Abrams and O’Connor Hodgson’s Now raises $9.5M; Ipsen-led Ellucian has been acquired by Blackstone and Vista Equity Partners

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing June 14, 2021

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Dowling’s Pattern raises $60M of debt and equity capital

A company developing home-centric brands co-founded by Suze Dowling secures funding to acquire a kitchen accessories brand founded by Samantha Rose. Pattern raised $60 million of debt and equity capital from existing investors Kleiner Perkins, RRE Ventures and Primary Venture Partners, as well as participation from new investors Victory Park Capital, HOF Capital and RSE Ventures.

The capital will be used to accelerate the business to its next phase and acquire a select number of direct-to-consumer businesses with healthy and sustainable margins, a loyal customer base and a focus on home-centric goods that are thoughtfully made and design-forward. With the capital, the New York-based company is acquiring Get It Right, a kitchen accessories brand that launched in 2012 and has grown into a multi-million-dollar business with a line of over 50 products.

In a statement, Suze said, “our acquisition of Get It Right is the first step in fulfilling our mission to reimagine what a successful exit looks like for direct-to-consumer brands, and we look forward to bringing more businesses onboard in 2021 and beyond.”

Samantha, also in a statement, said, “the idea of ‘getting it right’ informed every choice in building our business – from product to operations and HR to customer experience. Working with the team at Pattern, we saw our own relentless drive mirrored back to us – the enthusiasm, the desire for a challenge, and the deep satisfaction of repeatedly delighting customers year after year.”

Perez’s Brinqa receives $110M in growth capital from Insight Partners

A cyber risk management company co-founded by Hilda Perez raise its first institutional round. Brinqa received $110 million in growth capital from Insight Partners.

Based in Austin, Texas, Brinqa helps organizations get the most out of existing technology investments while addressing their unique risk tolerance and business challenges. Brinqa’s cyber risk graph connects relevant security and business data, establishes common data ontology and powers cybersecurity decisions and outcomes.

Hilda is a cybersecurity industry veteran whose prior experience includes building and leading startups through successful growth and acquisition.

This capital infusion better positions Brinqa to satisfy the increasing demand to address security challenges with seamlessly integrated, highly automated and risk-based cybersecurity programs.

Mason’s Piglet raises $8.5M in a round led by Active Partners

A British direct-to-consumer homeware brand behind a successful range of high-quality and low-maintenance linen products, founded by Jessica Mason raises capital. Piglet gained $8.5 million in a funding round led by Active Partners.

Piglet offers a range of durable, 100 percent natural stone-washed flax-linen products that get softer with wear, including bedding, sleepwear and home accessories. The company’s signature 100 percent flax linen is sourced in small batches, meaning no part of the plant is wasted, while the process also uses less water than cotton.

The fresh funds will be used to internationally scale the business, expand the brand’s product offering and build out the Piglet team in the UK, Europe and North America.

In a statement, Jessica said, “we founded Piglet on the belief that a beautiful home can be effortless and comfortable, and that simple, high-quality and low-maintenance products can help bring this to life. From starting the business in my mother’s garden shed to reaching tens of thousands of customers with an ever-expanding range of products, it’s been an incredible experience so far. We’re thrilled to have Active Partners on board – whose focus on community-first brands and experience with founder-led businesses has already proven invaluable – to take the next step of Piglet’s journey together.”

Keller-led TCS Healthcare Technologies makes an acquisition

TCS Healthcare Technologies, a private equity-backed developer of population health and managed care software whose CEO is Deborah Keller, makes an acquisition. Terms of TCS’s purchase of DataSmart Solutions, LLC were not disclosed.

DataSmart is a predictive risk analytics software company. The acquisition was supported by a follow-on investment from HCAP Partners. HCAP originally invested in Auburn, Calif.-based TCS in the falloff 2019. Founded in 1983, TCS has developed a suite of products that supports managed care workflows for a variety of risk-bearing organizations including health plans, self-funded organizations, third-party administrators and accountable care organizations.

 Kadomatsu-led ComplySci lands growth financing

ComplySci, whose CEO is Amy Kadomatsu and which is a portfolio company of Edison PartnersJennifer Lee, lands growth financing. The provider of regulatory technology and compliance solutions for the financial services sector received $120 million from K1 Investment Management. ComplySci said existing investors – which includes Edison and Vista Equity Partners – would retain their stakes in the company. It will use the capital to further build out its platform.

ComplySci offers compliance software that delivers scalable identification and mitigation of employee regulatory and compliance risks, at a high degree of precision and on a cost-efficient basis. Its clients include registered investment advisers, hedge funds, private equity firms, venture capital firms and other businesses across the financial services sector.

Amy joined ComplySci as chief operating officer in 2018, was named president in December 2019 and CEO in October 2020. Amy’s background includes co-founding Instabot and serving as president of ROKO Labs.

