In VC as in hip hop, East Coast vs. West Coast is a constant topic of heated conversation.
The truth is there is nothing like Silicon Valley for density of entrepreneurship and innovation. But that doesn’t mean the question of SF vs Boston vs NYC isn’t an interesting one.
Boston gets a bad rap as a metro with bad weather, weird accents, lots of Afflecks, and terrible liquor laws.
But it does have one thing going for it. A higher proportion of startups raising a seed round in Boston manage to get follow-on funding than in other large VC markets.
This could be because healthcare dominates there rather than tech, and the difference is not enormous. But it’s interesting to see a higher proportion of Boston startups clear that first hurdle.
Also, out of the Boston cohort we looked at, there have already been significant exits, such as Syros Pharmaceuticals ($285M), Neurovance ($250M), and GrabCAD ($100M), among others. See this week in data below for more detail.
Have a great weekend.
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This week in data:
- 68%: Beantown wins! The chances of a startup raising a second round of funding after an initial seed round are 68% in the Boston area, higher than any other major VC hub, including Silicon Valley. It’s also easier in the US than any other VC hub outside the US, including the UK, China, and India. We just released our first ever analysis of startups’ chances of raising financing at different stages and how those chances vary by geography.
- $155M: Student loan platform Earnest is being acquired by loan servicing company Navient, in a deal worth $155M. The startup raised $307M in total disclosed funding, with participation from smart money VCs a16z and First Round Capital, both of which have backed a number of other early-stage fintech companies. Earnest is featured on our Fintech 250 market map.
- $2B: The amount raised by Indian ride-hailing unicorn Ola in a Series J round backed by SoftBank Group, Tencent Holdings, and others. The deal is the latest in a series of major funding rounds to Uber‘s top competitors. Earlier this year, Didi Chuxing raised a massive $5.5B in Series G financing, also backed by SoftBank Group. We visualized deals to ride-hailing startups with $1B+ in disclosed funding below.
- 153 grams: This week, IEEE Spectrum reported on “edible robots.” The gelatin-based soft robot prototype recently presented at a robotics conference is “biodegradable, biocompatible, and environmentally sustainable.” Among many applications, researchers believe these could enable digestible robots for medical applications or lead to “food transportation where … the robot is the food.” During a grasping test, researchers adjusted the force of an edible robotic claw to pick up items from a Lego brick (25.7g) to a bottle of chewing gum (153.1g).
- 8: This week, Microsoft acquired AltspaceVR, a social platform for virtual reality. Prior to the deal, the company had raised $15.5M from investors including Foundation Capital, Google Ventures, and Tencent Holdings. The acquisition saves Altspace from the startup graveyard, since earlier this year it had announced it was shutting down. This is Microsoft's 8th acquisition of 2017, according to our Microsoft Acquisitions Tracker.
- 20 years: The lifespan of AOL Instant Messenger. The chat app, which launched in 1997, will be signing off for good December 15th, AOL announced earlier today.
- $70M: On Tuesday, Amazon acquired Body Labs, a 3D body model startup that analyzes body size, shape, and motion, in a deal that is worth $70M. Body Labs previously raised $10.2M in disclosed financing, from investors including FirstMark Capital, Intel Capital, and Catalus Capital. The move marks Amazon’s 8th acquisition in 2017, making this far and away Amazon’s most active year for M&A. We recently created a timeline of Amazon’s all-time largest deals, with the company’s $13.7B acquisition of Whole Foods topping the list.
- $35M: The amount raised by online real estate marketplace Roofstock in Series C financing. Investors in the round included Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, and Khosla Ventures. The company, which has raised $68.3M in total disclosed funding, can be found on our early-stage real estate market map. For a full list of startups in the space, check out the Real Estate Tech collection on the CB Insights platform.
- 3 billon: In 2016, Yahoo reported that over 1 billion of approximately 3 billion accounts existing in 2013 were likely affected by data theft. But the company now believes all Yahoo user accounts were affected. We previously released our 2017 Cyber Defenders report, which looks at startups at the cutting edge of cybersecurity, including predictive intelligence.
- 17,852: Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, was launched into space by The Soviet Union 60 years ago this week. As of last year, there were 17,852 artificial objects in orbit around Earth, 1,419 of which are operational satellites. Our space tech market map highlights startups involved in the construction and launch of satellites or rocketry into outer space.
- 85+: Toymaker Mattel has canceled its plans to develop an AI-driven child monitor. The device, named Aristotle, was announced in January of this year, and was designed to “comfort, entertain, teach, and assist ... a child ... from infancy to adolescence.” According to The Washington Post, the company has decided against taking the product to market due to privacy concerns, among many others. We recently looked at over 85 startups working on baby and kids tech, a number of which are developing different types of monitors.