In a normal month, a few hundred American startups announce significant early investment rounds. Crunchbase News has made it a point to go over those rounds every few quarters to see what trends we can find.
This time, we looked at over 1,000 seed and pre-seed rounds worth $500,000 and higher that were announced in 2022 in the United States. And, as is customary, supported enterprises span a wide spectrum of industries, from virtual world fashion to plant-growing pods in space.
Despite the abundance of choice, some popular investment ideas shone out. We’ll take a look at five of them in the following paragraphs:
Investors in futuristic visions appear to believe that we will spend more time and money in virtual worlds. They’re pouring a lot of money into startups that characterise themselves as “metaverse-focused.”
So far this year, we’ve discovered at least nine self-described metaverse startups that have funded substantial seed rounds. Space Runners, a developer of metaverse styles with an early concentration on footwear, received the most money. In March, the startup raised $10 million in a seed round.
Cyber, a developer of digital collection showrooms that raised $6.7 million, and Mirror World, a maker of virtual environments with “AI-powered virtual creatures” that raised $4 million, are two other firms that have received funding. Below is a complete list of 2022 seed-funded metaverse startups:
Source: Crunchbase News
Recently, NFT-related headlines have been full of negative news. The Wall Street Journal, for example, recently published an article with the opening line: The NFT market is crumbling.
The figures appear to be dismal. Sales volumes were reportedly down 92 percent from their peak in September just a few weeks ago. And previous estimates aren’t holding up. For example, despite selling for $2.9 million in March 2021, an NFT of Twitter’s first tweet come up for sale this year and garnered no bids above $14,000.
Seed investors, on the other hand, haven’t given up their fascination in non-fungible tokens. “NFT” is one of the most common words used to describe seed-funded firms in 2022, with at least 26 raising $500 million or more.
Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, received the most money, $450 million. Despite the fact that the firm and fundraising round appear to be too huge to qualify as seed, Yuga is a relatively new company that was created only a year ago.
CryptoSlam, a data aggregator for NFT collectibles that raised $9 million, and Stakes, a sports prediction game for NFTs that raised $5.3 million, are two more notable financing recipients. See the entire list of NFT startups that have received seed funding.
Source: Crunchbase News
Brain and neurotech
Many businesses appear to believe that we could do a better job of keeping our minds healthy, engaged, and productive. Others are looking into neurostimulation, next-generation gadgets, and vitamins to boost our brain activity.
Seed-stage firms focused on brain fitness, therapy, and stimulation appear to be attracting a lot of seed investor attention so far this year, regardless of their specific emphasis.
Inner Cosmos, a Northern California-based developer of brain-computer interfaces for treating depression, was the largest seed recipient for 2022, according to Crunchbase data. The business, which claims to be working on a penny-sized gadget that can penetrate under the skin and use “imperceptible micro-stimulations” to rebalance brain networks, raised $10 million in March.
BrainLuxury, a manufacturer of supplements that improve brain performance, received another large seed round of $8.1 million. Earable, a company that makes wearables for sleep health that use neuro-stimulation, raised $6.6 million in a seed round in January. See the table below for a more comprehensive list of 2022 seed-rounds relating to the brain:
For several years, alternative protein has been a popular field for seed investment, and it continues to be a top category.
Change Foods, a 3-year-old company that is relatively mature by seed standards, received around $12 million in one of the larger rounds. Microbes and precision fermentation are used by the startup to create cheese that melts and tastes like the real thing.
Black Sheep Foods, a vegetarian alternative to lamb, is another intriguing firm in the plant-based meat sector. NuCicer, a crop science company, raised $4.5 million for ultra-high protein chickpea cultivars.
Below is a more comprehensive list of firms that have received funding in the alternative protein space:
Whether we’re out-of-shape couch potatoes or professional athletes, we could all use some coaching and fitness aids to assist us improve our performance.
Fortunately, a slew of seed-funded startups are attempting to accomplish just that. Personal training with AI, personalised home workouts, and underwater entertainment are just a few of the options.
According to Crunchbase records, Altis, an AI personal trainer, raised $10 million in two seed stages this year. Meanwhile, Zygo raised $4.5 million for a swimming headset that allows swimmers to listen to music and other information while swimming. Kabata, a manufacturer of “smart dumbbells” for weight training, received $2 million in funding.
Below is a more comprehensive list of seed-funded fitness startups:
So, where do we see ourselves in the future?
When we look at seed fundraising as a whole, we may get a sense of where futuristically minded investors think we’re going.
If we look at previous patterns, we might conclude that we will spend more time in more intricate virtual worlds in the future, and that firms will develop ever more elaborate ways to monetize our time and attention.
Meanwhile, out in the real world, we’ll try to maintain our physical bodies in better shape by relying even more on digital technology—which is hilarious, considering that the same digital technology keeps us on the couch.
We’ll be able to eat a delicious, protein-rich diet without relying on animal husbandry. Supplements and neurostimulation will also assist our brains stay in better operating order.
In general, it isn’t the most terrifying vision. However, the overall picture suggests that humanity will be moving further away from our cave-dwelling, hunter-gatherer forefathers’ basic life skills.
Of course, we’ve already come a long way from that. Many of us today have a battery of fundamental life skills that would be unrecognisable to our distant ancestors—think e-filing taxes, microwaving frozen dinners, and paying the electric bill. Inevitably, in a few generations, our manner of life will appear to be fairly primitive as well.
Source: Crunchbase News