The Term Sheet: Startup funding roundup for December 2020

AMP Robotics uses AI technology to sort recyclable materials. (Courtesy of AMP Robotics)

Colorado startup funding continued to heat up last month.

According to a tally of Form Ds filed with the SEC in December, 42 startups around the state raised a total of nearly $361 million, which was around $36 million more than December 2019’s nearly $325 million raised by 39 startups.

It’s also a $150 million increase from the $211 million raised by 26 startups in November 2020.  (You can see our sortable spreadsheet here.)

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

Denver startups lead the way with $225 million among 15 deals. Startups outside of Boulder and Denver raised $95 million, and Boulder startups garnered $40.6 million.

Here are some highlights from December:

AMP Robotics: $54.9 million

Louisville-based AMP Robotics, which creates robotic technology that sorts recyclable materials, raised nearly $55 million in a Series B funding round last month.

AMP plans to use the funds to scale business operations to meet the “robust market demand for its technology,” as well as to develop new artificial intelligence product applications, according to a news release. The round will also support the startup’s market expansion as it works with consumer packaged goods companies, such as Keurig Dr Pepper.

The $55 million funding round was led by New York-based XN Capital with participation from new investors Valor Equity Partners and California-based GV, as well as existing investors Sequoia Capital, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, Congruent Ventures and Closed Loop Partners.

AMP saw a shift in demand after the pandemic forced many businesses to suspend recycling operations due to safety concerns. The startup’s technology uses artificial intelligence to identify and differentiate recyclables in the waste stream by color, size, shape opacity, and consumer brand, storing data about each item it sees, according to the release.

Devon Tivona and Sam Felsenthal are the co-founders of Pana. (Courtesy of Pana)

Pana: $3.56 million

Denver-based Pana, which coordinates business travel for other firms, raised $3.56 million from seven investors in December, according to SEC filings.

The raise came eight months after the six-year-old startup laid off 18 employees and cut staff salaries as a result of the pandemic.

BusinessDen reported last year that Pana had raised $10 million from investors. At the time, Tivona said the company had 20 employees and expected to grow to 60 by the end of 2019.

Wilde Brands’ Himalayan pink salt and chicken chips. (Courtesy of Wilde Brands)

Wilde Brands: $3.28 million

Wilde Brands raised $3.28 million in December, just five months after its $1.5 million capital raise in July.

This brings the Boulder-based startup’s funding total to $7.6 million, according to SEC filings.

The healthy foods company, which was founded in 2016 by Jason Wright, makes crispy chips out of chicken, tapioca flour and coconut oil.

The potato-less chips come in six flavors: Nashville hot, chicken & waffles, jalapeno chicken, Himalayan pink salt, sea salt & vinegar and buffalo. A box of six 2.25-ounce bags costs $35, according to the startup’s website.

The Dechoker medical device retails for $70 on its website. (Courtesy of Dechoker)

Dechoker: $725,000

A Wheat Ridge-based company that created a medical device to help prevent choking incidents raised $725,000 from nine investors last month.

Dechoker sells an FDA-registered device for $70 on its website that can essentially suck an obstruction out of someone’s throat. It was invented by a sea captain named Alan Carver who wanted to create an alternative to the Heimlich maneuver. The company launched in 2011.

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