Home Venture Capital Ascend Elements Climbs To The Top

Ascend Elements Climbs To The Top

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Illustration of gardener holding a rake. Venture

Want to keep track of the largest startup funding deals in 2024 with our curated list of $100 million-plus venture deals to U.S.-based companies? Check out The Crunchbase Megadeals Board.

This is a weekly feature that runs down the week’s top 10 announced funding rounds in the U.S. Check out last week’s biggest funding rounds here.

After last week saw 10 rounds of $100 million or more, investors followed up with another strong week that saw a half-dozen startups raise similarly. Also like last week, rounds were split across several verticals, including energy, healthcare and AI. Is the large growth round making a comeback? Or is this a two-week aberration?

1. Ascend Elements, $162M, batteries: It was only about five months ago that Ascend Elements made this list with a huge $460 million Series D led by Decarbonization Partners — a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek focusing on companies in the decarbonization space — Temasek and Qatar Investment Authority. Well, this week the Westborough, Massachusetts-based startup followed up that round with a $162 million investment from investors including Just Climate, Clearvision Ventures and Irongrey. Ascend is a manufacturer of sustainable battery materials for EVs. Founded in 2015, the company has now raised $1.7 billion, per Crunchbase.

2. (tied) Abridge, $150M, healthcare: AI is making a big impact on healthcare — and funding to healthcare startups. Abridge, which is building AI-powered clinical documentation tools, is the latest startup in that realm to raise big. The Pittsburgh-based startup raised a $150 million Series C led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Redpoint Ventures. The new round reportedly values the company at about $850 million. Founded in 2018, the company has raised nearly $208 million, per Crunchbase.

2. (tied) Antora Energy, $150M, energy: Speaking of Decarbonization Partners, the New York-based partnership led a $150 million Series B for Antora Energy this week. The Sunnyvale, California-based startup uses renewable electricity to heat blocks of carbon. That stored heat is then delivered to large industrial customers. The company also produces a thermal battery. Founded in 2017, Antora has raised $230 million, per the company.

4. Hornblower Group, $121M, leisure: Strategic Value Partners acquired a majority ownership stake in New York-based Hornblower, a travel experience company. The M&A agreement also gives Hornblower a fresh infusion of  $121 million in financing from SVP-managed funds and Crestview Partners, which retains a minority stake in the company. Hornblower also announced a reshuffling of some of its units, including trying to sell its overnight cruising business. Clearly a lot is going on.

5. Recogni, $102M, artificial intelligence: Although most startup chipmakers have not seen much love from investors so far this year, Recogni seems to have bucked that trend. The San Jose, California-based firm, which is developing its AI inference chip for both the generative AI and automotive industries, raised a $102 million Series C co-led by Celesta Capital and GreatPoint Ventures. While the company has its roots in designing chips that help autonomous vehicles detect objects, it is now also exploring the AI market. The company’s accelerator chip uses live data in trained models for predictions — all while requiring less energy, the company says. U.S.-based semiconductor funding has slowed in recent quarters, despite the need for new chip designs, thanks to industries such as AI and automotive. Last year such startups saw only $1.2 billion in 66 deals — per Crunchbase data — after raking in more than $2 billion in 2022. This year has seen only a trickle of deals.

6. Eigen Labs, $100M, blockchain: Seattle-based Eigen Labs, the creator of EigenLayer for staking Ethereum, raised a $100 million round from a16z crypto. Founded in 2021, the company has raised $164 million, per Crunchbase.

7. Hadrian, $92M, manufacturing: Per a report, this round actually was completed in December but never really formally announced. Hawthorne, California-based Hadrian raised a $117 million Series B that included $25 million in debt. RTX Ventures, the venture arm of defense prime contractor RTX (formerly Raytheon) and a16z, participated in the round. The company builds “highly automated precision component factories” mainly to produce components for the space and defense industries. Founded in 2020, the company has raised nearly $217 million, per Crunchbase.

8. Frontier Medicines, $80M, pharmaceuticals: South San Francisco, California-based Frontier Medicines, a startup researching therapies against undruggable disease-causing targets, raised an $80 million Series C co-led by Deerfield Management Co. and Droia Ventures. Founded in 2018, Frontier says it has raised $235.5 million.

9. Clumio, $75M, data backup: As risk and regulation grow, so does the data backup industry. After reportedly increasing its ARR 4x last year, Clumio locked up $75 million in a Series D led by Sutter Hill Ventures. The Santa Clara, California-based startup provides data backup and recovery services for companies using the public cloud. Founded in 2017, Clumio has now raised $261 million, per the company.

10. Fabric, $60M, artificial intelligence: New York-based Fabric, which uses artificial intelligence to automate clinical and administrative healthcare work, raised a $60 million round led by General Catalyst. Founded in 2021, the company has raised $80 million, per Crunchbase.

Big global deals

Despite the big rounds domestically, the biggest was an AI round from across the Pacific.

Methodology

We tracked the largest announced rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies for the seven-day period of Feb. 17 to Feb. 23. Although most announced rounds are represented in the database, there could be a small time lag as some rounds are reported late in the week.

Illustration: Dom Guzman


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