Here’s our latest rundown on recent startup investment news in the Pacific Northwest.
— The Dyrt, the Portland, Ore.-based camping app that makes it easier for users to figure out where to pitch a tent or park an RV, has raised $11 million in a new funding round.
The gist: The Dyrt goes beyond where other niche outdoor apps stop, appealing to a growing community of tent campers, dispersed campers, RV drivers, van lifers and glampers who share reviews, photos and tips related to 44,000 camping spots across the U.S. The app, which is the No. 1 camping app on the App Store and Google Play, has added 1.4 million pieces of that content in just the last 11 months as more people travel closer to home during the pandemic.
The people: Husband and wife co-founders Sarah Smith and Kevin Long launched the startup in 2013. This summer they hit the road in a custom van to work remotely and put The Dyrt through its paces. “Our whole thought was, ‘Let’s go actually live this as founders after over half a decade of building this platform and this community; let’s go live this for the next six months and let’s make the product be the thing that we use to find our experiences,’” Smith told GeekWire in August.
The backers: The Series B round was led by Silicon Valley-based Realization Capital Partners, which previously backed Seattle startup Moz (acquired by iContact). Realization’s Kevin Iudicello will be joining The Dyrt’s board of directors. The startup has raised $23 million to date.
The take: Four million Americans went camping for the first time this year, according to Long, which is a key tailwind for The Dyrt. The reasons behind the explosion in popularity are varied: “People need breaks from the hustle culture, parents want their kids to have less screen time, there’s heightened awareness for the environment. And, of course, the effects of the pandemic have people just wanting to be outside more often,” Long said in a news release.
What’s next: The startup, which currently employs a remote team of 40, plans to nearly double in size, adding 30 positions across technology, marketing and support.
— Bend, Ore.-based Cascade Seed Fund raised $8 million for its Cascade Seed Fund II, which is expected to be $10 million in total size. The firm aims to make initial investments of up to $250,000 in early-stage tech and consumer product startups across the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 2014, the firm rebranded from Cascade Angels Fund in 2019 and launched its first multi-year, traditional venture capital fund (Cascade Seed Fund I), which raised $6 million. Recent exits from Cascade’s portfolio include startups such as Stabilitas (acquired by OnSolve); Hubb (acquired by Intrado); Cairn (acquired by Outside) and Topbox (acquired by Khoros).
— Identity fraud software startup Q5id raised $10 million in a round led by global investment banking firm Canaccord Genuity. Founded in 2018, the Hillsboro, Ore.-based startup uses biometrics technology to help companies prove the identity of their customers and employees. Total funding to date is $25.5 million.