A company that TA Associates’ Gurnoor Kaur was involved with is being acquired for more than $1B

From our Women’s PE Briefs – week commencing August 16, 2021

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A company that TA Associates’ Gurnoor Kaur was involved with is being acquired for more than $1B

A company that TA AssociatesGurnoor Kaur was involved with is being acquired for more than $1 billion. TA and Argan are selling Atria Convergence Technologies for nearly $1.2 billion to Partners Group with TA retaining a small equity stake. Atria is an Indian broadband services provider. Based in Begaluru, ACT has more than 7,000 employees and serves nearly 2 million wired broadband subscribers across 19 cities. Gurnoor, a senior associate, also works with Accionlabs and Ideal Cures Pvt Ltd.

Edison Partners sells a portfolio company of Kelly Ford Buckley and Jennifer Lee

In a record-breaking transaction, Edison Partners has sold a company that Kelly Ford Buckley and Jennifer Lee helped lead the firm into – one that Moderne Ventures – which is led by Constance Freedman – also backed. Terms of Bento for Business’s purchase by U.S. Bank were not disclosed, but Kelly, in a blog post, said, the transaction would deliver “a strong cash return and 60 percent internal rate of return.” It is Edison’s twelfth exit in the past 12 months and enables the firm to set a record for exit proceeds for the fifth consecutive year.

Based in Chicago, Bento for Business has developed a card-based digital spend management platform that helps small and mid-sized businesses regain control of monthly expenses and improve cash flow. Small businesses have spent close to $800 million using the platform. Since Edison led Bento for Business’s 2018 growth round, the company has grown its customer base by more than three times and customer spend by more than eight times.

In a statement, Kelly said Bento “achieved something that not many, if any, in the SMB fintech space have, and that is capital-efficient growth. The company stood steadfast on a differentiated value proposition around expense controls for small businesses and resisted adding commoditized ‘me too’ features offered by competitors.”

Kelly, a general partner, was on Bento’s board. She is also on the boards of Terminus Software, Inc., Blue Medora, ExecVision, Kinetiq and Suuchi, whose founder and CEO is Suuchi Ramesh. Earlier this year, another of Jennifer’s portfolio companies, MoneyLion, Inc. agreed to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, Fusion Acquisition Corp., and, in turn, become publicly traded with an enterprise value of $2.4 billion. Jennifer is also involved with such other firm portfolio companies as Fund That Flip, Bipsync, Giant Oak, ComplySci and GAN Integrity. Bento was in Moderne’s 2016 Accelerator program.

A portfolio company of Blossom Capital’s Ophelia Brown is acquired

A company that Blossom Capital’s Ophelia Brown backed earlier this year has been acquired by a well-funded grocery delivery company. Terms of Dija’s purchase by Gopuff were not disclosed. Blossom took part in Dija’s 20 million pound seed round that also included Creandum and Index Ventures.

Based in London, Dija is a grocery delivery company. It was founded by a pair of former executives at another delivery service: Deliveroo. Ophelia was quoted at the time of the investment as saying that Dija “has the potential to be a more than $100 billion company.” She said the founders’ experience “is integral to their perspective on how to create a viable solution to the problems with grocery shopping and it’s one that millions of people stand to benefit from across the globe.” Gopuff recently landed $1 billion in funding from a group that included SoftBank’s Vision Fund at a $15 billion valuation.

Ophelia earlier this year backed Localyze, which was founded by Hanna Marie Asmussen, Lisa Dahlke and Franziska Löw and supports staff relocations and hiring across borders. Blossom in 2020 closed its second fund at $185 million. The London firm focuses on European Series A stage consumer and enterprise start-ups.

Stephanie Geveda helps lead Warburg Pincus into A-LIGN

Stephanie Geveda helps lead Warburg Pincus into a provider of cybersecurity and compliance solutions. The amount invested by Warburg Pincus in A-LIGN was not disclosed. It made the investment along existing investor FTV Capital.

