Ascend raises $5.5M to provide a BNPL option for commercial insurance

Ascend

Ascend on Wednesday announced a $5.5 million seed round to further its insurance payments platform that combines financing, collections and payables.

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SmarterTravel sheds HopJump name, begins a new journey with $9.5M round

Smarter Travel

Travel startups continue to rake in venture capital dollars as more people become comfortable traveling amid the global pandemic. The latest is SmarterTravel, which brought in $9.5 million in Series B funding co-led by Link Ventures and Second Alpha, with existing investors also participating.

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AgBiome lands $166M for safer crop protection technology

AgBiome

AgBiome, developing products from microbial communities, brought in a $116 million Series D round as the company prepares to pad its pipeline with new products.

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Trade promotion management startup Cresicor raises $5.6M to keep tabs on customer spend

Cresicor

Cresicor, a consumer packaged goods trade management platform startup, raised $5.6 million in seed funding to further develop its tools for more accurate data and analytics. The company, based remotely, focuses on small to midsize CPG companies, providing them with an automated way to manage their trade promotion, a process co-founder and CEO Alexander Whatley said is done primarily manually using spreadsheets.

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Affinity, a relationship intelligence company, raises $80M to help close deals

Affinity

Affinity wants to take what Ray Zhou, co-founder and CEO, refers to as “data exhaust,” all of those daily interactions and communications, and apply machine learning analysis and provide insights on who in the organization has the best chance of getting that initial meeting and closing the deal.

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Allianz backs AV8 Ventures’ second fund focused on AI technologies

av8 Ventures

AV8 Ventures unveiled its AV8 Ventures II fund with $180 million from Allianz Group, an insurance and asset management giant, aimed at supporting entrepreneurs developing artificial intelligence-driven technologies in the areas of health, mobility, enterprise and deep tech.

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Fin names former Twilio exec Evan Cummack as CEO, raises $20M

Fin

Work insights platform Fin raised $20 million in Series A funding and brought in Evan Cummack, a former Twilio executive, as its new chief executive officer. The San Francisco-based company captures employee workflow data from across applications and turns it into productivity insights to improve the way enterprise teams work and remain engaged.

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Virtual meeting platform Vowel raises $13.5M, aims to cure meeting fatigue

Vowel

Meetings are an inevitable part of the work day, but as workplaces became more distributed over the past 18 months, Vowel CEO Andy Berman says we are steadily moving toward “death by meeting.” His virtual meeting platform is the latest to receive venture capital funding — $13.5 million — with the goal of making meetings more useful before, during and after.

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Customer experience startup Clootrack raises $4M, helps brands see through their customers’ eyes

Clootrack

It announced $4 million in Series A funding, led by Inventus Capital India, and included existing investors Unicorn India Ventures, IAN Fund and Salamander Excubator Angel Fund, as well as individual investment from Jiffy.ai CEO Babu Sivadasan. In total, the company raised $4.6 million, co-founder Shameel Abdulla told TechCrunch.

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YouTravel.Me packs up $1M to match travelers with curated small group adventures

You Travel

Today YouTravel.Me announces raising $1 million to continue developing its online platform designed for matching like-minded travelers to small-group adventures organized by travel experts. Starta VC led the round and was joined by Liqvest.com, Mission Gate and a group of individual investors like Bas Godska, general partner at Acrobator Ventures.

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Pixalate tunes into $18.1M for fraud prevention in television, mobile advertising

Pixalate

Pixalate raised $18.1 million in growth capital for its fraud protection, privacy and compliance analytics platform that monitors connected television and mobile advertising. Western Technology Investment and Javelin Venture Partners led the latest funding round, which brings Pixalate’s total funding to $22.7 million to date. This includes a $4.6 million Series A round raised back in 2014, Jalal Nasir, founder and CEO of Pixalate, told TechCrunch.

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Goodcall picks up $4M, Yelp partnership to answer merchant inbound calls

Goodcall

Goodcall announced its launch Wednesday with $4 million in seed funding led by strategic investors Neo, Foothill Ventures, Merus Capital, Xoogler Ventures, Verissimo Ventures and VSC Ventures, as well as angel investors including Harry Hurst, founder and co-CEO of Pipe.com, and Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff.

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PayEm comes out of stealth with $27M and its answer to the expense report

Payem

Itamar Jobani was a software developer working for a medical company and “hated that time of the month” when he had to use the company’s chosen reimbursement tool. “It was full of friction and as part of the company’s wellness team, I felt an urge to take care of the employee experience and find a better tool,” Jobani told TechCrunch. “I looked for something, but didn’t find it, so I tried to build it myself.” What resulted was PayEm.

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Compounds Foods brews up $4.5M to make coffee without beans

Compound Foods - Beanless coffee

Maricel Saenz, founder and CEO of Compound Foods, is among the over 80% of Americans who love a cup of coffee daily. And she also loves the environment. However, when the Costa Rican-born entrepreneur, now living in the Bay Area, saw how climate change was affecting coffee growers around the world — coffee is the fifth-most polluting crop in the value chain — she wanted to create a coffee product that tasted good, but was also sustainable.

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Sales experience platform Walnut raises $15M to improve product demonstrations

Walnut

Walnut raised $15 million in Series A funding, led by Eight Roads Ventures, to continue developing its sales experience platform. Founders Yoav Vilner and Danni Friedland started the company in July 2020. Vilner told TechCrunch that while at a previous company, he was building a category called technology marketing in Israel. He realized that company sales people often ran into problems when it was time to demonstrate their product.

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Job offer management platform Compa emerges from stealth with $3.9M

Compa

Compa emerged from stealth Thursday with $3.9 million in seed funding led by Base10 Partners. Participation in the round also came from Crosscut Ventures and Acadian Ventures, as well as a group of strategic angel investors including 2.12 Angels, Oyster HR CEO Tony Jamous and Scout RFP co-founders Stan Garber and Alex Yakubovich.

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Workera.ai, a precision upskilling platform, taps $16M to close enterprise skills gap

Workera

Finding the right learning platform can be difficult, especially as companies look to upskill and reskill their talent to meet demand for certain technological capabilities, like data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence roles. Workera.ai’s approach is to personalize learning plans with targeted resources — both technical and nontechnical roles — based on the current level of a person’s proficiency, thereby closing the skills gap.

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Tuna raises $3M to address complexity of e-commerce payments in Latin America

Tuna is on a mission to “fine tune” the payments space in Latin America and has raised two seed rounds totaling $3 million, led by Canary and by Atlantico. Alex Tabor, Paul Ascher and Juan Pascual met each other on the engineering team of Peixe Urbano, a company Tabor co-founded and he referred to as a “Groupon for Brazil.” While there, they came up with a way to use A/B testing to create a way of dealing with payments in different markets.

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Bodo.ai secures $14M, aims to make Python better at handling large-scale data

Bodo AI

Bodo.ai, a parallel compute platform for data workloads, is developing a compiler to make Python portable and efficient across multiple hardware platforms. It announced Wednesday a $14 million Series A funding round led by Dell Technologies Capital.

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Tango dances in with $5.7M, making employee onboarding easier

Tango

Ken Babcock and his co-founders, Dan Giovacchini and Brian Shultz, were in the midst of Harvard Business School in March 2020 when they felt the call to start Tango, a Chrome extension that auto-captures workflow best practices so that teams can learn from their top performers.

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