Adena Hefets' Divvy Homes raises a new round of capital

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing August 16, 2021

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Adena Hefets' Divvy Homes raises a new round of capital

Divvy Homes, Inc., which Adena Hefets co-founded and leads, raises a new round of capital – just six months after landing in $110 million in Series C funding. The San Francisco company, which is seeking to increase home ownership, landed $200 million from a group which included Caffeinated Capital, GIC Capital and existing investors Tiger Global Management, GGV Capital, Moore Specialty Credit and Andreessen Horowitz.

The round, according to Bloomberg, valued Divvy at $2 billion. Divvy works with people who may have a harder time securing a mortgage to buy a home. Those looking to buy a home work with Divvy, which buys the property and then rents it to the prospective homeowner. They then rent the home from Divvy over three years with a portion of each month’s rent going toward a down payment. Assuming all payments are made, Divvy customers are then in position to buy the home outright and get a mortgage. It currently has more than 750,00 customers in 16 major markets.

Adena founded Divvy with Brian Ma, Nick Clark and Alex Klarfeld. She previously was a senior associate with venture firm DFJ, now known as Threshold Ventures.

Palladium Equity Partners purchases Kristi Shain-led Health Connect America

A behavioral health services platform led by Kristi Shain has been sold by one private equity to another. Terms of Palladium Equity Partners’ purchase of Health Connect America, Inc. from Harren Equity Partners was not disclosed. Based in Franklin, Tenn., Health Connect treats a comprehensive mix of issues including conduct disorder, substance abuse, autism disorders and emotional disturbance across the Southeast and is primarily reimbursed by Medicaid-funded payors. Kristi, who is president and CEO, joined Health Connect in 2019 Providence Service Corp. where she was vice president of the Southeast Region.

Arpi Mehta-led toothsi raises $20M in Series B funding

Investors drill more capital into an Indian company co-founded and led by Arpi Mehta that has devised a system for straightening teeth. After raising $5 million in Series A funding earlier this year, toothsi has now landed $20 million in Series B funding from Eight Road Ventures, the Mankekar Family Office, Think Investments and several angels. Based in Mumbai, India, toothsi utilizes technology to provide customers with aligners that straighten teeth. It has provided smile makeovers to more than 10,000 customers in eight cities in India. Arpi founded Toothsi in 2018 with Pravin Shetty, Majul Jain and Anirudh Kale, all of whom are orthodontists.

Lina Zhang’s Jerry raises $75M in an oversubscribed Series C round

Lina Zhang’s effort to save customers time and money on car expenses attracts investors. Jerry raised $75 million in an oversubscribed Series C round led by existing backer Goodwater Capital with participation from Bow Capital, Kamerra, Highland Capital Partners and Park West Asset Management. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Jerry provides custom artificial intelligence, machine learning and bots to give personalized service for all car ownership needs. The new funding round fuels the launch of the company’s marketplaces in new verticals, including financing, repair, warranties, parking, maintenance and additional money-saving services.

Joanna McFarland, Carolyn Yashari Becher and Janelle McGlothin’s HopSkipDrive raises $25M

A group of venture firms steer additional capital into HopSkipDrive, the ride service for children that CEO Joanna McFarland founded with Carolyn Yashari Becher and Janelle McGlothin. The Los Angeles company raised $25 million in Series C funding from Energy Impact Partners, Keyframe Capital and existing investors FirstMark Capital and 1776 Ventures, according to TechCrunch. HopSkipDrive’s prior investors include BBG Ventures, the women-focused firm led by Susan Lyne and Nisha Dua; Halogen Ventures, which was founded by Jesse Draper; Upfront Ventures; Pritzker Group Venture Capital; Linnea RobertsGingerBread Capital; the Women’s Venture Capital Fund, whose co-founders and managing directors are Monica Dodi and Edith Dorsen; 1843 Capital, which is led by partners Tracy Chadwell; The Artemis Fund, which was founded by Leslie Goldman, Stephanie Campbell and Diana Murakhovskaya; and Greycroft, which was led into the company by Dana Settle. Founded in 2014, HopSkipDrive provides a means for parents to schedule rides with experienced caregivers. The new capital will be used to expand into 30 new markets over the next 18 months. The company partners with more than 300 schools and districts.

Sharon Rowlands-led Newfold Digital acquires Marieke van de Rakt-led Yoast

Private equity backed Newfold Digital, whose CEO is Sharon Rowlands, acquires a Dutch company led by Marieke van de Rakt. The web presence solutions provider has acquired Yoast, a search engine optimization plugin provider for WordPress. Terms were not disclosed. Newfold said the acquisition was part of its long-term strategy to connect its customers with web presence tools and services to empower online success in a digital world. Newfold was formed earlier this year by Clearlake Capital Group and Siris Capital Group.

