Deals That Matter

Top VC deals: Amazon backs Tado, Nio Capital backs Innovusion, and Bessemer closes its 10th fund at $1.85 billion

Key Points
  • Amazon backed a Nest competitor called Tado after earlier investing in Ecobee, another smart thermostat maker.
  • Nio Capital backed Innovusion, a sensor start-up in Shanghai that wants to make self-driving cars a reality.
  • Bessemer Venture Partners has raised $1.85 billion to keep investing in early-stage startups. The firm was an early backer of public companies including: Box, Shopify and Twilio.


Brazilian voters are set to vote in the first round of the presidential election on Sunday, October 7, 2018.
Fábio Vieira | FotoRua | NurPhoto via Getty Images

Brazilian fintech company StoneCo raised $1.2 billion in its debut on the U.S. public markets this week. Stone is similar to U.S. payments firm Square, facilitating e-commerce both online and in stores through partnerships with card companies and merchants. Jack Ma's Ant Financial and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway both took large stakes in the company as part of its public offering. Prior to the IPO, Madrone Capital Partners, an investment firm backed by heirs to the Walmart fortune, held a nearly 10 percent stake in Stone. The stock trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "STNE."


Bright Machines raised $179 million in series A funding from Eclipse Ventures to make robots smarter, and better at manufacturing electronics. The company, which spun out of Flex, and was previously known as AutoLab AI, is run by Armar Hanspal, who previously served as Autodesk co-CEO. The start-up's board also includes Autodesk founder Carl Bass, Flex CEO Mike McNamara and Seagate CEO Steve Luczo, along with Eclipse founding partner Lior Susan.

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Peter Thiel's Founders Fund is among investors pouring $110 million in series C funding into Synthego. The start-up ultimately wants to help drug developers reduce the costs and time that it takes to create new cell and gene therapies. 8VC and Menlo Ventures also invested in the round, which brings Synthego's total capital raised to $160 million.

The Intel logo is displayed outside of the Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Intel Capital, Meritech and Sapphire Ventures were among investors in a $100 million Series D financing round in DataRobot, a machine learning company based out of Boston. The startup has now raised $225 million to date.

A WeWork competitor called Knotel raised $60 million of fresh financing in a round led by Norwest Venture Partners. Founded in 2016, the company operates flexible work spaces in New York, San Francisco, London and Berlin. Unlike WeWork, which markets to individuals as well as businesses, Knotel sells enterprise services only. The funding brings Knotel's total capital raised to $160 million.

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Inc., listens during an Economic Club of Washington discussion in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon was among investors in a $50 million funding round for Tado, a Nest competitor based in Munich. Tado said in a press statement that the global market for smart thermostats is expected to reach $6.8 billion by the end of 2022. Earlier, via its Alexa Fund, Amazon backed a Tado and Nest competitor called Ecobee. Amazon also backed then later acquired Ring, a maker of home security products. Additional investors in this Tado round included: E.ON, Total Energy Ventures, and others bringing Tado's total capital raised to $102 million.

Envoy, an office services company, raised $43 million in Series B funding led by Menlo Ventures and with participation from Initialized Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. The startup essentially digitizes a company's reception desk, signing visitors in, requiring them to sign non-disclosure agreements, and tracking deliveries to the building.

Chinese electric vehicle start-up Nio unveils the ES8 SUV at the Shanghai autoshow, in Shanghai, China April 19, 2017.
Aly Song | Reuters

Nio Capital, a fund sponsored by electric vehicle maker Nio, and Eight Roads Ventures are among investors backing Innovusion with a $30 million series A round. The Shanghai start-up is developing LiDAR (or light-ranging and detecting) sensors that serve as the eyes of a self-driving car. Innovusion will compete with other sensor developers that have hoovered up venture capital too, including Luminar, Innoviz, and Velodyne. At least one major automaker, Tesla, is skipping the use of LiDAR sensors altogether, relying on radar and cameras, instead.

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The founders of Juul, the e-cigarette makers, have raised $20 million in venture capital for a separate venture, Pax Labs. The company makes cannabis-vaporizing devices. Pax's backers include Tiger Global Management and Fidelity Investments. The startup has raised more than $120 million to date, according to Crunchbase.


After selling his prior company, AuthenTec, to Apple, entrepreneur Scott Moody is back with a new venture called K4Connect. The company makes smart home devices, on-demand apps and other rising technologies accessible to residents in senior communities. K4Connect raised $12 million in fresh funding from AXA Venture Partners, Intel Capital and others. Co-founders Amjad Masad (bottom left) and Haya Odeh (bottom middle) have raised a $4.5 million seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz., a startup founded by a former Facebook engineer, Amjad Masad, raised $4.5 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz and others. wants to make it possible for anyone to quickly write and ship code from their web browsers. Bloomberg Beta, Reach Capital, Y Combinator and Paul Graham also invested, bringing the start-up's total capital raised to $5.8 million.

Funds and firms

Tiger Global is launching a new fund with $3.75 billion in committed capital, according to the Financial Times. The fund, called Private Investment Partners XI, will invest in consumer internet and cloud software, the newspaper reports. It's the investment firm's 11th fund.

Bessemer Venture Partners closed their newest fund, BVP X, at $1.85 billion. The early-stage investors will stay the course with continued seed, Series A and Series B investments in fast-growing tech companies. The firm's prior investments have included many companies that are now publicly traded including: Box, DocuSign, LinkedIn, Shopify, Twiliio and Yelp.

—CNBC's Salvador Rodriguez, Christina Farr and Reuters contributed to this report.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Nio Capital, a fund sponsored by electric vehicle maker Nio, is among investors backing Innovusion with a $30 million series A round.