From rockets to lab-grown meat, these deals show some of the hottest new startup sectors of 2021 – Crunchbase News



This year set a seed funding record, with already trending industries like fintech, healthcare tech, and cybersecurity all growing. But we’ve also seen startups in more nascent industries, including nuclear fusion, alternative proteins, and funding tools for the creative economy, making big bucks.

While not the biggest contracts of this year, we believe they nonetheless indicate that 2022 may be the year some of these technologies and industries take off. Here’s a closer look.

Space technology rockets to come

$ 1.4 billion funding round closed by Colorado-based space tourism firm Broomfield Sierra Space combined of two things that will be remembered from 2021: investor’s insatiable appetite for space and a huge so-called “Series A”. A quick glance at data from Crunchbase shows that there have been 10 Series A rounds of half a billion dollars or more this year, five of which were raised by US-based startups. Last year, four in total. It’s certainly not a bad fundraiser for a business to start with.

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And what more can we say about space technology? The industry has seen more than $ 9 billion in venture capital invested this year alone, an increase of more than 50% from 2020. With title after title about billionaires to space – or to space. less closer – nothing defines 2021 better than a company founded in this year exciting investors about its plans to develop an orbital commercial space plane. The round — led by General Atlantic, Coat and Moore Strategic Enterprises– also marked the largest in the space sector this year and one of four towers above half a billion dollars.

At the very least, space is a well-funded border.

– Chris Metinko

Help creators cash in

Creators have been around online for years, but payment solutions and the tools to monetize content have only caught the attention of investors relatively recently. The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a boom for online content creators and their businesses, with media consumers spending more time on the internet.

The next step in this development is more financial tools for creators. Here are a few deals that show how payment tools for the designer economy could be a big trend in 2022:

Patreon raised $ 155 million Series F in April 2021. Platform Helps Creators Monetize Their Followers; musicians, artists and other creators use Patreon to earn money from subscribers. The company was valued at $ 4 billion as a result of Series F, run by Global Tiger Management. With apparently more people “going independent” on platforms like Sub stack, which has also raised money this year, tools like Patreon that help turn loyal followers into paid followers are expected to continue to grow.

During this time, Karat Financial launched last year with its Black Card for creators and influencers. The company uses metrics like social media engagement to determine creator credit limits. The idea is that the creators are actually small businesses – they get sponsorship deals and make money online, after all – but traditional financial institutions often don’t understand them.

An old-fashioned bank may not fully grasp the power and earning potential of a creator with millions of subscribers online, but Karat gets it and will give the creator a credit card with a higher credit limit. appropriate.

Karat raised a $ 26 million Series A earlier this year to expand his team and continue to build financial infrastructure. With his credit card already on the market, seek him out to diversify with more financial products for creators.

-Sophie Kunthara

Bet on the chips

A global shortage of computer chips this year has helped drive levels of inflation not seen in decades, and has generally disrupted global supply chains as industries from automobiles to robotics to home appliances struggled to make products without these essential components.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, venture capitalists invested record dollars in companies related to the semiconductor industry in 2020.

In August, global venture capital investments in semiconductor-related sectors, which include everything from chip design companies to actual semiconductor manufacturers, already reached $ 3.7 billion, breaking the record high of $ 3.4 billion from last year, according to figures from Crunchbase.

Notable agreements include the developer of hardware and integrated systems SambaNova Systems‘Series D of $ 676 million, raised in April at a valuation of over $ 5 billion. Big chip companies are also buying startups in space, as we’ve seen with Qualcommthe acquisition of the old Apple employee chip startup Nuvia for $ 1.4 billion in January.

U.S. legislation that would spend $ 52 billion of taxpayer dollars to subsidize chip production was passed by the Senate earlier this year and may attract more investor interest in the space, but is currently in the pipeline. limbo, awaiting House approval.

Either way, with the chip shortage expected to last well into next year, expect investor interest in the industry to continue.

– Marlize van Romburgh

Investors turn to nuclear fusion

For decades, discussions of clean technologies have focused on solar and wind technologies. Eventually it evolved into electric cars and batteries. However, this year appeared to see a third phase, this one focused on the long-standing promise of the merger.

The promise of carbon-free energy has enthused investors, as several companies have taken huge tours. However, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts Commonwealth Fusion Systems overcame them all. The company closed a more than $ 1.8 billion Series B led by Global Tiger Management. The cycle was the largest ever for a nuclear fusion startup and will be used to help build the world’s first “commercially relevant” net energy fusion machine and the first commercial fusion power plant.

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Enthusiasm for fusion seems to arise from the realization that solar, wind and other renewables alone will not be enough to fight climate change. Additionally, although there has been talk of fusion for about a century, many see it as finally near – perhaps by the end of this decade.

Investors are excited about the tens of billions of dollars markets, so it’s no surprise that they are flooding the merger industry with capital looking to disrupt a trillion dollar energy market. If that happens, 2021 could be considered the year it all started.

Chris Metinko

Cultured meat gets a boost

Next year is set to be a big year for the world of cell culture meat and other animal alternatives. Recent proof: Meat of the future$ 347 million Series B announced this week, marking the largest investment ever in the cultured meat industry.

Startups around the world working on cell culture meat are generally quite optimistic about getting key approval to start selling their burgers, chicken fillets, and even sushi in the United States soon, probably in the United States. year to come, according to some.

These meats are grown in stainless steel bioreactors, but cannot be biologically distinguished from meat from animals. According to the founders, the benefits of cell culture meat are numerous, ranging from mitigating climate change associated with meat production, to eliminating hormones, antibiotics and heavy metals that lurk in meat or meat. farmed fish.

A few cultured meat products have already hit the market in Singapore, but others are making headway through regulatory processes in Europe and America, moving closer to unveiling products in restaurants and possibly grocery stores, if companies can. grow enough to bring consumer costs down.

While some remain skeptical that cell culture meats will one day be able to drop prices enough to be competitive with farmed meat, the industry is already making headway. Future Meat, for example, claims to have reduced its production costs to about $ 7.70 per pound, or about $ 1.70 per chicken breast. That’s a big drop from the $ 18 it cost them to make a pound of meat six months ago.

The recent cycle of Future Meat was co-directed by ADM Enterprises with the participation of Menorah Mivtachim pension and insurance funds, and S2G companies. Other investors include Tyson Enterprises, Rich product companies, The adventures of the manta ray, Emerald tech companies, ADM Capital, Bites x Bites and the Sander Group, completing a large and influential group of investors who have shown a great interest in the sector.

In 2020, investors invested more than $ 1.2 billion in startups around the world working on cell culture meat and other alternatives to cell culture meat. As of Oct. 31, 2021, venture capitalists had staked an additional $ 913 million on the industry this year, according to data from Crunchbase.

– Janice Bitters Turi

Drawing: Dom guzman

Stay on top of the latest rounds of fundraising, acquisitions and more with Crunchbase Daily.


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