Crook’s Lifted raises $6.2M in Series A funding

A British company co-founded by Rachael Crook raises funds to revolutionize home care. According to TechCrunch, Lifted raised $6.2 million in Series A funding from Fuel Ventures, Perivoli Innovations, The J.B. Ugland Family Office, Kluz Ventures and existing investor 1818 Venture Capital.

London-based Lifted uses its platform to improve the experience of people being cared for by hiring quality caregivers and giving constant support. Its mission is to transform later life by using tech to create the missing trusted brand in home care.

Rachael was inspired to get into the sector when she had to care for her mother who was diagnosed with dementia at age 56. Rachael told TechCrunch that, “I was in that position much younger than most people. And it seemed abundantly clear to me that it was an experience that was hugely emotionally important to me, and financially expensive, was really convoluted and frustrating. It made an already really difficult time, more difficult. My mum brought me up to really fight for the underdog and I felt like (those being cared for) were getting a really poor deal. And yet, it’s a huge colossal market. The care market is set to double in the next 20 years, and for the next 10 years, we will look to compete against traditional care companies. We want to transform the care experience. This is a product that is worth four and a half times your mortgage. And yet, it’s predominantly bought in a really antiquated way with paper and pen systems. It’s really hard to keep up to date with your loved ones’ care. We’re also competing against new entrants.”

Underwood-led EvoEndo secures $10.1M in funding

Investors back a company led by Heather Underwood specializing in developing systems for un-sedated trans-nasal endoscopies. EvoEndo secured $10.1 million in funding, but the investors were not disclosed.

Based in Denver, EvoEndo is developing technology to help physicians diagnose, treat and monitor conditions for a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. The system combines sterile, single-use, flexible endoscopes with VR-based patient distraction to allow the procedure to be performed safely in children and adults without anesthesia or sedation. The company intends to use the funds to advance its technology.

Abrams and O’Connor Hodgson’s Now raises $9.5M in Series A funding

A company co-founded by lawyer and politician Stacey Abrams and her business partner Lara O’Connor Hodgson secures funding to redefine how and when businesses get paid. According to TechCrunch, Now raised $9.5 million in Series A funding. The round included Virgo Investment Group and Crescent Capital Partners and will be used to help scale Now’s offerings.

Based in Atlanta, Now provides small businesses a quicker method for getting invoices paid. When a business submits an invoice through NowAccount, the service pays 100 percent of the invoice, minus a 3 percent merchant fee. The company’s mission is to empower businesses to grow fearlessly through accelerated invoice payments.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Stacey said, “when you’re a small business and someone tells you we have a solution to a problem that no one has been willing to solve, we sound like magic. And what we want people to understand, and a big part of our scaling challenge has been, you have to experience it to believe it. And getting companies to understand that this actually does work the way we say that it does actually benefit you in the way we imagine, and that it works.”

Kelly’s VenueScanner received $1.5M in a funding round led by Rianta Capital and ACF Investors

A U.K. based online venue booking platform founded by Rebecca Kelly secures funding. VenueScanner received $1.5 million in a funding round led by Rianta Capital and ACF Investors.

Launched to enable individuals, businesses and event organizers to find better and more affordable venues, VenueScanner is helping undiscovered and independent venues reimagine how they use their space and fill their downtime. In addition to supporting venues, the funding will be used to drive international expansion, as well as enhancing the VenueScanner platform to deliver an end-to-end online experience for event planners.

In a statement, Rebecca said, “the future of event planning and venue booking was always going to be digital, but the pandemic has massively accelerated this. Venues need to be able to offer virtual tours, digital chat functionality, as well as online book and pay to make the process as easy as possible for their customers. We do this for them.”

Investors plant capital in Salwen’s Blue Ocean Barns

Investors plant capital in a Hawaiian sustainable agriculture company co-founded by Joan Salwen. Blue Ocean Barns closed $5 million in a seed round led by Valor Siren Ventures.

Blue Ocean Barns produces a cattle supplement made with a specific type of seaweed, Asparagopsis, that has been proved to reduce methane output from cattle by more than 80 percent, eliminating a greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The investment will support a significant expansion of the company’s farming operations as it readies for commercial sale of its seaweed-based cattle supplement.

In a statement, Joan said, “Blue Ocean Barns is driven by our mission to mitigate climate change by slashing cattle methane emissions by more than 80 percent. Alongside our investors in our most successful fundraising round to date, we’re ready to expand operations, provide a sustainable feed supplement for cattle farmers committed to shrinking their carbon footprint, and assist forward-thinking dairy and beef companies eager to face climate challenges head-on.”

Cameron is tapped to lead Excel Scientific

Julie Cameron is tapped to lead Excel Scientific, Inc., a private equity-backed manufacturer of microplate sealing films and foils used in life science and diagnostics applications. Julie previously held various business development and marketing leadership roles at Avantor, Vesta and Dow Corning.

Victorville, Calif.-based Excel is a portfolio company of Vance Street Capital.

