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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Clearco, which provides non-dilutive, revenue-based financing to internet startups, has raised $215 million in a Series C extension from SoftBank Vision Fund 2.

Why it matters: This isn't the first time SoftBank is backing a business banking on the startup economy—WeWork's early popularity was also driven by a new boom in startups.

  • SoftBank also recently backed Jellysmack, a company that helps online content creators grow their audiences across various platforms.

Between the lines: Part of the appeal of taking money from SoftBank was to grow its network of capital sources, said Andrew D'Souza, who co-founded Clearco (which was formerly known as Clearbanc).

  • While the company initially set up funds from which it financed the startups it backs, it has since diversified its capital sources to include debt, and it hopes the Japanese giant can help it forge relationships with more banks and other funders.
  • Clearco also plans to expand into Europe and Asia this year, another area it hopes SoftBank can help with.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Sep 21, 2021 - Economy & Business

French fantasy soccer platform Sorare raises $680 million

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sorare, a French fantasy soccer platform whose "cards" are non-fungible tokens registered on the Ethereum blockchain, raised $680 million in Series B funding at a $4.3 billion valuation led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.

Why it matters: This is the largest-ever VC deal for a company in the NFT space, which either will prove to be Bitcoin circa 2013 or pet rocks circa 1975.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.