African payments company Flutterwave raises $170M, now valued at over $1B

The proliferation of fintech services across Africa remains in full swing as investors remain bullish about the opportunities that abound in the sector. Today we behold another unicorn: African payments company Flutterwave announced that it has closed $170 million, valuing the company over $1 billion.

New York-based private investment firm Avenir Growth Capital and US hedge fund and investment firm Tiger Global led the Series C round. New and existing investors who participated include DST Global, Early Capital Berrywood, Green Visor Capital, Greycroft Capital, Insight Ventures, PayPal, Salesforce Ventures, Tiger Management, WorldpayFIS 9yards Capital

The Series C round comes a year after Flutterwave closed its $35 million Series B and $20 million Series A in 2018. In total, Flutterwave has raised $225 million and is one of the few African startups to have secured more than $200 million in funding

Launched in 2016 as a Nigerian and U.S.-based payments company with offices in Lagos and San Francisco, Flutterwave helps businesses build customizable payments applications through its APIs.

When the company raised its Series B, we reported that Flutterwave had processed 107 million transactions worth $5.4 billion. Right now, those numbers have increased to over 140 million transactions worth over $9 billion. The company, which also helps businesses outside Africa to expand their operations on the continent, has an impressive clientele of international companies. Some of them include Booking.com, Facebook, Flywire, and Uber.

Flutterwave says over 290,000 businesses use its platform to carry out payments. And according to the company’s statement, they can do so “in 150 currencies and multiple payment modes including local and international cards, mobile wallets, bank transfers, Barter by Flutterwave.”

While its website shows an active presence in 11 African countries, Flutterwave CEO Olugbenga Agboola, also known as GB, told TechCrunch the company is live in 20 African countries with an infrastructure reach in over 33 countries on the continent.

Last year was a pivotal one for the five-year-old company. Its second investment came just in time before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Africa, negatively impacting some businesses but not payments companies like Flutterwave.

Agboola says his company grew more than 100% in revenue within the past year due to the pandemic without giving specifics on numbers. It also contributed to its compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 226% from 2018.  

According to the CEO, this growth resulted from an increase in activities in “COVID beneficiary sectors”  — a term used by Flutterwave to describe sectors positively impacted by the pandemic. They include streaming, gaming, remittance, e-commerce, among others. Agboola adds that the company plans to ride on these sectors’ growth and continue in that trajectory.

Besides, Flutterwave’s response in introducing the Flutterwave Store for merchants during pandemic-induced lockdowns was instrumental as well. The product, which went live across 15 African countries, helps over 20,000 merchants to create storefronts and sell their products online.

Image Credits: Flutterwave

Flutterwave wants to become a global payments company, and the Series C investment helps to reach that goal. The company says it plans to use the funds to speed up customer acquisition in its present markets. It will also improve existing product offerings like Barter, where it has over 500,000 users, and introduce new offerings. One such is Flutterwave Mobile, which in the founder’s words “will turn merchants’ mobile devices into a point of sale, allowing them to accept payments and make sales.”

In a statement, Agboola gives credit to the company’s more than 300 staff, investors, customers, and regulatory bodies like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for creating the backbone for Flutterwave’s success.

For some, it would come off as strange that the CEO mentioned the last stakeholder given the unfavourable and questionable regulations it has recently placed on fintechs in Nigeria.

However, Agboola thinks the reverse is the case. He makes a bold statement by saying that under the current CBN governor’s current administration, the Central Bank has shown a consistent regulatory framework that has allowed fintechs like Flutterwave to thrive.

“Flutterwave, for instance, launched when the governor just came in. We got our license and scaled our business because of a favourable regime that allowed it to be possible. There are so many trailblazing innovations that we don’t talk about a lot about Nigeria, like the BVN and the NIP system. Nigeria has consistently been at the forefront of payments innovation for over a decade, and all it was possible because of the forward-looking CBN policies,” he said.

On exits, acquisitions, and the billion-dollar club

One fintech company that has unquestionably championed payments in this timeframe is Interswitch. The payments giant is currently worth $1 billion after Visa acquired a 20% stake in 2019 and Flutterwave joins the company as the only fintechs in Nigeria to have reached that valuation. This number increases to four in Africa when including publicly traded African e-commerce company, Jumia and Egyptian payments company Fawry.

Flutterwave’s $170 million mammoth raise and its billion-dollar valuation represent a landmark achievement for the African startup scene. While the aforementioned companies’ valuations can’t be disputed, there are question marks on whether some are startups or others, African companies.

