More than 1,000 UK startups collapsed under COVID-19. We asked 6 founders how they pulled through the pandemic.
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The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a wave of panic among investors in the early months of 2020, with many investors fleeing early-stage startup deals. By March, almost one-third of investors had pulled out of UK seed funding deals amid fears that the pandemic was about to trigger a global recession, according to data from SeedLegals. And new research – put together by coworking space Plexel and market database Beauhurst – has revealed that more than 1,000 startups have collapsed in the UK since. The data shows a grand of 1,067 high-growth businesses filed for administration, liquidation or dissolution since the start of lockdown in the spring. In an effort to save Britain's burgeoning tech scene from going under, Chancellor Rishi Sunak devised a £250 million "Future Fund", managed by the state-funded British Business Bank, and designed to save promising startups from the brink of collapse. The scheme has handed out some £588.8 million ($700 million) in assistance to date, exceeding its original target, across 590 companies. But in spite of Sunak's best intentions, some founders attacked the scheme's "egregious terms", and warned that it risked excluding already-marginalized founders from disadvantaged backgrounds. Business Insider spoke to six UK startup founders that were forced to endure the pandemic without support from the Future Future. They shared experiences shot with tough calls, personal sacrifices, and determination. Read their stories below: Soccer startup Flair revamped its entire business model to stay alive
Since launching in September 2018, "Flair Football", as it was previously known, had attracted more than 20,000 young soccer players to its app, where they could create profiles, keep track of match outcomes, and swap skills. But when Prime Minister Boris Johnson instituted a nationwide lockdown in March, outdoor sport was brought to a standstill – and Flair with it. "The pandemic caught everyone off guard to some extent, but because our app relied on kids playing outdoor sport, we were hit particularly hard," cofounder and CEO Nii Cleland told Business Insider. With user numbers tanking and no end in sight, Cleland and the rest of Flair's top team opted for a radical change in direction: shutting down the app and transforming the company from a sports platform to social enterprise, focuing on giving young people a voice on issues such as racial inequality. Speaking about the decision, Cleland said: "We spoke to our board members and we were just completely honest. We put together a pitch where we pitted our current proposition versus the new one, and asked: 'Who wants to stick with us?' "You just have to be completely honest with yourself. Looking at the current situation, you have to think: 'Would I try and start my company today, in this climate?' If the answer's no, it probably means you should do something else." Flair already has a number of partnerships with schools across the UK in place, and will start by surveying students and staff to better understand levels of racial inclusivity and awareness. Asked about the Future Fund, Cleland said: "It was one of those things where...they couldn't save every startup. They had to put some criteria in place, and in the end, it just didn't make sense for us to pursue it. "I mean, we furloughed our employees, and that's a form of support in itself, we were really grateful for that. It bought us a lot of time." Farmstand's CEO cut costs by shutting down its bricks-and-mortar operation
Since launching in 2016, plant-powered cloud catering startup Farmstand had raised more than $7 million in funding from the likes of Kindred Capital and Bray Capital. Founded by serial entrepreneur Steven Novick, the firm boasted around 60 employees at its height – but was cut down to just 10 workers under COVID-19. Under normal circumstances, Farmstand operated a "showroom" in Covent Garden, a popular London tourist destination, but Novick took the decision to divest from all its bricks-and-mortar operations and move the business entirely online in mid-March. "We were totally shut down for three months," he said. "To be candid, I sold my home and put the money straight back into the business." Months after selling his stake in a plush Primrose Hill property, where he had lived for the better part of 14 years, Farmstand was finally able to resume operations in July, distributing plant-powered, sustainable meals to outdoor markets en masse. Asked about the Future Fund, he said there had been a "serious lack of communication" on the part of the government, and accused officials of "not caring about small businesses." A spokesman for the British Business Bank said "wherever possible [it] worked to provide a timely and clear explanation as to why applications did not meet the published criteria." In the past few weeks, Farmstand has crowdfunded more than £900,000 (or $1.1 million) on Seedrs – exceeding its target within the first two days – and has weeks of fundraising left to go. "We've already signed a number of 12-month contracts with clients," Novick said. "And we expect the next deal to tip us over into profitability." BYP – the online network for Black professionals – crowdfunded more than $1 million
