VCs And SPACs Raise $1B+ To Invest In Cloud, AI And More Despite Pandemic

Despite wide-ranging economic uncertainties and a challenging investment environment, venture capital (VC) firms and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) are actively raising or seeking fresh funds for investment in the payments space.

Some of the latest fundings include:

Greycroft

Bicoastal venture-capital firm Greycroft raised $680 million that it plans to split between early stage startups ($310 million) and growth-stage startups ($370 million).

Greycroft’s current portfolio includes investments in Axios Media, mobile-games publisher Scopely and Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle startup Goop.

Company Co-Founder and Partner Dana Settle told Bloomberg that Greycroft plans to use the fresh funds to invest in retail-oriented businesses, although it’s also interested in working with health technology, financial technology and grocery-related businesses.

Salesforce Ventures 

Three years after its first foray into strategic investing, Salesforce announced the launch of its second Impact Fund this week.

The new $100 million fund is looking to accelerate the growth of cloud-based companies that it sees as addressing pressing needs such as education, climate action, diversity, equity and inclusion, and providing tech for nonprofits and foundations.

The San Francisco-based global leader in CRM said the new fund is twice the size of its 2017 offering. It will use proceeds to leverage technology and invest in innovative ideas to drive the long-term health and wellness of all citizens.

Fifth Wall And BNP Raise Funds For European Property Tech  

California-based Fifth Wall Ventures, the world’s largest venture capital firm focused on the real estate technology industry, and France’s BNP Paribas launched a new $118 million fund focusing on the European property technology sector.

Fifth Wall Managing Director Roelof Opperman said COVID-19 had not radically changed anything in the sector — but rather, had accelerated everything.

He pointed to the rise of remote working as one example. Where many people used to do video conference calls and work from home once or twice a week, lots of people now do so full-time.

“You are likely to see that real estate trends that would have taken five to 10 years to appear may now occur in the next nine months,” Opperman said.

Kibo III

Kibo Ventures, a Madrid-based digital tech VC, announced the launch of its third fund this week, a €100 million euro portfolio that will be larger than its two previous portfolios.

Like its predecessors, Kibo III will again focus on investing in companies that are headquartered in Spain or Portugal, but aim to grow in the United States.

According to a Kibo blog post on Medium that announced the move, the company has a strong interest in big data and artificial intelligence (AI), mobility and logistics, enterprise software and health and ed-tech. It also plans to invest in companies where technology is a clear differentiator. Kibo added, “We love global companies with very capital efficient structures.”

The SPAC Attack

Although COVID-related economic concerns have hurt VC fundraising over much of 2020, one corner of the investment world that continues to rake in record amounts of money is SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies).

According SPAC Insider, SPACs have raised an unprecedented $40 billion in gross proceeds so far this year through 99 SPAC IPOs.

The latest example this week was a $230 million SPAC launched by eight former restaurant executives under the name Tastemaker Acquisition Corp. The SPAC raised the money to invest in the sector even though restaurants have taken a huge hit since the pandemic struck America in March. The National Restaurant Association estimates the industry has lost $185 billion this year.

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