Interswitch, for instance, was founded in 2002, which doesn’t necessarily make it a startup despite still being private. Fawry was launched in 2007 but didn’t become a billion-dollar company until 2020, a year after going public. Jumia, albeit public, reached unicorn status as a private company in 2016; however, there are varying consensus if it is an African company or not.

Unlike the others, Flutterwave checks all the boxes of what a billion-dollar African startup should ideally look like — founded by Africans in Africa while reaching a $1 billion valuation in fewer than 10 years.

Most stakeholders in Africa’s tech ecosystem knew this would happen, but the timing expected was later rather than sooner. After raising $35 million in a Series B in 2020, who would have thought Flutterwave was going to raise almost five times that amount the following round and be valued at more than $1 billion the next year? Maybe just a few.

Well, these numbers rarely matter to Agboola, as I ask him what he thinks of Flutterwave’s new growth metric. “I’ll say valuation is both art and science. At some point, we were also the most valuable African company at YC, but it’s not really a metric we’re focused on at Flutterwave because they move up and down,” he smiles. “Our key metrics have always been revenue, customer growth and retention.”

Aptly said, but as the company continues to grow, questions around profitability and exit will become more frequent.

Paystack, another Nigerian payments company that is often compared to Flutterwave got acquired by Stripe for more than $200 million last year. At the time, there were also rumours of Flutterwave taking the same route, but this Series C raise suggests that the company is not looking to exit at the moment. However, if the YC-backed company indeed does, it might be through an IPO.

“Like every other startup, we’re thinking about ways to create exit tools for our investors. So, a listing is very much in our plans, but for now, we’re focused on giving the best value to our customers,” Agboola said. 

In the course of the company’s journey to this point, it has remained big on partnerships. In 2019, Flutterwave partnered with Visa to launch Barter and Alipay to offer digital payments between Africa and China. Then last year, the company announced a partnership with Worldpay FIS for payments in Africa.

Although Flutterwave has done this with bigger establishments, Agboola says the company will be looking to do the same with smaller companies, opening the doors to potential acquisitions.

We believe in payments in partnership as you have to partner to scale. So, if in the course of making partnerships and scaling and we identify promising companies with a similar ethos and have our vision in mind, that is in making Africa a country, an acquisition isn’t off the table,” he said.

After capturing much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Agboola says Flutterwave’s next plan is to go live in North Africa. There, it will likely face competition from a local leader, Fawry, but that doesn’t matter. The African fintech market is large enough to accommodate multiple players.

That’s one reason why it has also been a popular bet with investors. The sector, which is both local and international investors’ top destination, attracted between 25% to 31% of the total VC funding last year from varying sources.

But from the information on their websites, this is the first time Flutterwave’s lead investors —  Avenir Growth Capital and Tiger Global — are backing an African fintech startup. For the former, Flutterwave represents the first African startup in its portfolio, but Tiger Global is known to have invested in Nigerian media company iROKOtv and South African e-commerce company, Takealot.

Via their partners — Jamie Reynolds of Avenir Growth Capital and Scott Shleifer of Tiger Global, both firms said they’re backing Flutterwave on its quest to build a global and world-class payments company.

Looking into the future, Agboola insists that the company’s focus remains to support its 290,000 merchants and help them build global businesses.

“We look forward to increasing our investments across the continent and deepening the impact our platform has on lives and livelihoods as we take more businesses in Africa to the world, and at the same time continue to bring more of the world to Africa,” he said.

 

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The 26 billion-dollar startups to watch that are revolutionizing healthcare in 2021

Summary List PlacementThe financial calamities predicted at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t materialize for most healthcare startups. 
The industry’s up-and-coming private companies largely benefited from the one-two punch of financial concerns in other parts of the market and an increased focus on healthcare with all eyes on America’s wavering pandemic response.
2020 will likely go down as one of the single most pivotal years for the US healthcare industry in history. Even outside large hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, private startups raised a whopping $17 billion in 2020, a 57% increase over 2019’s record, according to a new report from Silicon Valley Bank.
That led to a new herd of healthcare unicorns, private companies valued at or above $1 billion. Some former unicorns, like GoodRx and Amwell, made public market debuts while others continued raising venture capital and private financings while the market was favorable. Some startups raised two separate funding rounds in the last year alone.
Read more: The 8 digital health startups to watch that are changing healthcare in 2021
Business Insider rounded up the 26 healthcare companies currently valued at more than $1 billion, according to Pitchbook and additional reporting.SEE ALSO: Investors think Amazon and Alphabet could set the pace for healthcare deals in 2021. Here’s what they are watching.
MDLive – $1 billion