With more than 40,000 members across 65 countries, BYP is the leading networking platform for Black professionals worldwide. Despite its global presence, founder and CEO Kike Oniwinde was told BYP was ineligible for Future Fund support because it hadn't raised £250,000 before April 19. At the time of writing, BYP had successfully crowdfunded more than £820,000 – more than triple the required sum – on Seedrs, but remained ineligible because it wasn't raised prior to that date. "It doesn't make a lot of sense," Oniwinde told Business Insider. "I was disqualified straightaway because I hadn't raised the money before this arbitrary deadline, even though we've now got close to a million in our pocket. "We know we have issues with Black founders accessing investment in this country, so I was disappointed to see more thought hadn't been put into how they would tackle that. "But to be honest, we're used to it ... It's like 'OK whatever, we've been here before'. We just cracked on." A spokesperson for the British Business Bank told Business Insider that 64% of all funding granted had gone to startups with either BAME-only or mixed ethnicity senior management teams. Insect farming startup Entocycle ditched its Series A round – but kept on raising funds
Entocycle, the insect farming startup working to make protein production more sustainable, is a Y Combinator alum and previously raised more than $3 million in funding. But because that funding had come in the form of convertible loans and other means, rather than equity, the firm couldn't apply for Future Fund support. "Pretty much all YC companies would have missed out on the Fund under those terms," said founder and CEO Keiran Whitaker. "The scheme felt very piecemeal," he added. "So many cutting-edge companies wouldn't have been able to access this kind of support, despite being the best in their fields." With a nationwide lockdown preventing employees from traveling to France and tending to their insect colonies, Whitaker decided to put the brakes on their ongoing Series A funding round. "We kept fundraising but switched to a 'pre-Series A' round, instead," Whitaker told Business Insider, adding the company was set to close around $2 million in new investments. "We managed to weather the storm, but we could definitely have done with that government support at the height of the crisis." Sustainable banking startup Yayzy says it made the best of a bad situation
Sustainable banking app Yayzy had only raised £120,000 (or $150,000) prior to the Future Fund's announcement, and so couldn't apply for government support. "We made the best of a not-so-great situation," cofounder and CEO Mankaran Ahluwalia told Business Insider. "We decided to put our fundraising on hold, and instead focused a hundred per cent of our efforts on product development, and engaged more closely with our beta users. "Fortunately, we're starting to see the fruits of that effort." At the time of writing, the firm had surpassed its £200,000 crowdfunding target on Seedrs by an extra £55,000 – with 29 days of fundraising to go. "I think the Future Fund and the furlough scheme were both good support measures, but the former's eligibility criteria and did exclude a good number of startups. "It would have been helpful if the Fund had been open to all startups that have gone through a previous funding round." A British Business Bank representative told Business Insider the Fund's eligibility criteria had been determined by government in consultation with industry representatives. Tutoring network startup Sophia rode the edtech boom under lockdown
Recent data shows the edtech sector has been booming under lockdown, with the number of investments in the sector up 1,700% in the UK, according to SeedLegals. Tutoring network startup Sophia – cofounded by husband and wife team Melissa McBride, a former headteacher, and Dan Turner, a hedge fund manager – rode that wave, and has thus far crowdfunded more than £500,000 of investment. "We've been really lucky. Now felt like the right time to supercharge the app," Turner told Business Insider. He added that although Sophia has seen more than £250,000 of investment in the past, the firm remained ineligible because it had come from their own pockets rather than coming from external backers. "It's been good because, fundamentally, I think parents are just much more open to the idea of online learning than they ever would have been before." With business booming, the four-person startup has plans for expansion, and hopes to hire a new chief marketer in the coming months.
