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Startup News

Missing out on updates from the startup scenes around the globe? - We got you covered! This podcast will provide a 5 minute highlight reel of all that happened in the startup ecosystem last week.

Last week in startups - global

Last week’s startup funding scene was quite interesting. We had a total of 373 funding rounds, $8.4 billion total funding, 116 acquisitions recorded, and a transaction of a total acquisition amount of $30.7 billion.
PayFit raises $79 million for its payroll service
French startup PayFit is raising a new $79 million funding round (€70 million) from Eurazeo and Bpifrance. The company first started with a payroll service for small and medium companies in France. It has evolved into a full-fledged HR solution for multiple European countries. PayFit uses a software-as-a-service approach so that small companies can easily manage payroll and HR information from a web browser. Everything stays up-to-date and compliant with labor regulation.
While it’s easy to build an HR giant in the U.S., it’s a bit more complicated in Europe as labor laws vary so much from one country to another. But the startup has managed to launch its service in France, Spain, Germany and the U.K. — Italy is coming soon. The company says that it has developed its own programming language called Jetlang in order to transform labor code into computer code.

London’s LocalGlobe just closed on two funds totaling $295 million
Seven months ago, TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear reported that LocalGlobe had begun the fundraising process for two separate funds. The London-based seed-stage venture firm was raising yet another seed-stage venture fund, O’Hear said at the time; he also noted that LocalGlobe  was also expect to raise its first opportunities fund.

Fast-forward and today, the firm, founded by father and son duo Robin and Saul Klein, says it has closed both, having secured $115 million in capital commitments for its seed fund and $180 million in capital commitments for the second fund, dubbed “Latitude,” which it says it will use to support its “winners” at the Series B and later stages.  LocalGlobe remains even more active on the pre-seed and seed-stage front, where it has funded hundreds of startups over the years. Among the very newest of these is a bet on Yapily, a two-year-old, London-based maker of an API for connecting enterprises to banks that just raised $5.4 million in seed funding co-led by LocalGlobe and HV Holtzbrinck Ventures.

Maker of VR hit 'Rec Room' announces $24M in funding from Sequoia, Index
The quest to create a social auditorium in virtual reality has eaten many VC dollars over the years. While plenty of contenders have emerged, it’s likely Against Gravity’s Rec Room has been the most creative in its approach to capturing a niche market while plotting how to build a sustainable business based on users in VR headsets talking to one another.

The Seattle startup has told TechCrunch exclusively that it has bagged $24 million over two rounds of funding. The studio’s Series A was led by Sequoia and their Series B, which just recently closed, was led by Index Ventures . Against Gravity  has a bevy of top investors that also participated in the rounds, including First Round Capital, Maveron, Anorak Ventures, Acequia Capital, Betaworks and DAG Ventures.

The company didn’t break down the specific details of the rounds. Against Gravity was authorized to raise up to $15.4 in its Series B at up to a $126 million post-money valuation, according to Delaware stock authorization docs we got from PitchBook. The company didn’t comment on the valuation.
Helium launches $51M-funded ‘LongFi’ IoT alternative to cellular
With 200X the range of Wi-Fi at 1/1000th of the cost of a cellular modem, Helium’s  “LongFi” wireless network debuts today. Its transmitters can help track stolen scooters, find missing dogs via IoT collars and collect data from infrastructure sensors. The catch is that Helium’s tiny, extremely low-power, low-data transmission chips rely on connecting to P2P Helium Hotspots people can now buy for $495. Operating those hotspots earns owners a cryptocurrency token Helium promises will be valuable in the future…

The potential of a new wireless standard has allowed Helium to raise$51 million over the past few years from GV, Khosla Ventures and Marc Benioff, including a new $15 million Series C round co-led by Union Square Ventures and Multicoin Capital.


Stride raises $2.5M from JetBlue, NFX for its guided trips marketplace
Group travel — it’s something you either love or hate, but Stride, which describes itself as a marketplace for “experiential multi-day and multi-destination packaged trips planned by experts,” wants to change this perception. The service, which was co-founded by former Starwood Hotels and Viator executive Gavin Delany, today announced that it has raised a $2.5 million seed round from JetBlue Ventures and NFX. In addition, it rolled out its new TripFinder feature, which makes it easier to find the right tour from the more than 30,000 travel itineraries from its partners in its database.