MDLive is a long-standing telemedicine provider that has boomed during the pandemic. The 11-year-old company offers a suite of digital health and virtual care services to its patients in the United States and operates on a similar level to its competitor, telehealth giant Teladoc.
Teladoc in October completed its merger with Livongo, a company that helps patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes, spurring speculation that MDLive may pursue a similar blockbuster deal in 2021. 
MDLive indicated its plan to go public in 2021 instead when it announced $50 million in equity investment in September. According to Pitchbook data, the round valued MDLive at $1 billion and also included $25 million in debt financing as a separate transaction.
— Megan Hernbroth
Cityblock Health – $1 billion

Cityblock Health wants to improve healthcare outcomes for low-income patients through its social support services for what investors call social determinants of health in addition to its virtual care service.
These factors, which include access to public transportation, affordable and reliable housing, and nutritious food, operate outside the four walls of a clinic or doctor’s office but have massive implications on patients’ long-term health.
Cityblock Health raised $160 million in Series C funding on December 14, catapulting the three-year-old startup to the unicorn club.
Investors recently told Business Insider that startups like Cityblock could be poised to rise even further in 2021 as the pandemic continues and the inequities in care remain at the forefront of the nation’s response.
— Megan Hernbroth
Virta Health – $1.1 billion

Virta Health is a Silicon Valley startup that combines virtual care and the trendy ketogenic diet to help patients with diabetes. 
Virta encourages patients with type 2 diabetes to adopt a low-carb, high-fat diet and matches them with trained professionals to help track and manage their symptoms. In a peer-reviewed study Virta funded, researchers found that these changes to a patient’s diet could ultimately reduce or remove the need for medications like insulin.
Virta raised $93 million in Series C funding in January 2020 before raising another $65 million in Series D funding on December 2. The subsequent round valued the startup its $1.1 billion, Bloomberg reported.
— Megan Hernbroth
 
Lyra Health – $1.1 billion

Lyra is a mental health startup that works with companies to provide better benefits to employees. The startup has a network of therapists, coaches, and other care providers that provide virtual care visits to any employee with access to the software at little or no cost.
The service has been booming during the pandemic, according to investors, as remote employees struggle with work-life balance and employers seek to replace the enticing in-office perks with options that benefit more people.
Lyra raised $110 million in Series D funding on August 27, earning the five-year-old startup a $1.1 billion valuation, according to Pitchbook data.
Investors have been eager to back mental health startups in 2020, and many told Business Insider they foresee that trend only increasing in 2021. 
— Megan Hernbroth
 
Sema4 – $1.1 billion

Sema4 is a data analytics startup based in Stamford, Connecticut, that looks at data sets of large populations to gain insight into health outcomes. The company spun out of the Mount Sinai Health System in 2017, and was named for a system of sending messages using codes, which is the core function of its technology.
On July 29, the company said that it raised $121 million in Series C funding from BlackRock Innovation Capital Group, Mount Sinai Health System, The Blackstone Group, Moore Strategic Ventures, Deerfield Management, Oak HC/FT, Decheng Capital, Connecticut Innovations, and Section 32.
The round came about a year after a $120 million Series B funding round. In total the company has raised nearly $371 million, according to Pitchbook data.
— Megan Hernbroth
Freenome – $1.2 billion

Freenome is a liquid biopsy startup that seeks to detect cancer through a routine blood draw. 
“What we’re aiming to do is develop a test that healthy patients would take as part of their annual physical that tells you whether or not somebody’s going to have cancer,” cofounder and CEO Gabe Otte told Business Insider in 2016 following the company’s seed funding round.
Otte developed technology that can read the human genome for early markers of cancer by looking at a patient’s blood instead of more traditional biopsies that rely on sampling tumor cells. In the years since his first fundraising round, Otte and his team have also created software that creates a system for early disease detection and screenings.
The San Francisco-based company raised $270 million in Series C funding in July. Its investors include GV, Roche Venture Fund, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Fidelity Investments, Novartis, American Cancer Society, Andreessen Horowitz, BrightEdge Ventures, Polaris Partners, Section 32, RA Capital Management, and Farallon Capital Management, among others. It has raised more than $508 million in total, according to Pitchbook data.
— Megan Hernbroth
 