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Investing app Moneybox has raised a £30 million ($38 million) Series C funding round. Moneybox lets...Investing app Moneybox has raised a £30 million ($38 million) Series C funding round. Moneybox lets investors put their cash into a variety of funds. The startup's funding round was jointly led by Eight Roads and new investors CNP, alongside VC fund Breega. "Saving and investing for the future is always somewhere on the to-do list for most of us, but the last few months have put this more front of mind than ever," Ben Stanway, Moneybox CEO and cofounder told Business Insider. "Speaking to customers, many of them have realised the importance of having a nest egg or emergency fund set aside for when the unexpected occurs." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. London-based fintech startup Moneybox has raised a £30 million ($38 million) Series C funding round. Moneybox, founded in 2016, allows users to invest in a variety of funds, lifetime ISAs, and pensions and has more than 450,000 customers. The investment app's funding round was jointly led by Eight Roads and new investors CNP, alongside VC fund Breega. Moneybox's raise was completed at double the valuation of its 2018 Series B funding round and takes its total funds raised to date to £51.3 million. "Saving and investing for the future is always somewhere on the to-do list for most of us, but the last few months have put this more front of mind than ever," Ben Stanway, Moneybox CEO and cofounder told Business Insider. "Speaking to customers, many of them have realised the importance of having a nest egg or emergency fund set aside for when the unexpected occurs." Moneybox said it now has over £1 billion in assets, and is growing at £100 million per month. The company will also take part in its first equity crowdfunding, via Crowdcube, this month with a minimum target of £1 million. Wealth management apps have seen a surge during the coronavirus, with trading and investing apps seeing an early download boom in the initial days of the UK's lockdown. Moneybox claims it grew its customers by 121% in the year since July 2019. "Securing this funding enables us to continue to build the products, tools and technology to help people achieve their goals easily - whether it's buying a house, saving for retirement or just a rainy day," Stanway added. "In addition to scaling our amazing team of 120, the funding will be used to supercharge our growth and further execute our mission to help everyone save and invest for their future." Check out Moneybox's (redacted) Series C pitch deck below:SEE ALSO: Here are the 15 hottest European AI startups in 2020, according to 8 venture capitalists backing the technology Moneybox Moneybox Moneybox Moneybox Moneybox Moneybox Moneybox
Here's an exclusive look at the pitch deck scooter company VOI just used to raise a $30 million funding extension
Swedish electric scooter startup VOI has raised a $30 million extension to its previous $85 million...Swedish electric scooter startup VOI has raised a $30 million extension to its previous $85 million Series B round as part of its bid to take on its increasingly well-funded competitors. Voi's funding extension comes on the back of surge in activity for e-scooter companies following coronavirus. Voi says it was profitable in June, and hopes to be consistently profitable in 2022. "This is a capital-intensive market and we want to ensure we are sustainable in the long term," the company's cofounder and CEO, Fredrik Hjelm, previously told Business Insider in an interview. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. European scooter startups are battling to expand as city dwellers coming out of lockdown look for an alternative to public transport. Swedish scooter startup Voi, founded in 2018, has just raised a $30 million extension to its 2019 $85 million Series B round as it looks to launch in the UK. The company claims that it was profitable for the month of June following an initial downturn in activity during pandemic-induced lockdowns in Europe. The fresh cash takes the company's total funding to $165 million. Voi has expanded from its base in Stockholm to more than 40 cities in 10 European countries. People have taken 20 million rides on Voi scooters in the last two years and the startup has 4 million registered users, with 100,000 downloads in the UK already, according to a company statement on Wednesday. "This is a capital-intensive market and we want to ensure we are sustainable in the long term," the company's cofounder and CEO, Fredrik Hjelm, previously told Business Insider in an interview. "We've grown a lot and have achieved profitability in some cities and want all our operations to be profitable in the next two years." Vostok New Ventures led the new round. Previous investors including Balderton Capital, Creandum, Project A, JME Ventures, Raine Ventures, Kreos Capital, Inbox Capital, Rider Global, and Black Ice Capital participated in the round. It comes hot on the heels of a similar funding extension for rival scooter startup Tier, which raised $23 million in June. The company claims that it saw its revenues grow fifty-fold during 2019 while it increased headcount from 31 at the end of 2018 to 409 staff by the end of 2019. European scooter companies have raised significantly less than their Silicon Valley rivals but are confident of coming out on top. US firms including Bird and Lime have benefited from huge tranches of venture capital funding, raising $623 million and $935 million respectively, per Crunchbase data. Check out VOI's pitch deck below:SEE ALSO: A Lime investor predicts only 2 or 3 scooter players will win after COVID-19, meaning there's going to be a major crunch in Europe
The top 20 most valuable venture-backed AI companies, including Palantir, UiPath, and Databricks — valued at $120 billion total (UBER, GOOG)
