Funding wrap: $231M raised for fungal 're-wilding,' fashion help … – Austin Business Journal

After a week off because of a dearth of deals, the funding wrap is back, and it’s packed. Startup funding may be a bit slower than a year ago but plenty of fresh term sheets are crossing the table in the Austin area. Here’s a summary of nine recent funding deals totaling more than $230 million.
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Cedar Park-based rocket startup Firefly Aerospace has landed $30.2 million, the first tranche of a massive $300 million series C funding round the company is raising.
The company, which last raised money from investors at a valuation of more than $1 billion, noted that its new funding round is coming with an even higher, though undisclosed, valuation. Read more.
Cedar Park-based chemical analysis tech company VUV Analytics Inc. said Feb. 16 it secured $20 million in new equity financing. The new round was led by Austin-based S3 Ventures and Connecticut-based New Science Ventures — both firms were early investors in the company, as well.
The startup, founded by CEO Clark Jernigan in 2009, has now raised a total of about $36 million. VUV uses vacuum ultraviolet detector technology for gas chromatography. It is used largely by oil and gas companies for chemical analysis, and VUV says its devices are used by the top 10 U.S.-based oil refiners.
OpenEyes, an insurtech startup with offices in Austin and New York, said Feb. 14 it has emerged from stealth with an $18 million series A funding round. That brings its total raised to $23 million. Its funding has been led by Insight Partners and Pitango First, with participation by MoreVC.
Led by co-founder and CEO Yoav Oron, OpenEyes sells commercial automotive insurance for fleets of vehicles. It helps identify risks in order to reduce the number and severity of wrecks. Its other co-founders are CTO Omry Sendik and Chairman Dan Charash.
Sending Labs, a Web3 communications startup with a presence in Austin, said it has raised $12.5 million in seed funding led by Insignia Venture Partners, MindWorks Capital and Signum Capital. Other firms in on the round included K3 Ventures, Lingfeng Innovation Fund, UpHonest Capital and Aipollo Investment.
The startup was founded by former MoboTap co-founders Joe Yu and Mason Yang. Along with the funding, the company announced two products in beta launch, including a software toolkit to help create Dapps and an encrypted group chat platform.  
Funga, a locally based startup focused on nature-based carbon removal with fungal biodiversity, has raised $4 million in seed funding. The round was led by Azolla Ventures, a fund created by nonprofit Prime Coalition. Other investors included Trailhead Capital, Better Ventures and Shared Future Fund. 
The seed money comes shortly after Funga set up its first microbiome restoration project in Lexington, Georgia, where it’s setting up 2,500 acres of forest restoration. Its overall aim is to sequester billions of tons of carbon dioxide through re-wilding forests in coming decades. Funga, led by founder and CEO Dr. Colin Averill, uses DNA sequencing and machine learning to develop new insights on forest microbiomes. The company is a public benefit corporation.
ClearCam Inc., a medical device startup that has developed technology that cleans cameras used during surgery without removing them from the patient’s body, Feb. 16 reported raising $3.7 million in new equity funding. That brings its total funding to about $7 million, according to Crunchbase.
ClearCam, led by co-founder and CEO Dr. John Uecker, was the first company spun out of the University of Texas at Austin as a collaborative effort between the engineering school and Dell Medical School. The company, which already has FDA approval for its device, previously raised a $2.6 million friends-and-family funding round in 2020. The startup’s device hit a milestone last summer of being used in 1,000-plus surgeries.
Curated for You, a relatively new Austin-based startup that helps retailers predict consumers’ fashion desires based on individual interests, has raised a $2.4 million seed round from Dundee Venture Capital and AIX Ventures. The AI-powered startup says that the way fashion products are tagged online often doesn’t match with how consumers search. Its platform automates product tagging based on trends and events to help drive sales. 
The startup is led by co-founder and CEO Katy Aucoin, who previously founded marketing software startup Dearduck. Curated for You also recently added Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss to its advisory board, among other additions.
In the only funding deal announced the week of Feb. 6-10, streaming television startup Atmosphere said it raised a $65 million series D funding round led by Sageview Capital, Valor Equity Partners and S3 Ventures. The company, which streams viral videos to tens of thousands of businesses including bars and restaurants, said the round valued it at around a billion dollars.
In a deal we missed from late last month, Austin-based Alleviant Medical Inc., which makes medical devices that combat heart failure, said Jan. 26 it closed on $75 million in equity financing. The round was led by S3 Ventures and RiverVest Venture Partners. Alleviant previously reported raising $6.5 million in November 2020. Adam Berman is the company’s CEO.
Alleviant, which said its tech has been granted an investigational device exemption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, filed fundraising paperwork with securities regulators on Feb. 7.
For more local deals, check out another recent funding wrap. And subscribe to Austin Business Journal for startup resources such as lists of venture capital and private equity firms, incubators and accelerators, angel investors and coworking providers.
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