Top 10 Startups That Raised Capital During The Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected the world economy in so many ways. We’ve all heard about big and small businesses permanently closing their doors or reducing their workforce because of the global health crisis.

With that in mind, it’s truly impressive to learn how certain startup owners not only managed to stay afloat but even succeeded in obtaining massive funding.

In this article, we share the inspirational stories of 10 amazing startups that managed to raise capital in the midst of unprecedented uncertainty:

1. Onda

Launched in June 2020, Onda was noticeably off to a good start as the business quickly secured much-needed funding. As CEO and co-founder Noah Gray said in an AlleyWatch interview, Onda “raised over $1.2M in Series Seed funding from 25madison and other strategic investors”.

Known for its line of canned sparkling tequilas, Onda markets itself as the “premium, ready-to-drink option” for those who love light, refreshing beverages for various occasions.

In more recent news, a May 2021 report by BusinessWire tells us that Onda has announced a “$5 million Series A financing led by Aria Growth Partners”.

2. Arrive Outdoors

Founded in 2017 by the husband-and-wife tandem of Ross Richmond and Rachelle Snyder, Arrive Outdoors is a company that offers customers premium camping gear for rent - wherever they are in the United States.

In July 2020, Arrive Outdoors announced via a blog on their website a “$4.75 million seed round, led by Freestyle Capital”. An official press release also specified that the funds will be used to "grow the team, expand operations and fulfillment, and establish more partnerships with brands, parks and snow resorts".

3. Copado

Copado CEO Ted Elliott not only faced the pandemic’s impact - he also had to survive a battle with Stage 3 colon cancer.

A developer operations (DevOps) platform for SalesForce, Copado managed to secure a “$96 million series B round co-led by Insight Partners and Salesforce Ventures,” VentureBeat reported last February.

In a Fast Company article, Elliott wrote that business owners should learn to take advantage of their sense of humor when presenting to potential investors. According to him, he often jokes about his cancer struggle and his job at Copado.

“I think this humor exuded confidence and a bit of honest vulnerability needed right now,” he added. “Remember, VCs are people too and they’re also feeling this pandemic, professionally and personally.”

4. OZiva

Although India has been struck hard by the pandemic, Mumbai-based startup OZiva has still attracted the attention of investors. A July 2020 Forbes India article reported that “Matrix Partners India led a $5 million Series A round” for the plant-based nutrition brand.

Fast forward to March 2021, OZiva has raised $12 million in Series B funding. Now the grand plan is to add more to the company’s 110 employees and expand their line, including childrens’ nutrition products.

5. Windpact

A former National Football League (NFL) player himself, Shawn Springs understands the importance of protection. So when he started Windpact, he introduced groundbreaking head and body protective solutions mainly for sports use. With the guidance of mentors, he eventually decided to change his game plan and step outside his comfort zone.

Instead of focusing his products on football, Springs began creating helmets for bicycle and scooter riders. He later secured a 2-year contract with the US Department of Defense and he’s been tasked to create padding solutions for military helmets.

“Working with the Defense Department, the largest employer in the world, has helped us stay grounded through the pandemic,” the athlete-turned-entrepreneur said.

6. Olist

Meanwhile, Brazil’s online marketplace platform Olist has raised $23 million led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, bringing the Series D investment total to $80 million.

Tiago Dalvi, founder and CEO, commented, “Olist services small and medium companies which are the ones who were the least prepared for digital sales when the pandemic started.”

7. Crehana

Online learning has increased in popularity during the pandemic and it has opened opportunities for Crehana, an e-learning platform based in Lima, Peru. It eventually led to them closing a $17.5 million Series A investment led by Mountain Nazca.

Diego Olcese Diaz, CEO and co-founder, said that the money will be used for expanding their business operations further, especially in Spanish-speaking countries. “We are becoming remote forever,” he remarked. “The recruiting plan is to find the right person for the right role, no matter where they are.”

8. Descomplica

In February 2021, Brazilian online education firm Descomplica secured $84.5 million in investment funds. According to CEO Marco Fisbhen, the company is aiming to prove that “high-quality education can really be accessible to anyone regardless of socio-economic conditions”.

Established in 2011, Descomplica doubled its total number of employees during 2020 amid the pandemic. Now the platform is reaching more than 5 million users every month.

9. BrightInsight

A tech startup dedicated to helping health companies create their own apps, BrightInsight received $101 million funding in a Series C investment round led by General Catalyst.

An official press release issued by Hemant Taneja, managing director of General Catalyst, read: “We believe BrightInsight can redefine biopharma and medtech’s approach to regulated digital health by providing the underlying platform technology to build and scale their programs.”

As of March 2021, BrightInsight has raised $166 million in investments and the plan is to use the funds to reach more countries and potential users.

10. GoGet

Last but not the least, we have Malaysian startup GoGet which provides companies with an on-demand workforce. Established in 2014 by young entrepreneur Francesca Chia, the business has since grown exponentially as the imposed coronavirus lockdowns caused many individuals to lose their jobs.

Francesca wasted no time and sprang into action, helping many find gigs that match their skills. “In one weekend, we trained the equivalent of a month’s worth of workers,” she said in a CNBC interview.

Amid the pandemic, the company has almost doubled its number of gig workers to 20,000. “We could not ever be more timely as a solution than we are right now,” she added.

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