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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.

CDC: Vaccinated people in COVID hotspots should resume wearing masks

CDC director Rochelle Walensky and top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci at a Senate HELP committee hearing. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance on Tuesday recommending that vaccinated people wear masks in indoor, public settings if they are in parts of the U.S. with substantial to high transmission, among other circumstances.

Why it matters: The guidance, a reversal from recommendations made two months ago, comes as the Delta variant continues to drive up case rates across the country. Millions of people in the U.S. — either by choice or who are ineligible — remain unvaccinated and at risk of serious infection.

Scoop: 50,000 migrants released; few report to ICE

A law enforcement officer walks to meet migrants crossed the Rio Grande River illegally last month. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

About 50,000 migrants who crossed the southern border illegally have now been released in the United States without a court date. Although they are told to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office instead, just 13% have shown up so far, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The sizable numbers are a sign of just how overwhelmed some sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border continue to be: A single stretch covering the Rio Grande Valley had 20,000 apprehensions in a week. The figures also show the shortcomings of recent emergency decisions to release migrants.