Based in Tampa, Fla., A-LIGN does cybersecurity audits and assessments that allow organizations to provide assurances to customers that sensitive data is protected. In a statement, Stephanie said, A-LIGN’s “commitment to serving the sophisticated security needs of its clients coupled with its focus on innovative technology and expertise in cybersecurity compliance positions the company well to further expand and grow its customer base.”

Stephanie also this year has led Warburg into FlexXray, the nation’s largest provider of X-ray inspection and recovery services for food companies, and Food Safety Net Services, a provider of laboratory testing services for customers in the food and beverage end markets that merged with another of her companies, Certified Group, which is a provider of testing and regulatory consulting services. Stephanie, who is a managing director and head of business services, is on the board of Certified as well as Sotera Health, Arise Virtual Solutions, GA Foods and Sweeping Corporation of America. Earlier this year, Warburg sold another of her companies, Hygiena, to EW Group.

Warburg has more than $60 billion in private equity assets under management.

Susan Cates and Elizabeth Chou’s Leeds Illuminate invests $25M in Product School

 Leeds Illuminate, which was created by Susan Cates and Elizabeth Chou, invests in a provider of live, online product management courses. Leeds Illuminate is providing $25 million to Product School, according to TechCrunch.

Founded in 2014, Product School provides product management training. Its instructors include product leaders from such companies as Google, Facebook, Netflix, Airbnb, PayPal, Uber and Amazon. Susan was quoted by TechCrunch as saying that “product managers have an outsized role in driving digital transformation and innovation across all sectors. Having built the largest community of PMs in the world validates Product School’s certification as the industry standard for the market and positions the company at the forefront of upskilling top-notch talent for global organizations.”

Leeds Illuminate was founded to focus on the gap that Susan and Elizabeth saw in education and workforce development impact. The firm was formed in collaboration with Leeds Equity Partners. Leeds Illuminate’s investments include Mursion, a developer of immersive virtual reality training for emotional intelligence in the workplace, and Eruditius, which offers courses to students in more than 80 countries. Earlier this year, Leeds Illuminate added Stephanie Nieman as a managing director.

Lisa Dolan leads Link Ventures into Breeze’s $10M Series A round

Link VenturesLisa Dolan backs a company simplifying the insurance process for people with disabilities. Breeze secured $10 million in Series A funding in a round led by Link Ventures with participation from Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, M25, Fiat Ventures and Invest Nebraska, according to TechCrunch.

Based in Omaha, Neb., Breeze enables individuals to go online and complete a 10-minute application process to receive a personalized quote for either disability insurance or critical illness insurance. Breeze intends to use the new funding to grow its core products and add new products, carriers and agents to the platform, as well as increase its headcount in the areas of software development, customer service and marketing.

Earlier this year, Lisa led Link into Creatively, a job platform for creatives co-founded by Stacey Bendet. Lisa joined Link in 2019 from Bullet Point Network and was promoted earlier this year to managing director. She is an observer on the boards of RealFriend, Stilt, Inc., HealthCare.com and Trust & Will.

Christine Vanden Beukel-led Crescent European Specialty supports the buyout of Texecom

Crescent Capital Group’s European Specialty Lending unit, which is led by Christine Vanden Beukel, supports a private equity firm’s purchase of a provider of intruder alarm systems. Crescent provided unitranche financing and an equity co-investment to support the management buyout of Texecom, Ltd. which was supported by LDC. Terms were not disclosed.

Based in Lancashire, U.K., Texecom has had more than 1 million of its alarm systems installed. In a statement, Christine said, “we believe that this financing represents an outstanding opportunity to support Texecom’s management team’s vision, and we are excited to work along with LDC to help the team drive growth and continue their remarkable trajectory.”

Crescent had previously supported LDC’s investments in ChargePoint Technology and SRL Traffic Systems. In 2020, Crescent’s European Specialty Lending unit provided financing to support Phoenix Equity Partners’ acquisition of Spy Alarms, a provider of electronic security and fire alarm services. In 2020, Crescent closed its second European Specialty Lending Fund at 1.6 billion euros. 

