight has invested in tech companies like Twitter, New Relic, and DocuSign.

Actor Will Smith has teamed up with Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda to plan a $100 million venture fund called the Dreamers Fund. The fund, based in Los Angeles, will invest in start-ups trying to solve social problems. Japanese brokerage Nomura will be the "anchor investor", according to AFP.

Andreessen Horowitz promoted Connie Chan, an analyst with the firm, to the role of general partner. The move is a shift from the firm's historic rule of only hiring former CEOs to be general partners. Chan is the firm's second female GP.