A list of the 20 most valuable venture-backed companies in artificial intelligence boasts a combined valuation...A list of the 20 most valuable venture-backed companies in artificial intelligence boasts a combined valuation of some $120 billion. Most of the list are privately-held startups; some of them — namely Waymo and Uber Advanced Technology Group — are subsidiaries of much larger companies, but that are said to be eyeing IPOs of their own. Investment remains robust despite an uncertain economy, a reflection of the great potential of AI innovation, analysts say. Seven of the 20 make autonomous car technology, a challenging field that will require time to mature. Other technologies on the list include AI applications to farming, data management, hiring, and writing. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. In an uncertain economy where valuations are slipping, the 20 highest-valued venture-backed companies in artificial intelligence combined are worth about a staggering $120 billion, according to PitchBook, in a reflection of the promising innovation of the sector. To put it in perspective, these 20 young companies — many that have yet to produce actual products — are worth more than Ford, American Express, and US Steel combined. Top startups also continue to close major fundraising rounds and command multi-billion valuations for technology ranging from automation tools to self-driving cars. And despite the economic headwinds caused by the coronavirus pandemic, expert studies and venture capitalists say the market remains steady. "All the fundamental parts of the innovation cycle that have AI broadly employed in it are somewhat untouched by a COVID-like pandemic scenario," said Rohit Sharma, a partner at early stage VC firm True Ventures. "We don't really see a slowdown or any kind of impact." But there are obstacles ahead for even the most valuable startups. Seven of the 20 top, according to data provided by PitchBook, are builders of self-driving car technology, which experts say is a sector that demands capital and patience — two things that could be in shorter supply in a jittery recession. "A lot of the business case assumptions and model assumptions, historically, have started to fall apart as people really started to realize just how challenging this robo-taxi problem really is," Austin Russell, CEO of Luminar, told Business Insider's Troy Wolverton recently. Most of the companies on this list are relatively small, independently-held startups. Notably, however, a few of the companies on PitchBook's list are independent subsidiaries of larger organizations — at the top of the list is Waymo, which began as Google's self-driving car unit, and is now reportedly mulling a public offering at some point in the future after raising venture cash all its own. Joining Waymo is Uber's own autonomous vehicle division – a separate entity from the ride-sharing firm with its own CEO and IPO possibilities. And Zoox may be the poster child for how challenging the market can be. Amazon reportedly bought the firm for far less than its previous valuation. Beyond the parking lot of autonomous cars are a variety of interesting companies, all using the tech in different ways. The one thing they have in common, however, is they are backed by wealth many other of tech would envy. Big-data company Palantir is beginning the process to go public. Other standouts on the list include AI farming startup Indigo Ag, hiring firm Checkr, and AI writing company Grammarly. All valuation data is from PitchBook. All companies asked to verify valuation, and where they did it is noted. Business Insider unpacked the top 20 most valuable, VC-backed AI companies below:Waymo: $30.75 billion CEO: John Krafcik Headquarters: Mountain View, California Total funding raised: $3 billion Last funding round: The company raised $3 billion of venture funding in a deal led by Silver Lake Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Mubadala Investment Company in May. Valuation: $30.75 billion Waymo is a self-driving car company that uses integrated sensors and artificial intelligence to detect pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles and road workers, enabling users to travel on-demand in autonomous vehicles. In May, Waymo raised roughly $750 million, expanding the size of its first external investment round to $3 billion. Until last spring, Waymo had been funded entirely by Google and its corporate parent, Alphabet. Palantir Technologies: $20.33 billion CEO: Alex Karp Headquarters: Palo Alto, California Total funding raised: $3.35 billion Last funding round: The company received $549.73 million of financing from Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings on July 1. Valuation: $20.33 billion Palantir makes a data analysis platform that integrates, visualizes, secures and sifts through information. The company helps human experts evaluate data at scale through machine-assisted analysis. Some of that data sifting has led to controversy. Activists have protested Palantir for taking big government contracts to work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to fight undocumented immigration. Palantir's creators have in turn criticized tech companies that don't work with the US government. The company has confidentially filed a draft version of the paperwork for a public listing of its stock. The move sets Palantir up for what could be the highest-profile market debut of the year, after the coronavirus pandemic effectively froze the market for some of the most anticipated IPOs. Uber Advanced Technologies Group: $7.25 billion CEO: Eric Meyhofer Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Total funding raised: $1 billion Valuation: $7.25 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $1 billion of venture funding from Toyota Motor, Denso and SoftBank