Pendulum Holdings’ D’Rita Robinson leads A Kids Company About’s $7M Series A round

Arlan Hamilton’s Backstage Capital, Laurene Powell JobsEmerson Collective, Pendulum Holdings, LLC’s D’Rita Robinson, Realist VenturesMarie Rocha, Adre’s Anyeley Hallová, Partake FoodsDenise Woodward, Black Founders Matter’s Himalaya Rao, StitchCrew’s Erika Lucas and Hustle Fund’s Elizabeth Yin see potential in a media company working to empower a generation of kids through diverse storytelling. A Kids Company About launched as an extension of A Kids Book About following a $7 million Series A investment round led by a fund managed by Pendulum Opportunities, LLC. D’Rita also joined the company’s board of directors.

Based in Portland, Ore., A Kids Company About is built on the belief that kids are ready to have challenging, important and empowering conversations with the adults in their lives. The company offers books, podcasts and classes to help kids get a better grasp on what they want to be when they grow up.

Pendulum is an inclusive and strategic growth investing and advisory platform designed for a momentum-building generation of business builders and leaders who sit at the epicenter of culture and commerce.

Melissa Barry leads New Heritage Capital into Icelandirect

Melissa Barry leads New Heritage Capital into an importer, manufacturer and packager of marine oils and other nutraceutical products. The amount invested by New Heritage in Icelandirect was not disclosed.

Icelandirect provides in-house formulation and packaging capabilities and has a reputation for sourcing high-quality, hard-to-find ingredients. In a statement, Melissa said, that New Heritage is “impressed with Icelandirect’s position as an invaluable partner to its customers and looks forward to supporting the company as it continues to diversity its ingredient offering and expand its in-house capabilities.”

A partner, Melissa is also on the boards of FMS Solutions, a provider of business process outsourcing services to independent grocers and multi-unit retailers; Welcome Dairy, which offers a full spectrum of dairy ingredients; Continental Services, Michigan’s largest food management company; Rhythmlink International, a manufacturer of disposable neurodiagnostic devices and consumables; and Covalent Health, an ambulance service that was known as ProTransport-1, LLC. Melissa is a past speaker at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.

New Heritage last year closed its third fund at $270 million.

 Geneviève Tanguay-led Anges Québec backs Zilia

Anges Québec, an angel group whose CEO is Geneviève Tanguay, sees promise in a Quebec company developing medical technologies for the assessment of biomarkers in the eye. Anges Québec led Zilia’s 4 million Canadian seed round. The round will enable Zilia to complete the regulatory approval process for the clinical launch of its first product, Zilia Ocular, the first retinal camera to measure oxygen saturation in the eye. This revolutionary technology aims to enable early diagnosis and better management of many ocular diseases.

In a statement, Geneviève said Anges Québec was “impressed with the talent of its team, the strong growth potential, but also by the immense positive impact its technology can have on people’s health. It is for these reasons that our members decided to invest and, by the same token, to name Zilia our investment of the year.”

Founded in 2008, Anges Québec has more than 230 members who have invested more than $117 million in more than 157 high growth potential companies.

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec invests in Beyond Technologies 

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, whose head of investments is executive vice president Kim Thomassin, makes a minority investment in a Canadian SAP solutions integrator. The amount invested by CDPQ in Beyond Technologies was not disclosed, only that it acquired a 20 percent stake.

Based in Montreal, Beyond Technologies has more than 320 professionals serving more than 150 companies from across its six locations in Canada, the United States, France and South Africa. In a statement, Kim said, “with over 20 years’ experience in digitally transforming businesses with SAP solutions, Beyond Technologies stands out due to its experienced team of experts across multiple industries. We look forward to being part of this Québec-based company’s journey as it strengthens its presence in Canada and continues to expand across international markets such as Europe and the USA.”

Earlier this year, Kim oversaw CDPQ’s investments in eStruxture, the largest Canadian-owned cloud and carrier-neutral data center provider; CAE, a publicly traded provider of training and operational support in the civil aviation, defense and security and health care sectors; LCI Education, a network of higher education institutions in Quebec; and Barrette Outdoor Living, Inc., a manufacturer of wood-alternative fence and railing products. Kim also helped in taking New Look Vision Group, Inc. private for 800 million Canadian dollars and acquiring BlueFocus International Agencies, which has a group of digital advertising and marketing agencies. Kim, who joined CDPQ in 2017, was promoted to her current role last year.