Newfold includes Web.com – which Sharon had been leading - and Endurance Web Presence, which was a part of Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. Clearlake acquired Endurance International Group for $3 billion. Clearlake and Siris Capital Group took Web.com private in 2018 for $2 billion. Endurance Web Presence has provided web hosting and domain name registration solutions, while Web.com has also provided domain name registrations and website building solutions. Sharon became CEO of Web.com in early 2019. She previously served as president of USA TODAY Network Marketing Solutions and CEO of ReachLocal, which was acquired by Gannett in 2016.

Vickie Yanjuan Chen and Ping Wang’s AviaGames scores capital

A gaming platform co-founded by Vickie Yanjuan Chen and Ping Wang scores capital. AviaGames raised $40 million from investors including ACME Capital, Washington Harbour Partners and Powerhouse Capital. Previous investors, including Makers Fund and Galaxy Digital, also participated in the round. Based in Mountain View, Calif., AviaGames is an inclusive mobile, skill-based gaming company and publisher of Pocket7Games, a unified gaming platform tailored to specific player communities. The platform features over 10 unique games linked to a single membership and wallet system, allowing players to seamlessly switch among casino, puzzle, action, card, math and brain games. The new capital will be used to accelerate player acquisition, develop new games on the platform and expand its team and international presence.

In a statement, Vickie said, “we aim to provide entertainment value for everyone to enjoy a couple minutes a day to compete with other real players with a more accessible, easy in, easy out approach. Regardless of gender or gaming experience, we’re matching people with similar skill sets to engage in friendly competition and get paid for their winning results.”

Maleka Momand and Lilli Oetting’s Esper secures $8M in Series A funding

A platform co-founded by Maleka Momand and Lilli Oetting raises funds to help governments create and manage public policy from a single source of truth. Esper secured $8 million in Series A funding led by Cota Capital with participation from 8VC, Gaingels and Stand Together Ventures Lab. Based in Austin, Texas, Esper partners with government to integrate and transform their data into actionable insights for more transparent, data-driven decision making. The new round of capital is committed to scaling the operations across the country to support rapid client adoption.

Dr. Tara Karimi’s Cemvita Factory raises capital as it seeks to reverse climate change

A start-up co-founded by Dr. Tara Karimi raises capital as it seeks to reverse climate change by leveraging synthetic biology. Cemvita Factory closed a Series A funding round led by 8090 Partners, with participation from existing investor Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, along with Seldor Capital, Climate Capital and others. The amount invested was not disclosed. The Houston-based company uses synthetic biology to decarbonize industries such as chemical manufacturing, mining, oil and gas. The company will use this financing to accelerate development of its platform technology and further de-risk the targeted applications.

Rachel Jones’ SnapDragon Monitoring secures funding to tackle global counterfeit goods trade

A U.K. based company founded by Rachel Jones secures funds to tackle global counterfeit goods trade. SnapDragon Monitoring gained 1.2 million pounds from ACF Investors, Mercia and Scottish Enterprise. SnapDragon helps brand owners identify and remove fakes, copycats and online threats, using intellectual property to do so. The funding will be used to develop the technology and AI/ML to further extend capabilities, to scale the infrastructure and to continue to build the team to help an expanding base of global clients fight fakes and online threats. SnapDragon also brought Geraldine Kelly aboard as non-executive chair of its board.

Caroline Seton’s HumanForest raises 2.3M pounds in a pre-Series A round

A London-based sustainable micro-mobility platform providing e-bikes co-founded by Caroline Seton locks up funding. HumanForest raised 2.3 million pounds in a pre-Series A funding round. The investors participating in the round are not disclosed. HumanForest is a dockless, shared and ad-supported e-bike service company. Its e-bikes operate an advertising-led revenue model, whereby consumers receive an advertisement from partners before and after using a HumanForest e-bike. This allows customers to ride for free for 10 minutes each day. In a statement, Caroline said, “this is an exciting moment in our growth story and, with this support, we are confident that we can become the largest and most popular operator in London. We can’t wait for Londoners to use our e-bikes as the most affordable mobility option, to improve their health and wellbeing, and to protect the planet.”

Dana von der Heide's Parcel Perform raises $20M in a Series A financing round

A Singapore-based logistics tech startup co-founded by Dana von der Heide raises capital. Parcel Perform raised $20 million in a Series A financing round led by Cambridge Capital, while SoftBank Ventures Asia and existing investors including Wavemaker Partners and Investible participated, according to TechCrunch. Parcel Perform connects merchants with e-commerce carriers and provides shipment tracking features, helps improve the experience of e-commerce merchants and their customers when engaging with carriers. Parcel Perform also provides these merchants with tools to create additional touch points after the checkout to create higher brand loyalty with customers, opportunities to move more inventories and has also developed a system to support more than 30 languages to offer a personalized experience to customers. Parcel Perform will deploy the fresh funds to scale further in Asia and Europe and set up a regional office in North America, as well as increase its headcount.

