The Future Takes Shape Online and in Tinseltown

Risk-taking is alive and well in Silicon Valley. Many high-profile deals were announced over the last few days – here’s a quick look at what some of the largest VC firms are betting on.

Neeva

Startup search engine “Neeva,” which is being led by a former Google executive, has roped in a $40 million Series B round according to Forbes. The capital haul brings the fledgling startup, which is still in “beta” mode, to nearly $80 million raised.

Neeva plans to take on Google with an ad-free, personalized search experience that combines results from a user’s email with web-based results. Neeva users will reportedly pay between $5 and $10 for the privilege to stay clear of prying eyes.

Neeva is one of several companies vying to challenge Google’s 90%+ share of the search market:

  • Other competitors include privacy-focused “DuckDuckGo,” which has been slowly building market share.
  • Tech giant Apple is reportedly building its own alternative to Google, increasing its web-crawling activity and handling more queries from the iPhone’s home screen through its own search systems.

Wrapbook

Wrapbook, which bills itself as a financial services startup catering to the “gig economy” in Hollywood, has pulled in a $27 million Series A.

Wrapbook’s tech platform is designed to help production companies manage processes that are currently handled with paper and pencil — think everything from on-boarding, payroll, insurance and other functions, as well as to let cast and crew members and employees track their payments.

  • Wrapbook launched last year amid the COVID pandemic, landing clients for various TV, film, digital and commercial productions.
the takeaway

Jeffrey Katzenberg — these days known as the mind behind Quibi — co-led the round.

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