Alice Vilma and Helen Kim are involved in their firms raising new funds

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing June 28, 2021

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JoAnne Lauer helps Blockchain Capital raise a new fund that Kinjal Shah and Shishi Feng will be involved in deploying

Blockchain Capital, whose director of investor relations is JoAnne Lauer, raises a new fund – a fund that will be deployed by an investment team that includes senior associate Kinjal Shah and data scientist Shishi Feng. The blockchain technology and crypto ecosystem-focused venture firm closed its fifth fund at its $300 million hard cap. Limited partners included such strategic investors as PayPal and Visa, as well as pension funds, major university endowments and family offices.

Founded in 2013, San Francisco-based Blockchain Capital has invested in more than 110 companies, protocols and crypto assets. Its portfolio includes Coinbase, Kraken, Anchorage and OpenSea.

H/L Ventures closes a new fund

H/L Ventures, whose team includes operating partner Laura Hovas, closes a new fund. The New York venture firm did not say how much it raised for its Series A fund, CityRock Venture Partners, LP. Like all of H/L’s funds, CityRock will focus on investing in companies at the nexus of growth, impact and diversity. The fund is launching with six companies in its portfolio, all of which were founded and led by underrepresented entrepreneurs. They are: Andie Swim, BlocPower, Holler, Hydra Studios, Loliware and Sealed.

In a statement, Laura said, “investing in businesses that have strong potential for growth, but make the world a better place, is crucial to our approach. We are pleased to see our sector waking up to the power of these underrepresented founders and their teams, who are working to build incredible, exciting companies.” Laura joined H/L three years ago after spending six years at Portage Partners.

Alice Vilma will co-lead Morgan Stanley’s newest fund that will invest in diverse start-ups

Morgan Stanley has launched a fund to invest in diverse start-ups that will be co-led by Alice Vilma. Known as the Next Level Fund, it will invest in in early-stage technology and technology-enabled companies with women or diverse members as part of the founding team. The size of the fund was not disclosed, but Hearst, Microsoft and Walmart have signed on as corporate partners.

In a statement, Alice said, “by intentionally seeking out high-growth companies founded by multicultural and women entrepreneurs, Next Level presents an exciting opportunity for disruptive start-ups to increase their visibility and accelerate their businesses with the support of our corporate partners.”

Eva Burton, who is executive vice president at Hearst and chairwoman of Hearst Lab, will be a member of Next Level’s Advisory Board. Morgan Stanley is a sponsor of the Women’s Private Equity Summit.

Helen Kim announces Vida Ventures newest $825M fund

Vida Ventures, whose leadership team includes senior managing director Helen S. Kim, closes its third fund. The Los Angeles and Boston life sciences-focused venture firm raised $825 million. It closed its second fund in 2019 at $600 million. Vida now has more than $1.7 billion in assets under management. Like its prior funds, Vida will use the new one to identify and invest in transformative biomedical innovations with the potential to meaningfully impact patients. Vida has made 30 investments since its founding in 2017.

In a statement, Helen said, “Vida III will allow us to continue our bold investment strategy and provide first-hand operational and strategic expertise that helps innovators change the treatment landscape for patients.”

Helen is on the boards of ReCode Therapeutics, PACT Pharma, Assembly Biosciences, Peloton Therapeutics, Exicure and IconOVir Bio, whose scientific founder is Clodagh O’Shea. Another company whose board she chairs, Applied Molecular Transport, went public in 2020. Helen joined Vida in 2019 after being a partner at the Column Group. Helen’s background also includes executive roles at Kite Pharma, NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., Kosan Biosciences, Affymax, Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Chiron Corp.

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