 
Rakuten Medical – $1.2 billion

Headquartered in San Diego, Rakuten Medical develops precision-targeted cancer therapies designed to treat solid tumors. 
The biotech is led by the Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani, who is also founder and CEO of the large Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten. Mikitani said he was inspired to fund the cancer research after his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012.
Rakuten Medical has raised about $471 million, according to PitchBook. Both Mikitani and Rakuten have invested in Rakuten Medical.
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer
Orca Bio – $1.2 billion

Biotech startup Orca Bio creates new cell therapies for procedures like bone marrow transplants that help strengthen patients’ immunity. The doses are personalized to each patient and are built cell-by-cell using another person’s blood.
According to the company, this treatment could help cure certain diseases and decrease side effects commonly experienced with current drugs. In November, the startup released a study of its therapy’s success on patients with graft-versus-host disease, a complication commonly associated with transplant recipients. 
The Silicon Valley company raised $192 million in Series D funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and 8VC on June 17. According to Pitchbook data, it has raised $300 million since it was founded in 2016.
— Megan Hernbroth
Whoop – $1.2 billion

Whoop makes a health and fitness tracking strap that has won over everyone from Lebron James to Eli Manning to Kevin Durant.
The strap, which functions similar to existing watch fitness trackers, allegedly helped PGA Tour golfer Nick Watney detect early COVID-19 symptoms by picking up on his elevated respiratory rate, in addition to integrating with popular fitness app Strava. The strap itself costs nothing and is included with a membership for $30 a month or $288 for one year.
The 8-year-old startup was founded by 31-year-old founder and CEO Will Ahmed. On October 28, Whoop said it had raised $100 million in Series E funding at a $1.2 billion valuation. 
— Megan Hernbroth
Butterfly Network – $1.3 billion

Butterfly Network, a company that developed an iPhone-based ultrasound device, wants to make the technology more accessible to doctors and healthcare workers so they can make more precise diagnoses on the move. 
The device, called Butterfly iQ, plugs into the iPhone and isn’t much bigger than the phone itself. It’s been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in imaging the abdomen, bladder, and heart. 
In September 2018, Butterfly raised $250 million from investors such as Fidelity, Fosun Pharma, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In total, the company raised $370 million. 
In November, the company said it plans to go public via a merger with the special purpose acquisition company Longview Acquisition Corp., a deal that would value the company at $1.5 billion. The deal, commonly referred to as a SPAC, was among a wave of similar reverse mergers that allowed startups to forgo the traditional IPO process while still taking advantage of public markets investors.
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer
Everlywell – $1.3 billion

Everlywell offers at-home testing kits for food sensitivity, fertility, hormones, STDs, and thyroid or metabolism issues, all compliant with federal standards. The startup sends samples to accredited labs, which perform the tests using patient-provided samples similar to what would occur at a routine doctor’s office visit. 
The tests are not currently covered by any insurance providers, but Everlywell says that it tries to keep its pricing simple and easy for consumers to understand. 
Everlywell patients receive results that have been reviewed by licensed physicians through a mobile app. They are then able to take those to a primary care or specialist provider without having to step foot in a traditional medical testing lab. The startup received national attention when founder Julia Cheek pitched the idea on Shark Tank.
In March, Everlywell announced it was also offering an at-home COVID-19 test as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the United States. It partnered with independent labs to scale infrastructure to the point where it can handle up to 250,000 tests weekly, according to the company.
The company raised $25 million in Series C funding in February 2020. On December 3, the startup announced it raised $175 million in Series D funding from Goodwater Capital, Highland Capital Partners, and Next Coast Ventures in addition to several private equity firms. In total, the company has raised more than $250 million.
— Megan Hernbroth
Grand Rounds – $1.3 billion

Grand Rounds works with companies like Walmart and Home Depot to offer an on-demand healthcare virtual assistant to employees as an employer-provided benefit. The company previously focused on large self-insured companies like the aforementioned, but have recently started selling to medium-sized companies as the pandemic left many employers scrambling to offer relevant benefits while maintaining low costs.
In September, Grand Rounds raised $175 million from private equity firm Carlyle Group that launched its valuation to $1.3 billion, according to Pitchbook data.  
“As COVID hit and these employers, to take care of digital and work-from-home workforces across the country, they all had unique situations and needs pop up,” Carlyle Group investor and Grand Rounds board member Robert Schmidt told Business Insider in September.
— Megan Hernbroth
 
