Here Are the Largest Raises in Los Angeles in 2020
Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior reporter, covering venture capital. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks. Follow him on Twitter.
Makers of rockets and video games — and a now-notorious short-form streaming service that ended in spectacular failure — dominated the list of biggest L.A. venture deals in 2020.
The top ten raises amounted to more than $5.3 billion, according to data from Pitchbook. Of the top ten biggest raises, Elon Musk's SpaceX dominated the list. The rocket maker went back to the venture capital well three times this year, most recently in August when it raised $1.9 billion of Series N venture funding from Capital Partners and Legendary Ventures at $44.10 billion valuation.
The company is now reportedly in talks to raise yet another round at an estimated post-money valuation of $92 billion, which would nearly triple its valuation from its January Series L. The company got a boost this month when the Federal Communications Commission awarded it $885.5 million to provide satellite internet service to 642,925 rural homes and businesses over the next decade and more government contracts are likely on the way. Will SpaceX finally go public next year? Some analysts think so.
Those looking for a space play at a lower valuation have turned to Relativity Space, which uses 3-D printers to make rockets. Founded by SpaceX alum Tim Ellis out of Y Combinator in 2015, the Long Beach company raised a $500 million Series D round led by hedge fund Tiger Global Management last month that values the company at $1.8 billion. Ellis said it was the largest Series D in Los Angeles history and it was also one of the largest raises of any kind of 2020.
While SpaceX and Relativity Space continue to soar higher, Quibi crashed and burned after a disastrous April debut. Despite a costly marketing budget that included a Super Bowl spot and high-profile talent deals, the Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman-led venture was never able to make a mark in the highly competitive streaming wars.
The company closed a $750 million funding round in March but investors Alibaba Group, Hollywood Studios International, Pegasus Tech Ventures and WndrCo will likely see little of that money ever again. Quibi quietly shut down earlier this month, after Katzenberg said in October that he did not see a successful path forward.
Two beneficiaries of the stay-at-home economy round out the list of the biggest raises in 2020. Zwift, a Long-Beach based online fitness platform raised nearly half a billion dollars in Series C funding in September. And then there's Scopely, which raised $340 million in Series E funding in October at a $3.3 billion valuation, which nearly doubled the company's $1.7 billion post-money valuation from a $200 million deal in March.
The latest raise makes Scopely one of the most valuable tech companies in Los Angeles, which is a victory – on paper for now – for seed investors Greycroft, The Chernin Group and TenOneTen ventures. They all got in on the ground floor at a $40 million post-money valuation in 2012. Upfront Ventures, BAM Ventures and M13 got in on the 2018 Series C at a $710 post-money valuation.
LA's Top Ten Raises of 2020
Lead art by Candice Navi
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