The Term Sheet: Startup funding roundup for December 2022

FoundersWithRobot Secondary

The founders of Scythe Robotics with one of the company’s lawnmowers. (Scythe Robotics via Denver Post)

According to a tally of Form Ds filed with the SEC last month, 52 startups around the state raised $269 million in December. (You can see our sortable spreadsheet here).

That compares to $730 million raised in November and $1.9 billion raised in December 2021

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

Startups outside of Denver and Boulder raised the most with roughly $190.5 million, followed by Denver with $68 million and Boulder with $10.5 million. 

A few highlights include:

Soar Health Inc. (Denver): $15.9 million

Soar Health, a chain of facilities for children with autism, raised $15.9 million, which will go toward opening more clinics and increasing staff. 

Founded and run by Ian and Jennifer Goldstein in 2020, Soar is attempting to redefine autism therapy through the “Early Start Denver Model,” a play-based form of therapy for children ages 1 through 6.  

“There are some types of ABA therapy that can be very forcing and heavy-handed,” Ian Goldstein said. “That’s not developmentally appropriate for a young child.”

Goldstein said he and his wife were inspired to start Soar after learning how difficult it was to find quality care in the autism space. He said autism care is typically a “fragmented experience,” meaning most families have four or five providers. With Soar, everything needed is under one roof, with one provider.

The company has four centers in the Denver area that provide autism diagnostic assessments and therapy. With the funds raised last month, they hope to open clinics outside of Colorado. 

“We think our model of care is really the best … so we really want to be the go-to clinical expert for young kids with autism,” Goldstein said. “I don’t know what that means in terms of states and number of clinics – but that’s the aspiration.” 

Soar Health Inc. has raised a total of $18.5 million to date. 

Scythe Robotics (Longmont): $43 million 

A Longmont-based business that’s reimagining landscaping raised $43 million last month. 

Scythe, founded in 2017, creates electric, autonomous lawn mowers marketed toward landscaping companies. According to its website, the mowers use “3D mapping, semantic awareness, precision localization, and 360 sensors” to cut grass safely, without an operator. 

Scythe Robotics has raised a total of $58.5 million since its founding. 

Phood (Boulder): $200,000

A Boulder-based company looking to shake up college students’ food delivery orders raised $200,000 last month. 

Phood works with universities to allow students to pay for DoorDash delivery services with school-issued dining dollars that are often part of campus meal plans. 

With the Phood app, students can order food and groceries from DoorDash, and are charged through their campus cards or accounts. Universities get a revenue share from DoorDash with every order.

The company argues that students already use food delivery services weekly, but without Phood, universities don’t profit from it. 

According to the website, “Phood provides technology that fits the university business model as well as their student’s eating habits.”

FoundersWithRobot Secondary

The founders of Scythe Robotics with one of the company’s lawnmowers. (Scythe Robotics via Denver Post)

Among companies raising cash: the maker of an autonomous lawnmower and an operator of facilities for kids with autism.

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