Ro – $1.5 billion

Ro is a direct-to-consumer provider that offers generic medications for conditions such as erectile dysfunction, hair loss, and weight management through the mail. Patients can consult a doctor through Ro’s telemedicine service throughout the course of treatment and are required to pay a cash fee for medication and the visit since Ro doesn’t accept insurance. 
The three-year-old company raised $200 million in venture funding on July 27, nabbing a $1.5 billion valuation as a result. It acquired Workpath, another startup that provides in-home care services, in December as it seeks to expand beyond digital health.
— Megan Hernbroth
Olive – $1.5 billion

Olive makes automation technology for healthcare workers. Its artificial intelligence software picks up on keystrokes to learn how a healthcare worker interacts with specific applications and provide suggestions for tasks like prior authorizations or patient verifications. It also has a tool to help automate processes in hospitals’ human resources, finance, and supply chain departments.
Olive raised $106 million in venture funding in September, just months after raising $51 million in March. It is currently valued at $1.5 billion, according to Pitchbook data. In December acquired Verata Health to further expand its services to insurance companies and hospitals.
— Megan Hernbroth
Hims – $1.6 billion

Be it depression, hair loss, or erectile dysfunction, Hims wants men to “take care of themselves” without fear of stigma via its suite of telemedicine and personal care offerings.
Besides online primary care visits and therapy, it sells hair, skin, and sex products directly to consumers. Its sister site, Hers, offers similar services for women. Hims says its total funding to date is $260 million.
On October 1, the company announced that it was going public through a reverse merger with blank-check company Oaktree, that valued Hims publicly at $1.6 billion.  
Its investors include Atomic, Maverick Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Founders Fund, 8VC, and Redpoint Ventures.
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer & Megan Hernbroth
HeartFlow – $1.6 billion

HeartFlow is trying to make the process of finding blockages in the heart a lot less invasive. Using imaging from a CT scan, HeartFlow builds a 3D model that pinpoints the blockages associated with coronary-artery disease, a heart condition that affects millions of Americans and is the leading cause of death in the US. 
HeartFlow is based in Redwood City, California, and reached unicorn status in 2018 after raising $240 million. In total, the company has raised $532 million. 
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer
Zocdoc – $1.8 billion

Zocdoc helps patients book doctors’ appointments and check-in for them — everything from primary care to dental to optometry appointments.
Users can search based on procedures, conditions, and even a particular doctor they might want to book an appointment with.
In 2019, the company changed the way it pays its doctors in some states, moving from a subscription model to one that charges a per-booking fee. Some doctors weren’t been happy about the switch.
Zocdoc, which is based in New York, most recently raised $130 million in a Series D round in August 2015, bringing its total raised to $223 million. The company’s last reported valuation is from 2015, according to PitchBook.
During the pandemic, Zocdoc introduced video visits for the providers on its platform to use with patients. 
Zocdoc cofounder Cyrus Massoumi in September sued the company, claiming he was pushed out of his role as CEO in an illegal “coup.”
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer
Devoted Health – $1.8 billion

Devoted Health wants to reinvent how we care for aging Americans.
The company started selling Medicare Advantage plans in parts of Florida for 2019. In its second year, its enrollment jumped, in line with the company’s expectations. 
Read more: Oscar Health has confidentially filed to go public. Here’s a look at how the health insurer and rivals Clover and Bright have fared so far this year.
The company’s plans might look a bit different from traditional insurance in that Devoted plans to do more than pay for visits to doctors and hospitals. It also hires nurses and other employees directed at keeping seniors healthier and out of the hospital.
Devoted was founded in 2017 by brothers Ed and Todd Park. Before Devoted, Todd Park cofounded the health IT company Athenahealth and served as the chief technology officer of the US during the Obama administration. Ed Park, who serves as Devoted’s CEO, was formerly the chief technology officer and later chief operating officer at Athenahealth.
In October 2018, the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company raised $300 million in a Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz, bringing its total funding to $369 million.
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer
Zymergen – $2.1 billion

Synthetic biology company Zymergen is a Silicon Valley company that turns living organisms into new materials. Synthetic biology involves harnessing the power of cells to make products like less-toxic sweeteners for food or drugs and biodegradable building materials and bags. It was a popular area of investment for cutting edge VC firms prior to the pandemic as the technology could help combat single-use plastic use.
On July 29, the eight-year-old startup raised $350 million in Series D funding led by private equity firm Baillie Gifford, according to Pitchbook data. Other investors include SoftBank Investment Advisers, SVF, Schiehallion Fund, SciFi VC, DCVC Bio, True Ventures, Perceptive Advisors, Baron Funds, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, and MicroVentures.
— Megan Hernbroth
Lyell – $2.5 billion