Investment Advisers in April of 2019. Uber Advanced Technologies Group – a separate entity from its parent company Uber – develops car technology for self-driving cars. The company's system uses various sensors and cameras to detect and analyze driving scenarios, enabling clients to create self-driving cars that reduce human error. Self-driving is notoriously expense to develop, but autonomy is also key to Uber's pitch to investors. The company has revealed that paying drivers is among its top expenses — removing them from the equation could help Uber reach profitability. UiPath: $7.1 billion CEO: Daniel Dines Headquarters: New York Total funding: $977.23 million Valuation: $7.1 billion Last funding round: The company raised $568 million through the combination of Series D-1 and Series D-2 venture funding in a deal led by Coatue Management in April of 2019. UiPath makes robotic automation software that performs tedious and redundant tasks. The company says it can help companies adapt to new needs with a configurable software platform that controls robotic machinery. The coronavirus pandemic could accelerate UiPath's plans to go public, CEO Danile Dines has said, predicting his firm "will have one of the biggest IPOs of 2021." Automation Anywhere: $6.8 billion CEO: Mihir Shukla Headquarters: San Jose, California Total funding: $840 million Valuation: $6.8 billion Last funding round: The company raised $290 million of Series B venture funding in a deal led by Salesforce Ventures in November of 2019. Automation Anywhere makes robotic process automation (RPA) software to augment the human workforce by automating repetitive business processes. The company's solution provides a platform for building and executing software bots powered by artificial intelligence, which the company says reduces costs and programming errors. The firm says stiff competition from Microsoft has forced it to invest more in research and development, and last spring it announced 100 new R&D open positions. Databricks: $6.2 billion CEO: Ali Ghodsi Headquarters: San Francisco Total funding: $897.36 million Valuation: $6.2 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $400 million of Series F venture funding in a deal led by Andreessen Horowitz in October. Databricks makes an analytics platform that simplifies evaluation of big data. The company's cloud and machine learning platform unifies data science, engineering and business, enabling data science teams to work faster and more securely. Databricks, which rolled out a new strategy last month, has a stockpile of more than $500 million to ride through the recession to an IPO thanks to disaster preparedness by its cautious CEO. Samsara: $5.4 billion CEO: Sanjit Biswas Headquarters: San Francisco Total funding: $930 million Valuation: $5.4 billion Last funding round: The company raised $700 million of Series F venture funding from Dragoneer Investment Group, Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic in May. Samsara makes Internet of Things sensors and cameras designed to increase efficiency, safety and sustainability. The company's suite of technology works in an integrated, real-time platform, enabling businesses to improve the safety and quality of business operations. Last year Samsara said it more than doubled its customer base to 10,000, and expanded into 10 new countries, while growing revenue at over 200% annually. Tempus Labs: $5 billion CEO: Eric Lefkofsky Headquarters: Chicago Total funding: $620 million Valuation: $5 billion Last funding round: The company closed on $100 million of Series G venture funding from Novo Holdings, New Enterprise Associates and Baillie Gifford in March. Tempus Labs makes a healthcare data-analytics platform that helps physicians to deliver personalized care for patients through an interactive analytical and machine learning platform. Since launching in 2015, the oncology-focused startup has stocked up a bank of clinical data and architected a system that uses machine learning, genomic sequencing, and other AI tech to enhance clinician understanding of patients' cancer and tailor effective treatments. Indigo Ag: $3.45 billion CEO: David Perry Headquarters: Boston Total funding: $1.12 billion Valuation: $3.45 billion Last funding round: The company raised $500 million of Series F venture funding through a combination of debt and equity in June. Indigo Ag provides agricultural services to predict which microbes are most beneficial to the health of crops and supply seed coatings that enable farmers to reduce risk and increase profitability. The fast-growing firm has picked up speed during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing some analysts to predict acquisition or an initial public offering in the near future. C3.ai: $3.3 billion CEO: Tom Siebel Headquarters: Redwood City, California Total funding: $355.74 million Valuation: $3.3 billion Last funding round: The company raised an estimated $50 million of Series H venture funding from BlackRock in September. C3.ai's cloud software uses machine learning to expedite the integration and analysis of enterprise data to provide companies with predictive maintenance, fraud detection, and energy management to improve operations. CEO Tom Siebel recently said his hot AI startup did $160 million in revenue last year, but that it won't go public until the economy is fully recovered. Aurora: $3.07 billion CEO: Chris Urmson Headquarters: Palo Alto, California Total funding: $765.6 million Valuation: $3.07 billion Last funding round: The company raised $69.51 million of Series B1 venture funding from Hyundai, Kia Motors and Millennium Technology Value Partners in September of 2019. Aurora makes an autonomous car technology that uses advanced machine learning software and hardware to power self-driving cars. Founded in 2017 by veterans of Google, Tesla, and Uber's self-driving car