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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Co-Star, the maker of an astrology app, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Spark Capital, with Maveron, Female Founders Fund, and all existing investors also participating.

Why it matters: The company says it has more than 20 million app downloads without any real marketing efforts, and has been downloaded by a quarter of all young women ages 18-25 in the U.S.

What they're saying: "It's much more like sitting on a couch with your best friends and talking about yourself without judgement," Co-Star co-founder and CEO Banu Guler told Axios, adding that she sees astrology as a language and framework for understand and discussing one's self.

  • The app provides users with personalized horoscopes and other content, and lets them connect with other friends on the app to share and bond over astrology. (However, users have been less social and used the app more for self-reflection during the past year's pandemic, according to Guler.)
  • The company plans to roll out subscriptions (in addition to the individual content purchases it currently sells) later this year, though Guler declined to share more details about what Co-Star is working on. It also plans to use its new funding to expand its team, and add new product features.

The bottom line: "The question isn't whether astrology is real, the question is whether the effects are real... Is it a legitimate tool for self-care, and the answer is yes," said Guler.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Apr 13, 2021 - Economy & Business

Singapore-based Grab going public in largest-ever SPAC deal

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Grab, a Singapore-based "super app" maker, on Tuesday announced plans to go public in the U.S. via the largest-ever SPAC deal.

Why it matters: The deal is more than twice the size of the previous record-holder, United Wholesale Mortgages.

Updated 12 mins ago - World

Over 70 dead in worst bombardments between Israel and Hamas for years

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Israeli forces said they had killed a senior Hamas commander in May 12 airstrikes. Gaza's health ministry said children died in the strikes. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 67 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in fighting between Israel's military and Hamas since Monday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 continued into early Thursday. It comes days after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.

Biden admin grants Colonial waiver to ease fuel shortages

Fuel tanks at Colonial Pipeline Baltimore Delivery in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration approved a temporary waiver of shipping requirements late Wednesday to help Colonial Pipeline transport fuel, as service resumes across the U.S. following a ransomware attack that that took it offline last week.

Why it matters: The century-old Jones Act requires ships to be built in the U.S. and crewed by American workers, but the waiver means foreign companies can transport gasoline and diesel to areas where there are fuel shortages.