A talent management software co-founded by Muriel Clauson secures funds 

A talent management software co-founded by Muriel Clauson secures funds to improve the future of work through employee experience and internal mobility. Anthill AI gained $1.24 million in its first funding round led by Origin Ventures. Anthill is an integrated talent management software that solves for both employee and employer objectives simultaneously through the power of machine learning.

The Chicago-based company addresses critical people needs for employers while personalizing the employee development experience for the individual. Anthill teaches organizations about their people by offering a comprehensive approach to matters of employee experience and retention, reskilling and development, and internal mobility, delivering a clear visual of where employees and organizations currently stand and where they can go.

In a statement, Muriel said “The workplace is changing rapidly, and individuals and companies need to be future-ready. To date, talent management has been wildly underserved as a manual task with limited data–– we see Anthill as a foundational tool in navigating a better future of work for both employers and individuals.” The funding will fuel continued product development and expanded talent recruitment enabling the company to scale sales across more large enterprises.

Victoriya Boklag-led United Group acquires one of Greece’s three mobile operators

United Group, a private equity-owned telecom operator whose CEO is Victoriya Boklag, is acquiring one of Greece’s three mobile operators.  Terms of United’s purchase of Wind Hellas from Crystal Almond Holdings Limited were not disclosed. Wind has a total of 4.2 million users and offers mobile, fixed, internet and television services. It generates revenue of more than 500 million euros annually. United intends to combine Wind with Nova, its existing Greek pay-TV provider. BC Partners acquired United Group in 2019. In addition to Nova, United also has invested in Forthnet, a Greek telecom company, and acquired Croatia’s Tele2 and Bulgaria’s Viacom. United Group is focused on Southeast Europe.

Allie Magyar's Hubb has been acquired

Hubb, which Allie Magyar founded to solve problems she faced as a corporate events manager, has been acquired. Terms of Hubb’s purchase by Intrado Digital Media were not disclosed. Allie is now Intrado’s chief product officer. Hubb developed event management technology and received venture backing from such firms as Five Elms Capital, Oregon Venture Fund and Elevate Capital. Utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence, Hubb provided event managers with data and insights, enabling them to make smarter decisions about event content. The company was founded in 2015.

Jin Chon's Coop Home Goods secures capital from Topspin Consumer Partners

A maker of adjustable memory-foam pillows and other bedding accessories co-founded by Jin Chon and her brother, Kevin Chon, secures capital from a private equity firm. The amount invested in Coop Home Goods by Topspin Consumer Partners was not disclosed. Coop sells its products through its website and various e-commerce marketplaces. Jin and Kevin founded the company in 2013 with the mission of improving sleep quality – an aim driven by Kevin struggling with severe sleep issues because of chronic neck and back pain.

Barr Moses' Monte Carlo raises capital for the second time in 2021

Monte Carlo, a self-described data reliability company co-founded and led by Barr Moses, raises capital for the second time in 2021. The company closed a $60 million Series C round from ICONIQ Growth, Salesforce Ventures and returning investors Redpoint and GGV. Both Redpoint and GGV were involved in the $25 million Series B financing that Monte Carlo did in February. That round, in turn, came less than six months after it secured $16 million in Series A financing. The company is focused on accelerating the adoption of data by reducing so-called data downtime when data is inaccurate, missing or erroneous. Monte Carlo estimates that data teams spend more than 30 percent of their time tackling data issues.

Monte Carlo’s platform uses machine learning to infer and learn a user’s data, proactively identify data downtime, assess its impact and notify those who need to know. By having the root cause of an issue identified, data teams can resolve problems faster. Monte Carlo’s clients included Eventbrite, Hippo Insurance, Mindbody and Compass. Barr has said previously that the idea for Monte Carlo arose from her time as vice president of operations at Gainsight. Working with Fortune 500 companies to help them use data as a competitive advantage, Barr was “struck by the fact that there were so many great solutions available to identify and resolve software reliability and observability issues, but nothing to measure the health of data and ensure reliability.” She founded the company in 2019 with her husband, Lior Gavish, who is chief technology officer.

Rashi Sanon Narang's Heads Up For Tails fetches fresh capital 

Heads Up For Tails, an India-based maker of luxury pet products founded and led by Rashi Sanon Narang, fetches fresh capital. The New Delphi-based company raised $37 million from Verlinvest, Sequoia Capital India, Amitell Capital and existing investor W&C PetTech. Heads Up For Tails sells a range of organic grooming products, human grade treats and designer collars, leashes and accessories. It currently has more than 100,000 active customers. Rashi started Heads Up For Tails in 2008 after working in Citigroup’s human resources department.

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