Ashley Merrill, founder of Lunya, is a serial-entrepreneur and investor whose personal mission is to elevate and empower women and girls.

In 2012, Merrill started business school and in the same month realized she was pregnant with her first child. The news lit a now-or-never fire and pushed her to overcome her fears and launch the company she had been thinking about for years: Lunya, a luxury sleepwear line that provides confidence to the modern woman.

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Newlight Technologies, a biotech company that will use microorganisms to produce biodegradable clothes and utensils, closed a $45 million Series F financing round last week. Houston-based Valedor Partners joined existing Newlight investors GrayArch Partners in completing the Series F financing.

This announcement comes a month after the opening of Newlight's commercial scale production facility in Huntington Beach. That facility was set up to produce the company's AirCarbon material, an alternative to synthetic materials made from the secretions of pollution-eating microorganisms. It will be the main ingredient in the company's two new brands: Restore, an alternative to plastic utensils and Covalent, a high-end fashion brand aimed at the eco-conscious consumer.

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GOAT began as an online sneaker reseller, but the startup's on a meteoric rise having just landed another $100 million investment round. That gives it a $1.75 billion valuation, sources familiar with the transaction said.

Launched five years ago by college friends to "authenticate" used AirJordans and other collectible shoes sought by sneakerheads, GOAT is positioning itself to be a global luxury shoe and apparel retailer as the brick-and-mortar model falls into decline.

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