One of the largest pension funds in Canada, CDPQ held 365.5 billion Canadian in net assets as of Dec. 31.

Material Impacts Corinna Chen leads Debut Biotech’s $22.6M Series A round

Material Impact Partner Corinna Chen backs a company that she says is creating “an entirely new methodology for developing novel and more sustainable products.” Material led Debut Biotech’s $22.6 million Series A round, which also included Cultivan Sandbox Ventures, Fine Structure Ventures, ACVC Ventures, Humboldt Fund, Cantos Ventures and existing investor KdT Ventures.

Based in San Diego, Debut is developing a biomanufacturing platform that is harnessing cell-free enzymes. The company will use the funds to commercialize ingredients developed from its proprietary cell-free biomanufacturing platform, which has applications across various industries from food and wellness products to cosmetics, colors, therapeutics and other industrial applications. By overcoming the limitations of cell-based fermentation, Debut Biotech produces high-value ingredients rapidly and more sustainably. Low-value and sustainable feedstocks can be used as inputs in place of petrochemicals, while reactions can be generated in a fraction of the time. These breakthroughs result in a more sustainable and cost-effective approach to manufacturing ingredients, including those inaccessible in nature.

In a prepared statement, Corinna said, “biology is the greatest opportunity of our lifetime. At Material Impact, we believe that a majority of high-value ingredients in new products will be biomanufactured in the near future and beyond. It’s clear to us that Debut Biotech is the company that is leading the way. By leveraging enzymes in a continuous cell-free system, they have created an entirely new methodology for developing novel and more sustainable products that are ubiquitous in our lives.”

Based in Boston, Material Impact invests in companies which transform material technologies into products that make an impact on real world problems.

A portfolio company of GenNx360’s Daphne Dufresne does it's second add-on of 2021

GenServe, a portfolio company of GenNx360’s Daphne Dufresne, does its sixth add-on deal since the private equity firm acquired the provider of power generator maintenance, repair and sales in 2018 – and its second in 2021. Terms of GenServe’s acquisition of LJ Power, Inc. were not disclosed. Based in Austin, Texas, LJ provides maintenance and repair services to generator and backup power solutions as well as generator and related equipment sales and rentals.

Earlier this year, GenServe acquired DynaTech Generators, which provides maintenance and repair services to commercial generators and backup power solutions, as well as generator and equipment sales and rentals. GenServe previously acquired On Call, PPI, GenAssist and Atlantic Switch. In a statement, Daphne said that “the partnership with LJ Power provides a robust platform to support future add-on acquisitions and increase our presence in the south."

A managing partner at GenNx360, Daphne is a past speaker at the Women’s Leadership Unbound Summit and the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit and will speak at the Women’s Private Capital Summit. Her portfolio also includes Precision Aviation Group, which maintains, repairs and overhauls aircraft, and which also did an add-on acquisition earlier this year.   

The Riverside Company’s Elizabeth Burke and Erin Reger source an add-on investment

The Riverside Company’s Elizabeth Burke and Erin Reger source an add-on investment for the firm’s FlavorSum platform – a transaction that Donna Walker, Riverside’s senior sales excellence director, also took part in. Terms of Riverside’s investment in Whittle & Mutch, Inc. were not disclosed.

W&M is a flavor house that manufactures and sells liquid flavors, emulsions, extracts and other taste-related products primarily to beverage customers. The FlavorSum platform helps food and beverage companies get to market quickly and cost-effectively with innovative solutions for delivering great-tasting products that inspire loyalty among consumers.

Riverside originally invested in National Flavors in February 2020 and added on GSB & Associates in June 2020 and Bonnie & Don Flavours in Novembers 2020. Elizabeth is an assistant vice president who joined the firm in 2018. Erin is an associate who was involved earlier this yar in the firm’s backing of ToolWatch and an add-on acquisition for Buildout Inc. Donna joined the firm in 2020.

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