The San Francisco biotech company is focused on treating cancer with cell therapies. Lyell’s goal is to develop cell-based immunotherapies for cancer, with a focus on CAR-Ts and solid tumors.
In March 2020, the company raised a total $493 million in funding from undisclosed investors. The company has raised a total of $851 million, according to CB Insights, from investors including Foresite Capital Management, Arch Venture Partners, and Altitude Life Science Ventures.
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer
Sana Biotechnology – $2.8 billion

Sana Biotechnology is developing engineered cells that can be used as medication for patients. The goal, according to the company, is to engineer cells to repair and control genes or replace missing or damaged cells with an entirely new set of therapies for a range of conditions. It is currently focusing on immunology, stem cell biology, gene delivery, and gene modification.
The Seattle-based company said it has roughly 250 employees across three offices. In June, it raised $435 million in Series B funding from GV, Omega Fund, and Flagship Pioneering, according to Pitchbook data. The round was part of a larger initial financing, according to the company, which totaled $700 million after multiple separate rounds of fundraising.
Additional investors include ARCH Venture Partners, F-Prime Capital, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, City Hill Ventures, Baillie Gifford, Alaska Permanent Fund, Public Sector Pension Investment Board, and Bezos Expeditions.
— Megan Hernbroth
Radiology Partners – $4.3 billion

Southern California-based Radiology Partners owns and operates radiology clinics in 26 states across the US. According to the company, it employs roughly 1,500 radiologists and provides radiology services to more than 1200 hospitals on-site and virtually.
The eight-year-old company raised an undisclosed amount of private equity financing from Heritage Group in 2020, according to Pitchbook data, and subsequently raised two rounds of debt financing. Prior to 2020, it raised $750 million in growth financing from Starr Investment Holdings on July 19, 2019.
— Megan Hernbroth
Gingko Bioworks – $4.9 billion

Ginkgo Bioworks is a startup that designs microbes to produce substances like fragrances and medications. The Boston-based company sends the programmed bugs to partner companies that put them to use.
In September 2019, Ginkgo raised an additional $290 million. In total, the company has raised $719 million and a $350 million fund to invest in spinout companies that use its technology. 
In 2020 Ginkgo responded to the coronavirus pandemic by helping with testing, vaccines, and antibody therapeutics, according to its website. 
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer
Tempus Labs – $8.1 billion

Chicago-based Tempus got its start in 2015, and then rocketed into unicorn territory.
The startup, which was founded by Groupon founder Eric Lefkofsky, hopes to help doctors use data to find better cancer treatments for patients, using both clinical data — information about which medications patients have taken and how they responded to them — and data it sequences in its lab based on the tumors and hereditary genetics of cancer patients.
Tempus raised $100 million in March 2020 and another $200 million in December 2020, putting the company at an $8.1 billion valuation. So far, the company has raised about $1 billion. 
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer
Roivant Sciences – $9 billion

Roivant Sciences is a company known for developing drugs that other pharmaceutical companies have abandoned.
The company was founded by CEO Vivek Ramaswamy, who’s 35. Through its subsidiary companies, it identifies experimental drugs that other companies may have stopped developing for one reason or another that still have potential to get approved and go on the market.
So far, it has launched 17 subsidiary “-vant” companies, including a number that have gone public. Those include the neurodegenerative-disease-drug developer Axovant Sciences, the women’s health company Myovant Sciences, and the urology company Urovant Sciences.
In December 2019, the company entered a deal with Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma. The company raised $200 million from investors in 2018 a little more than a year after raising $1.1 billion in a monster round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The $200 million round valued the company at $7 billion. 
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer
Samumed – $12.4 billion

Samumed is the highest-valued startup on this list.
The San Diego-based company has attracted a total of $764 million and a heady valuation thanks to a pipeline of what could be revolutionary treatments to regenerate hair, skin, bones, and joints.
The company’s science hinges on something called progenitor stem cells. Samumed hopes to manipulate the pathway that makes these progenitor stem cells spring into action so that they don’t cause conditions like hair loss or osteoarthritis. 
The company had previously raised funding from backers including high-net worth people and sovereign funds rather than venture capital. Samumed’s chief business officer, Erich Horsley, said in May 2018 that the company could go public in the next three to four years.
— Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer

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