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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 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutor to seek hate crime charges, death penalty in Atlanta shootings

In Hopkinton, Mass., the Rally & Run To Stop Asian Hate is held to show solidarity in the wake of deadly Atlanta shootings and to mourn the loss of eight lives including six Asian women. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Prosecutors unveiled murder charges against the white man accused of shooting and killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at Atlanta-area spas, AP reports.

Driving the news: A prosecutor filed notice that she plans to seek hate crime charges and the death penalty in the case. Two separate grand juries have now indicted the suspect on murder charges.

America's pandemic coin crunch returns

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An early pandemic problem that plagued businesses is back: not enough change to go around.

Why it matters: The pandemic broke America's coin flow. It has repercussions for millions that rely on it for daily transactions.