The Term Sheet: Startup funding roundup for November 2019

Denver-based Guild Education raised nine figures in venture capital in November. (Courtesy Guild Education)

A startup offering reduced-cost college education to large employers raised nine figures last month.

Guild Education, founded in 2015, is one of 32 startups in the state that collectively raised $212.49 million in November, according to a tally of Form Ds filed with the SEC.

Denver-based startups accounted for the majority of funds raised last month, combining for $152.53 million. Boulder-based startups raised $35.63 million, while startups elsewhere in the state raised $24.33 million.

Last November, Colorado startups raised $147 million.

BusinessDen defines a startup as a company that’s 10 years old or less and excludes funds, real estate ventures and publicly traded companies.

Here are some highlights from the month:

Guild Education: $142.3 million

A filing submitted by Denver-based Guild Education to the SEC last month indicates the company raised $142.3 million from 17 investors.

That accounts for the bulk of the $157 million Guild Education announced it had raised on Nov. 13. The company said the infusion of capital valued the startup at $1 billion.

The money raised in November will help Guild Education hire additional staff, foster more partnerships with universities and employers, and explore acquisition opportunities, according to a news release.

Guild Education has approximately 410 employees and works with companies such as Walmart, Chipotle, Lowe’s, Disney, Lyft and Discover to offer low-cost education as an employee perk.

Ken Chenault, former chairman and CEO of American Express, led the November funding round. He also joined Guild Education’s board of directors, according to a news release. In October, NBA player Stephen Curry invested in the company.

Vita Inclinata: $1.25 million

Vita Inclinata offers helicopter stabilizing technology. (Courtesy Vita Inclinata)

Vita Inclinata, a Broomfield-based company, raised $1.25 million last month from six investors, according to a Nov. 14 SEC filing. CEO and co-founder Caleb Carr told BusinessDen the company raised additional funds after the filing date, for a total of $3 million.

Vita Inclinata makes three products to stabilize cables lowered from helicopters and cranes. Carr said the company is branching into the oil and gas industry because Vita Inclinata products can be used to stabilize anything suspended on a line.

The funding raised in November will be used to build products and launch a sales team for the oil, gas and construction industries, Carr said. He expects the company to grow from 24 employees to 50 by the end of March.

Vita Inclinata also had successful funding rounds early in the year. The company raised $1.3 million in January and $1.97 million in June, totaling $6.27 million raised this year.

“Everything that’s happened in 2019 has been surreal,” Carr said.

Also, Carr and Derek Sikora, another co-founder, were featured on Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” list earlier this month.

Gearo Inc.: $100,000

Justine Barone (left) and husband Andrew Barone founded Gearo in 2017. (Courtesy Gearo)

A Denver-based outdoor gear rental startup raised $100,000 in November, according to SEC filings.

Founded in 2017, Gearo is an online marketplace for adventurers to rent outdoor gear from local retailers. The startup also offers software that helps businesses manage inventory, customers and sales.

Gearo currently works with 100 retailers in 10 states, but has plans to scale to 500 retailers in the next year, CEO and co-founder Justine Barone said. The company also will offer for-sale items in addition to rentals by the end of January.

Correction: The employee count for Guild Education has been updated.

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