Deals That Matter

Top VC deals: Elastic and Upwork IPO; cybersecurity, AI and biotech start-ups close rounds

Key Points
  • Online freelancing platform Upwork and enterprise search company Elastic debuted on the public markets this week.
  • Start-ups specializing in software, artificial intelligence and biotech closed funding rounds.
  • Benchmark opened a new fund, without two of its top partners.


Fashions featured on Eloquii 
Source: Eloquii

Walmart announced its acquisition of plus-sized online retailer, Eloquii, on Tuesday. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal, but a person familiar with the purchase told CNBC it valued Eloquii at roughly $100 million. Eloquii had raised $21 million as of its Series B round in April, from backers including Greycroft Partners, Daher Capital and Female Founders Fund.

Enterprise search company Elastic raised $252 million in its IPO, and the stock soared in its market debut on Friday. The company, founded in 2012, commercializes open-source software for search and data analytics and competes with companies like Alphabet, Splunk and Amazon. Benchmark, Index Ventures and New Enterprise Associates are some of its largest backers.

Upwork CEO on IPO: The market is ready for us
Upwork CEO on IPO: The market is ready for us

Upwork, an online marketplace connecting freelancers with clients, made its stock market debut Wednesday. The company raised $187 million at a market capitalization of close to $1.5 billion. Upwork, founded in 2014 when Elance and oDesk merged, reported a net loss of $7.2 million on revenue of $107.4 million for the six months ended June 30. Upwork's backers include Benchmark, Sigma Partners and FirstMark.


Cybersecurity company Tanium is now worth $6.5 billion after a $200 million funding round. The financing round was led by Wellington Management, Baillie Gifford and Adage Capital. The enterprise security firm counts the U.S. armed forces among its clients, and venture firms Andreessen Horowitz and Citi Ventures among its backers.

Online hiring platform ZipRecruiter announced $156 million in new funding on Thursday. The Series B financing was co-led by Wellington Management and IVP. The company, launched in 2010, leverages artificial intelligence to connect hiring managers with qualified candidates. ZipRecruiter has raised $219 million in total funding and grown its workforce to nearly 1,000 in the past four years.

How much impact will hurricanes have on the US job market?
How much impact will hurricanes have on the US job market?

Canadian travel booking app Hopper picked up $100 million in new funding this week. OMERS Ventures led the Series D round. Hopper predicts future prices for flights and accommodations to save travelers money and help plan "the perfect trip." The start-up has raised $184 million to date.

Foursquare, a mobile app and enterprise location platform, raised $33 million in Series F funding. Simon Ventures, Naver Corp. and Union Square Ventures led the financing round. Tech companies like Uber, Apple and Snap utilize Foursquare's location offerings. Foursquare has raised about $240 million to date.

Next-generation oncology company VelosBio raised $58 million in Series A funding led by Arix Bioscience, a health-care company, and Sofinnova Ventures.

SoftBank Group International led a $35 million investment round in HEED, an AI platform that partners with sports clubs and leagues to identify the most exciting points in a game and connect with fans.

Virtual reality employee training company STRIVR raised $16 million in financing, led by GreatPoint Ventures. The company recently partnered with Walmart to train employees using Oculus Go VR headsets. Ray Lane, a managing partner at GreatPoint, will join STRIVR's board of directors. The start-up has raised $21 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

A farmer in a field of cannabis plants.
Mohamed Azakir | Reuters

Agricultural biotech and cannabis company Front Range Biosciences raised $10 million in Series A funding, led by Phyto Partners and Salveo Capital. The start-up uses modern agricultural techniques to grow disease-free cannabis crops in Colorado, California and Canada.

Chasm, a company that makes materials for printed electronics like touch screens, raised $11 million in Series A financing. Wave Equity Partners and NXT Ventures led the round.

Sequoia Capital led a $9.5 million Series A round in automated translation platform Lilt. The start-up combines translation experts with machine learning to create language translations. Sequoia's Bill Coughran will join the company's board.

Text editing platform Tiny, which works with companies including Atlassian, Medium and WordPress, raised $4 million in Series A funding, led by BlueRun Ventures.

Dutch lab meat start-up, Meatable, raised $3.5 million in seed funding in a round led by BlueYard Capital. The company harvests animal cells to grow meat in a lab, avoiding slaughter and saving resources.

Funds and firms

Benchmark, the venture firm that bet early on Uber, Snap, Stitch Fix and numerous software companies that have gone public of late, is raising its latest fund without two of its key partners. The firm is seeking to raise $425 million for its ninth fund, according to an SEC filing on Monday. The fund won't include Mitch Lasky, who led the firm's investment in Snap, or Matt Cohler, who was an early employee at both LinkedIn and Facebook before turning to venture capital.

—CNBC's Matt Belvedere, Waverly Colville, Lauren Hirsch, Ari Levy, Jordan Novet and Lauren Thomas contributed to this report.