projects, the startup plans to act as a supplier to automotive, tech, or logistics companies. Pony.ai: $3 billion CEO: James Peng Headquarters: Fremont, California Total funding: $726 million Valuation: $3 billion Last funding round: The company raised $462 million of Series B venture funding in a deal led by Toyota Motor in February. Pony makes an autonomous driving technology intended for the manufacturing of automated vehicles. The company's platform takes advantage of artificial intelligence and algorithms to accurately perceive the vehicle's surroundings in order to predict the surrounding drivers' actions and maneuver accordingly. Convoy: $2.75 billion CEO: Dan Lewis Headquarters: Seattle Total funding: $668 million Valuation: $2.75 billion Last funding round: The company raised $400 million of Series D venture funding in a deal led by Generation Investment Management and T. Rowe Price in November. Convoy makes an efficient digital freight network that connects shippers and carriers. The company's technology and data help solve the problem of waste and inefficiency in the trucking industry by matching trucking companies with shippers that need to move freight. The Jeff Bezos-backed trucking startup also raised money from Al Gore's fund in an effort to dominate the digital-freight market. Nuro: $2.7 billion CEO: Jiajun Zhu Headquarters: Mountain View, California Total funding: $1.03 billion Valuation: $2.7 billion Last funding round: The company raised $940 million of Series B venture funding from SoftBank Investment Advisers in February of 2019. Nuro makes a suite of robotics that include autonomous vehicle programs that help to transport goods quickly, safely and affordably. The delivery startup was the first self-driving vehicle company to get permission from the US government to ditch side mirrors and windshields on its delivery vehicles – which experts say could be a precedent for streamlining designs due to greater trust in vehicle safety. SambaNova Systems: $2.5 billion CEO: Rodrigo Liang Headquarters: Palo Alto, California Total funding: $460.6 million Valuation: $2.5 billion Last funding round: The company raised $250 million in a Series C round of venture funding in a deal led by BlackRock in February. SambaNova Systems makes an advanced systems platform and hardware designed to power machine learning and data analytics, enabling manufacturers with AI-powered hardware to create faster and more efficient algorithms. The tech is based on the research of its two former Stanford professor cofounders. The third cofounder, Christopher Ré, was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant for his work in data analysis. Grammarly: $2.3 billion CEO: Brad Hoover Headquarters: San Francisco Total funding: $200 million Valuation: $2.3 billion Last funding round: The company raised $92 million of Series 2 venture funding in a deal led by General Catalyst in October. Grammarly goes beyond just an automated grammar-checker, dictionary, and thesaurus. It uses the linguistic branch of AI called natural language processing to help people write more clearly and effectively by aiding with word choice and tone. In 2018, Grammarly expanded its use to Google Docs, and can be downloaded in beta form. Uptake: $2.3 billion CEO: Bradley Keywell Headquarters: Chicago Total funding: $293 million Valuation: $2.2 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $117 million of Series D venture funding in a deal led by Baillie Gifford in November 2017. Uptake makes a predictive analytics platform that collects and interprets sensor data, enabling businesses to improve uptime, streamline operations and spot growth opportunities. The company says it boasts 1.3 million industrial machines monitored, 2.4 billion hours of machine learning, and failure data from more than 800 different systems. Quanergy: $2.27 billion CEO: Kevin J. Kennedy Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California Total funding: $325 million Valuation: $2.27 billion Last funding round: The company raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding in a deal led by Rising Tide Fund on April 1, 2020. Reshape Holdings and other undisclosed investors also participated in the round. Quanergy makes sensors for self-driving cars. The company's sensors help high-definition mapping data and object detection, tracking and classification. The firm's light detection and ranging technology senses and sizes the location of objects to monitor and detect real-time movement within an indoor space. Checkr: $2.2 billion CEO: Daniel Yanisse Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California Total funding: $309.74M Valuation: $2.2 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $160.63 million of Series D venture funding in a deal led by T. Rowe Price in September. Checkr makes an enterprise platform enabling businesses to hire at scale, improve compliance and streamline operations. The background check software startup has a program that helps delivery services and other essential companies hire new employees on the same day they apply. Zoox: $1.2 billion CEO: Aicha Evans Headquarters: Alpharetta, Georgia Total funding: Not disclosed Valuation: Amazon will pay a reported $1.2 billion to acquire Zoox; PitchBook reports its last private valuation in 2018 at $3.2 billion after a Series C round. Last funding round: The company raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding in June of 2018. Zoox makes an autonomous mobility ecosystem that includes self-driving vehicles, control systems, AI and a ride-sharing service to improve urban mobility. This summer Amazon announced that it plans to buy Zoox for $1.2 billion — a fraction of its previous private valuation — in a move which industry experts told Business Insider is a sign of how competitive this sector is becoming, and how there could be more consolidation to come.