Startups Weekly: 2019 VC spending may eclipse 2018 record

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I struggled to understand WeWork’s growth trajectory. Before that, I noted some thoughts on scooter companies’ struggle to raise new cash.

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What’s on my mind this week? Data. Now that it’s July, I figured it was time for a VC investment data check-in. How much have VCs invested so far this year? Are they finally investing more in female founders? I’ve got answers (Data source: PitchBook):

  • So far in 2019, VCs have invested $62 billion in U.S. startups. This puts investors on pace to dole out more than $120 billion this year, surpassing last year’s all-time high of $117 billion.
  • Around the world, VCs have invested a total of $104 billion in 2019. Last year, investment soared to $251 billion. We’re unlikely to observe a global record of VC investment this year.
  • Here’s the best news of all: Companies founded solely by women have secured a record 3% of the total capital invested in VC-backed startups in the U.S. this year: “Capital invested crossed the $1 billion mark for female-founded startups in 1Q 2019 — the highest ever for any quarter to date. And out of roughly 300 VC deals for companies led solely by women, four of those businesses have reached unicorn status so far this year. That number includes online luxury reseller The RealReal, which debuted on the NASDAQ in a high-profile exit last month.” – PitchBook.
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Startup Capital:

Pod Foods gets VC backing to reinvent grocery distribution
DotLab gets $10M to bring endometriosis test to market 
Waresix hauls in $14.5M to digitize logistics in Indonesia 
Calm gets $27M for its meditation app
Mobi nabs $50M for its new broadcast service

Long Reads:

There were so many deep dives this week on TechCrunch, ranging from Jony Ive’s influence on Apple written by TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino, a look at the intense backlash on Superhuman and whether it’s justified, plus my own look at Fin’s pivot to enterprise analytics platform. Here are the ones I recommend clicking:

Higher Ground Labs is betting tech can help sway the 2020 elections by Jon Shieber 
Superbacklash by Matthew Panzarino 
From Seed to Series A: Scaling a startup in Latin America by Nathan Lustig
Andrew Kortina and Sam Lessin on Fin’s workplace pivot by Kate Clark
Apple sans Ive by Matthew Panzarino

Funds:, an early-stage global fund, brought in a fresh $400 million this week, Sony announced a new $185 million fund and…

When is the right time to pitch VCs for funding?

A compelling pitch deck that quickly and clearly presents your startup as an exceptional investment opportunity is a clear edge when raising a round. But could fundraising be more effective if you knew when to send your pitch deck — the times of year when it’s more likely to be reviewed and when it’s likely to be viewed more often? If we all had a magical algorithm that could predict exactly which investors would review your deck and when, we’d be fundraising geniuses — closing our round faster and with far less effort. No such algorithm exists (at least not yet), but I can share some useful data that offers insights into some of these seasonal fundraising trends, with a few that seem to defy conventional wisdom…

Extra Crunch readers can read the rest of Russ Heddleston’s story here. If you’ve been unsure whether to sign up for TechCrunch’s awesome new subscription service, now is the time.


If you enjoy this newsletter, be sure to check out TechCrunch’s venture-focused podcast, Equity. In this week’s episode, available here, I interview Revolution’s Clara Sieg. We discuss the Rise of the Rest and investing in underrepresented geographies.

Extra Crunch subscribers can read a transcript of each week’s episode every Saturday. Read last week’s episode here and learn more about Extra Crunch here. Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercast, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.