As COVID-19 drags into another year, we feel lucky that from our vantage point we see a silver lining. 2021 was a year in which we, along with much of the world, learned whether we could stand steady on the ever-shifting grounds that have become our new normal.
It’s been said that “luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” Venture capital, by its nature, requires nimbleness, adaptability, and making the most of change, regardless of the environment. This year of rapid growth and capital raises in the Bee portfolio has resulted in great leaps forward in biomachines, robotics, and market networks. It demonstrates, in our minds, that the Bee Partners community is well positioned to take advantage of both current and future opportunities – even those created by a pandemic.
Some key 2021 highlights from our portfolio:
- Embroker launched plans to become a full-stack insurance provider with a $100M Series C.
- Snapcommerce landed $85M to bring AI-powered savings suggestions to online shoppers.
- Knowde raised $72M to continue bringing the chemicals industry online.
- Florence Healthcare scored a $80 Million Series C to help save lives by supporting clinical trials.
- DeepScribe continued its fight against physician burnout and medical errors with not one, but two rounds of funding, culminating in a $30M Series A.
- New Culture landed $25M to commercialize its animal-free mozzarella cheese.
As a team we expanded our operations and increased portfolio support:
- Principal Kira Noodleman pioneered a Bee office in Denver to take advantage of dealflow and connections in the fertile heartland.
- We added operational expertise with longtime Silicon Valley lead Jocelyne Cooke as our CFO, and Natalie Zensius as our interim Head of Marketing.
- Our associate program continued strong, with Jeff Diamond and Alejandra Vergara, both from Berkeley’s Haas MBA program. We are grateful for their work and excited to support Alejandra as she forges her career in venture capital as an international, Latina woman.
- We added more advisors to the Bee bench, of more than 200+ eminent thought leaders, operators, entrepreneurs, and corporate service providers who build upon Bee Partners’ tribal knowledge and empower our unexpected partnership with Founders.
- We launched the BETA version of our Bee Portal, a hub designed to give the entire Bee community visibility into portfolio company profiles, real-time performance, and operational and growth needs, scaling our ability as a community to engage with and support each other.
In February we launched a new video series, The Garage Sessions, featuring exclusive, behind-the-scenes conversations with our Founders, and in May, we gathered LPs, founders, and key community members from all over the world for our inaugural Pre Seed the Future virtual event to showcase the innovations and promise of our growing portfolio. (If you’d like to view the recordings from Pre Seed the Future, please contact me.
To cap off this activity, we launched Bee Partners IV, which promises to be our largest fund to date, and which will allow us to grow the Bee community further as we welcome our next cohort of innovative founders.
We are leaving 2021 on firm footing, knowing we’re fully prepared for whatever 2022 may yield. And while it’s increasingly difficult to tell the future, here are some of our predictions in venture capital for 2022:
Multiples will expand.
Seed capital will be that much more attractive due to the multiple disparity. Series A firms will continue to abandon the “traditional” Series A to redefine the Seed to the $8-10m range; after that, there will be another atomization of the Seed.
VCs will be eager to invest in new Metaverse platform deals.
There’s a lot of uncertain momentum behind XR, the various permutations of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Between Oculus (Facebook), Snap, Apple, Google, HTC, Microsoft, and more on the hardware side; and notable advances in 2-3D authoring, such as Unity, and CPU/GPU (especially the new Apple Silicon benchmarks), a breakout approach to augmented reality is imminent. We think AR will have the most impact, especially for business. But carbon tech, especially carbon sequestration and mitigation, will become hotter than the Metaverse.
Female founders will lead the way.
The future is definitely female – look no further than the Bee community, where almost a third of our portfolio comprises companies led by women, including the very first position in our newest fund, Bee IV.
The intersection of vectors and industries will continue.
For example, as the insurance industry uses applied data in many operational aspects, we will see an increase in embedded insurance offerings only made possible by the AI and smart software that allows for efficient data collection and usage. (Sidenote: Also expanding, or to be exact, exploding: e-commerce.)
The first production-scale biomachine companies will enter the market.
Why? Because the unit economics/PD will get there alongside the bioreactor supply.
Here’s a timeline of some of the exciting things that happened within the Bee Partners’ community in 2021.
- Principal Kira Noodleman establishes a Bee Partners outpost in the Denver entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- We publish a white paper on healthcare IT, examining areas of B2B opportunity and trends we’re likely to see in the coming decade.
- Future Fields lands $2.2M in Seed funding and produces its first growth media for cellular-meat, biotech, and pharma customers.
- Snapcommerce raises $85M to remake online shopping.
- Cohort closes an $11M Series B funding round to grow across provider and payer systems and expand its clinical AI/NLP platform.
- Skycatch lands a $25M funding round.
- Foodsmart, formerly Zipongo, raises a $25M Series C funding round to help people overcome obesity and its impacts using food as medicine.
- Rapid Robotics’ robotic arm grabs $12M to speed up manufacturing without replacing humans.
- AxleHire raises $20 million to improve sorting, expand its network of hubs, and push further into e-commerce.
- Synthesis AI emerges from stealth with $4.5M to develop new synthetic data tech, especially in human and facial form.
- We partner with Better Ventures and Congruent Ventures to offer unconscious-bias training to create more opportunity for under-represented minorities to thrive in the Bee Partners community.
- RBC Signals closes a $1.2M growth round as demand for space on satellites surges.
- We launch the Bee Portal, an online hub giving the Bee community visibility into portfolio company profiles, real-time performance, and operational and growth needs.
- Florence Healthcare announces a $80 Million Series C, and helps save lives by supporting clinical trials.
- DeepScribe raises a $5.2M Seed round to fight physician burnout and reduce medical errors.
- We hold our inaugural Pre Seed the Future event for our Founders and LPs.
- Crowdbotics raises its Series A.
- Embroker launches plans to become a full-stack insurance provider with a $100M Series C.
- InnerPlant lands $5.65M funding in Seed and pre-Seed funding to help plants talk to farmers.
- Moth+Flame raises $2.5M in Seed funding to bring virtual reality into human resources.
- Geosite raises $5M in a Series A round to become the source of truth for enterprises using spatial data.
- Knowde raises $72M to help bring the chemicals industry into the digital era.
- Rapid Robotics scoops up a $36.7M Series B reflecting rabid interest in robots.
- Speaking of robots, Koop Technologies raises $2.5 million to insure autonomous vehicles.
- Bee appoints Jocelyne Cooke as CFO.
- Tradesy raises a $67M Series D round to squash fast fashion and give shoppers quality second-hand shopping options.
- Zeus Living raises $55M to offer renters beautiful furnished homes on flex terms.
- Vacatia raises a $20M Series B round to continue their remake of the broken timeshare industry.
- DeepScribe raises a second round of funding–$30M in its Series A.
- New Culture lands $25M to commercialize its animal-free mozzarella cheese.