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Spotlights on HawkEye 360 & RealityDefender, Fundings: Manta Biofuel, Clone, Ready Robotics
15 March 2023 - A Weekly Publication by New North Ventures
Great things are happening this week for two of our fabulous portfolio companies!
First, we are excited to share the incredible progress made by HawkEye 360 under the leadership of CEO John Serafini, who has just been recognized as one of the Top 35 Executives to Watch in 2023 by WashingtonExec. Under Serafini's guidance, HawkEye 360 has achieved remarkable milestones, including a Series D round of funding and multiple U.S. government contracts. The opening of the company's manufacturing facility in Virginia has also brought high-paying, mission-focused jobs to the local economy. With further launches planned in 2023 and advancements in technologies on the horizon, we can't wait to see what the future holds for HawkEye 360.
We are also thrilled to announce that RealityDefender has won the coveted AI, Voice, and Robotics category at the SXSW Pitch Awards. The annual competition, held during the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, highlights some of the most innovative startups across various industries.
We're incredibly proud of the RealityDefender team for their well-deserved win, which is a testament to their hard work and dedication to creating cutting-edge AI technology. With this win, we're excited to see what the future holds for RealityDefender and its continued success in the industry. You can listen to RealityDefender CEO Ben Coleman discuss the creation of deepfakes and its implications on this week’s episode of the RANE Insights podcast here.
Elevator Pitch: Algae-based renewable crude oil intended to offer renewable energy inspired by nature.
Funding: The company raised $144812 of targeted $1.3 million Amount of equity crowdfunding via StartEngine as of March 10, 2023, putting the company's pre-money valuation at $8.98 million.
Elevator Pitch: Biomimetic and power-dense androids designed to solve the most common problems of daily life.
Funding: The company raised $309,828 of an undisclosed targeted amount of equity crowdfunding in the form of SAFE Notes via Republic as of March 13, 2023, putting the company's post valuation at $30 million.
Elevator Pitch: An enterprise-grade automation interface designed to improve the quality of life and productivity through automation.
Funding: The company raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding from Rockwell Automation on March 8, 2023.
Although bilateral trade with China in 2022 increased to a record $690.6 billion, bilateral relations deteriorated to their lowest level since the normalization of relations in 1979.
Chinese military aircraft continually violating Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone, Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s cancellation of his visit to China due to the Chinese surveillance balloon, and China’s continued support of Russia in its war with Ukraine have contributed to greater distrust between the US and China.
These and other issues with China — the suppression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, the national security law imposed on Hong Kong, the militarization of islands and reefs in the South China Sea, assertiveness in waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands, the theft of intellectual property and civil-military fusion — have contributed to an exponential downturn in U.S.-China relations.
When Arab leaders met Xi Jinping at a regional summit in Riyadh last December, the Chinese head of state pitched an unprecedented idea: a high-level gathering of Gulf Arab monarchs and Iranian officials in Beijing in 2023.
Mr. Xi’s diplomatic initiative shows that Beijing sees a central role for itself as a new power broker in the Middle East, a strategic region where the U.S. has been the most influential outside player for decades. No longer focused exclusively on energy and trade flows, China’s foray into the region’s politics signals a new chapter in competition between Beijing and Washington.
China is the biggest importer of Iranian oil and has significant economic leverage there. Before Friday’s announcement, China allowed Iran to tap parts of funds in Chinese banks—which total $20 billion—that were frozen when the U.S. left the nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions in 2018.
The Saudi-Iran deal, hashed out behind closed doors in Beijing last week, takes on some of the most sensitive issues between two countries that have been on opposite sides of proxy conflicts across the Middle East for years.
When Silicon Valley Bank collapsed on March 10, Garry Tan, president and CEO of startup incubator Y Combinator, called SVB’s failure “an extinction level event for startups” that “will set startups and innovation back by 10 years or more.”
The second- and third-order impacts of startups hitting financial trouble or just slowing down could be more pernicious. For example, Sarah Kunst, managing director of Cleo Capital, notes, “Imagine you wake up and go to unlock your door, and because they’re a tech company banking with SVB who can no longer make payroll, your app isn’t working, and you’re struggling to unlock your door.”
SVB’s failure will also have longer-term impacts beyond the next few weeks and months. The collapse of the leading specialist in providing financial services to tech companies could make it harder for the next generation of startups to find what they need to build their business. And after witnessing the herd-like, Twitter-fueled rush to pull money out of SVB, other banks may be cautious toward tech out of fear of experiencing the same problems SVB faced.
Look for an episode of Securing the Future Podcasts wherever you listen. In our latest episode, we have guest Daniel Turner sit down with General Partner Jeremy Hitchcock for an engaging conversation where Turner explores his path from the intelligence community to the startup world, his biggest takeaways as a first-time founder, and the application of his government background in the private sector. Listen below on Spotify.