Bercier and Swan’s Something Borrowed Blooms raises a $1.5M Series A round

A venture firm sprinkles capital on an online silk floral service founded by cousins Lauren Bercier and Laken Swan. Something Borrowed Blooms raised a $1.5 million Series A round led by Callais Capital.

Based in Lafayette, La., Something Borrowed Blooms is seeking to modernize the wedding flower industry by offering a rental model that has changed the way couples plan and pay for wedding flowers. The company will use the capital to support a 10,000 square-foot warehouse expansion and expand its product offerings and tech solutions.

Rosenbaum-led Kurome Therapeutics raises $15M

A company led by Jan Rosenbaum raises funds to treat hematopoietic cancers. Kurome Therapeutics closed $15 million in Series A financing co-led by Medicxi and Affinity Asset Advisors with participation from founding investor CincyTech, and other existing seed investors.

Based in Cincinnati, Kurome is a preclinical stage company dedicated to developing novel therapies that target adaptive resistance mechanisms in cancer cells while inhibiting critical disease modifying genes. The funding will support the pre-clinical advancement of inhibitors to target cancer cells that evade the effects of both targeted therapy and chemotherapy drugs via adaptive resistance mechanisms, having co-opted immune signaling pathways to survive.

In a statement, Jan said, “we are excited to have the support of exceptional investors. This financing allows us to expand our R&D program to substantially de-risk compound selection as we identify our first development candidate in advance of IND filing.”

Cartwright-led ShelfLife raises $3M

A food and beverage industry procurement software and marketplace co-founded and led by Lillian Cartwright takes a sip of seed capital. ShelfLife raised $3 million from Switch Ventures, Kindred Ventures and NextView Ventures.

Based in New York, ShelfLife connects food and beverage brands with wholesale suppliers. The company’s platform provides suppliers with a place to digitally display product catalogs and acquire new customers. ShelfLife is focused on the $150 billion market for ingredients and packaging materials in the United States. Lillian founded the company with John Cline.

Traxler is named CEO of Drake’s Bank Shot

Emily Traxler is named CEO of Bank Shot, a real estate financial technology company that was co-founded by Bernardine W. Drake and which just partnered with a venture studio. Emily was previously vice president of customer success for SingleOps. The amount invested by Rule 1 Ventures in the Atlanta company was not disclosed.

Bank Shot has a mobile app that allows the real estate and title industry to safely and securely manage and deposit funds, including earnest money, real estate funds and rental deposits. Bernardine and Glenn Drake developed Bank Shot for use by their own real estate brokerage Drake Realty.

Blackstone and Vista Equity Partners acquire Ipsen-led Ellucian

Ellucian, a higher education technology solutions provider led by Laura Ipsen, is getting new private equity owners. Blackstone and Vista Equity Partners are acquiring the Reston, Va. company from TPG and Leonard Green & Partners. Terms were not disclosed.

Ellucian provides mission-critical, enterprise resource planning software to more than 2,700 higher ed institutions in more than 50 countries. TPG and LGP bought Ellucian in 2015.

Laura came aboard as CEO in 2017. She previously held senior roles with Oracle, Microsoft and Cisco.

Adam Slywka’s Nestig raises $1.3M in seed funding

Sara Adam Slywka is putting a new twist on “Rock A Bye Baby.” Nestig, which Sara co-founded, is developing baby cribs that are flexible, multifunctional, high-quality and eco-friendly, designed with the modern parents in mind. The New York company raised $1.3 million in seed funding from ONEVC and a group of angel investors, according to Crunchbase News.

In a statement, Sara said, “the nursery is a fun room. Every time we post a picture on Instagram, people are asking where we found the rug or the chair. We want them to be inspired by the shopping experience, the products and start to build the entire room.”

The new funding will enable the company to expand into new categories, including the recent launch of washable organic cotton rugs.

Sara has a background in e-commerce marketing, formerly working in Amazon’s baby registry division, as well as Diapers.com. 

Investors hammer capital into Lau’s Dusty Robotics

Investors hammer capital into Dusty Robotics, a developer of robot-powered tools for the modern construction workforce co-founded and led by Tessa Lau. The Mountain View, Calif. company raised $16.5 million in Series A funding from Canaan Partners, NextGen Venture Partners, Baseline Ventures, Root Ventures and Cantos Ventures.

Dusty’s tools are aimed at accelerating the digital transformation of the construction industry. Its first product is FieldPrinter, an autonomous robot that prints digital building models directly onto the floor of construction sites. FieldPrinter lays out floor plans up to 10x faster than traditional crews while guaranteeing accuracy up to 1/16 of an inch. FieldPrinter eliminates errors during construction by printing “IKEA instructions” directly on the floor that instruct crews exactly what to build where.

Since its first rollout in the fall of 2020, Dusty’s FieldPrinter has laid out more than 1 million square feet of commercial construction, including several high-rise buildings in San Francisco.

Tessa, a seasoned robotics entrepreneur, founded the company with Philipp Herget in 2018.

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