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Capital Gains: A Billion-Dollar Round for Student Lending, Thrillist Splits Up and More

It was a big week for lending startups.

Todd Bernard

What happened in tech funding news this week? Reportedly the largest financial technology round ever plus growth rounds for Israeli data science, big e-commerce and media companies. Here’s what went down:

  • Dutch payments technology company Adyen raised an undisclosed amount at a $2.3 billion valuation. The investment came from Iconiq Capital, the secretive money manager whose clients include Mark Zuckerberg, Reid Hoffman and other major Silicon Valley figures (Financial Times).
  • SoFi, an online lending service that focuses on student loans, raised $1 billion this week in what Fortune’s Dan Primack suggested is the largest fintech funding ever. The round was led by SoftBank, and will go to help expand SoFi’s portfolio from mainly student loans to mortgages, auto loans and other types of financing (Fortune).
  • Another consumer lending service, Avant, raised $325 million at a reported post-money valuation “in the ballpark” of $2 billion. General Atlantic led the round, and investors include J.P. Morgan, Tiger Global Management, August Capital, RRE Ventures and others (Fortune).
  • Thumbtack, an online marketplace for freelance professionals (think house painters and fitness trainers), raised $125 million at a $1.3 billion valuation. The company was valued at around $750 million last year (New York Times).
  • Coding education startup General Assembly raised $70 million in a new round led by Conde Nast proprietor Advance Publications, whose Internet strategy chairman Steven Newhouse is joining the General Assembly board. The company has raised $110 million in total funding (Wall Street Journal).
  • Medium, the publishing platform founded by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, raised $57 million at a $400 million pre-money valuation. What’s it going to spend the money on? New features, an app and other projects that the company will talk more about at an event on Wednesday.
  • Acquia, a Boston-based company that provides cloud services and data management for businesses that use the Drupal content management system, raised $55 million from Centerview Capital Technology, NEA and Split Rock Partners (VentureBeat).
  • One of Thrillist’s selling points has long been that it houses a media business and an e-commerce business that complement one another. This week that ended: Thrillist-JackThreads raised $54 million and said the two companies are splitting up, as the latter tries to turn around its money-losing ways.
  • After gutting a bunch of its business from a 2011 merger, programmatic ad platform PulsePoint raised $30 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank, most of which will be used for near-term acquisitions (AdExchanger).
  • Walker & Company Brands, a startup focused on selling health and beauty products to people of color, raised $24 million in a Series B round led by Institutional Venture Partners. The company also announced that it’s going to start selling stuff from its flagship Bevel brand in Target stores.
  • Israeli IT support company BigPanda netted $16 million in a new round led by Battery Ventures, with participation from Sequoia Capital and Mayfield Fund. This gives the company $25 million in funding since it launched in 2012 (Globes).
  • Credible, an online marketplace for student lenders and borrowers, raised $10 million in a Series A funding round. The company raised a $2.7 million seed round earlier this year.

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