Fintech, pharma and Russian investigations see funding rounds fly

18 May 2017

Image: Midiwaves/Shutterstock

Several start-ups enjoyed successful funding rounds this week, with Russian hacks seeing cybersecurity interest at its highest point in a long time.

At the start of this week, the fallout from the WannaCry ransomware attack took hold, with one of the more subtle developments perhaps proving the most interesting.

With more than 150 countries hit since the malware emerged last Friday (12 May), ripping through Russia, south-east Asia and most of Europe, major bodies such as the NHS, Renault, Telefónica and MegaFon have battled to different degrees to stay up and running.

Yet it’s the money trail that is now catching the eye – and not the money paid to the ransomers.

Capital gains

The market capitalisations in five of the biggest cybersecurity companies ranked on the PureFunds ISE Cyber Security exchange-traded fund, known as HACK, rose significantly in the few days after WannaCry emerged.

Among its companies, Symantec added $750m to its market cap in less than a week.

This interest in cybersecurity companies is trickling down the line, too. For example, CrowdStrike has revealed that it raised $100m in recent days, with its valuation nearing $1bn and its total funds raised to more than $250m.

Founded by two former executives of McAfee, CrowdStrike was one of the first companies to claim Russian interference in the US presidential election process, specifically relating to the hack of the Democratic National Committee.

LevelUp levels up

Elsewhere, US fintech start-up LevelUp raised $50m from the likes of JPMorgan Chase and US Boston Capital, with its total funding now at $85m.

The company provides an app to a reported 1m users per month through its clients, with payment options for partner companies, loyalty rewards and certain analytics made available.

As reported by CNBC, its technology is used to power aspects of the Chase Pay mobile payments app, “particularly the in-store loyalty and rewards programmes and the order-ahead payment options offered by merchants that have signed up with LevelUp”.

Pop-up funding

Appear Here, a marketplace for the emerging and popular short-term retail space scene, raised $12m in the US this week.

The Series B round, led by Octopus Ventures, has boosted the start-up’s total funding to more than $21m.

“With our international expansion, we’re excited to continue to build deep relationships in the top retail cities around the world,” said Ross Bailey, founder and CEO of Appear Here.

“Appear Here is the world leader at what we do and this is the perfect time for us to scale. We’ve got offices in London, Paris and New York, and now we’re looking forward to launching more tools and opening up new locations for our growing community to take their ideas to the next level.”

Elsewhere, Capsule, a pharmacy delivery start-up, confirmed this week that it raised $20m from Thrive Capital. The company only operates in New York at the moment.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic