Bain Capital's Chao, Andreessen Horowitz’s Yoo and Berkshire Partners’ Payne among those doing notable deals this week
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing April 12, 2021
Chao guides Bain Capital Double Impact into Hand in Hand Soap
Cecilia Chao, a managing director on the Bain Capital Double Impact team, applies capital to a purpose-driven personal care brand co-founded by Courtney Apple. The amount invested by Bain Capital’s impact investing unit in Hand in Hand Soap was not disclosed.
Based in Philadelphia, Hand in Hand formulates soap and other personal care products using only clean ingredients and products free of palm oil. Its portfolio includes bar soap, liquid hand soap, hand sanitizer, body wash, sugar scrubs and lotions. Hand in Hand’s products are sold at Whole Foods Market, Wegmans, Walmart, Target, CVS and through the company’s website. For every product purchased, Hand in Hand donates a bar of soap and clean water to a child in need. Over the past 10 years, the company has donated more than 13 million bars of soap and provided thousands with access to clean water. Courtney founded the company in 2011 with her husband, Bill Glaab, who serves as CEO.
In a statement, Cecilia said, “Hand in Hand is an authentic, founder-driven brand with a commitment to industry leadership, innovation in sustainability, and the potential to disrupt the personal care industry. As evidenced by the incredible affinity from consumers and the strong support of retailers, the company's success affirms that prioritizing mission-driven principles and sustainability can drive accelerated growth.” She added that the “investment represents an opportunity to build awareness and expand channel distribution and product categories as we seek to improve access to better for you, sustainable, and affordable personal care products that drive real impact.”
Cecilia has been with Bain Capital since 2008. Prior to joining Double Impact, she was a member of the firm’s private equity portfolio group.
Drokova’s Day One Ventures takes part in Orchid’s $4.5M round
Day One Ventures, which was founded by Masha Drokova, seeds a preconception genetic testing company founded and led by Noor Siddiqui. Day One took part in Orchid’s $4.5 million round that also included Refactor Capital, Village Global, Olive Capital, Boom Capital and a group of company founders.
San Francisco-based Orchid has developed a saliva-based disease risk test that gives would-be parents an understanding of their future child’s genetic predisposition to heart disease, stroke, atrial fibrillation, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. If an elevated risk is detected, the would-be parents can turn to monitoring, diet changes or in vitro fertilization. The parents are also informed of their own individual risk for each disease.
In 2020, Day One closed its second fund at $52.5 million and saw portfolio company Squad, whose co-founder and CEO is Esther Crawford, acquired by Twitter. Day One’s investments also include Yumi, a baby food delivery service created by Evelyn Rusli and Angela Sutherland; Package Free, a seller of sustainable consumer packaged goods founded and led by Lauren Singer; Hone, a workplace training platform co-founded by Savina Perez; Future Family, which makes fertility care accessible to women and couples nationwide and was founded by Claire Tomkins; and Winnie, which was founded by Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall and connects parents with preschools and daycare centers.
Yoo leads Andreessen Horowitz into Firefly Health’s $40M Series B round
Andreessen Horowitz’s Julie Yoo invests in Firefly Health, which is led by Fay Rotenberg and is a portfolio company of Oak HC/FT’s Nancy Brown. Firefly Health is developing a concierge medicine service for average Americans. Andreessen Horowitz led Firefly’s $40 million Series B round, which also included Oak HC/FT and fellow existing investor F-Prime Capital. Oak HC/FT and F-Prime led Firefly’s $10.2 million Series A round in September 2019.
Based in Watertown, Mass., Firefly was founded in 2019 by doctors Andy Ellner and Jeff Greenberg. The company has built a scalable concierge care service that uses proprietary technology and a cross-functional care team to provide members with medical care characterized by convenience, behavioral support and navigation. Firefly is accessed through employers and is available currently in Massachusetts, Maine, New York and New Jersey. Fay joined the company as president in 2019 and became CEO in 2020.
In a statement, Julie said that Firefly “fits squarely into several of our investment theses around primary care and the modern health benefits stack. It’s rare to see a company that delivers on a value-based care model, while also having a tech platform that connects its care teams, patients, and outside referral partners in both the online and offline world." In conjunction with the financing, Julie joined Firefly’s board, which also includes Nancy.
Earlier this year, one of Julie’s portfolio companies, PatientPing, agreed to be acquired by Appriss Health for a reported price of around $500 million. Also in 2021, Julie backed Bold, a digital health and wellness service co-founded by Amanda Rees. Her investments also include Ribbon Health, a health care data platform.
Julie, a general partner, is part of the investment team for Andreessen Horowitz’s $750 million biotech fund. She joined the firm in 2019 after previously co-founding and serving as chief product offering of Kyruus, a venture-backed developer of a scheduling platform for hospital systems.
Praetura Ventures’ Singh-Landa backs Maxwellia
Praetura Ventures’ Sim Singh-Landa backs Anna Maxwell’s effort to transform the United Kingdom’s self-care market. Praetura led Maxwellia’s 2.3 million pound round that also included The Future Fund, Catapult Ventures, Alderley Park Ventures and BioCity.
Based in Alderley Park, UK, Maxwellia aims to give people easier and faster access to treatments they need by converting prescription-only medicines to versions that can be bought in a pharmacy. It currently has three applications under assessment and is awaiting approval of its first women’s health product. Anna, a pharmacist, founded the company in 2013.
Sim, an investment director, has also been involved this year in Praetura’s investments in PixelMax, an immersive communications platform, and Enthuse, a donations, fundraising and events platform. Sim joined Praetura in the fall of 2019 from Aston Ventures.
Yecies named CEO of Bone Health Technologies
Laura Yecies is tapped to lead a company utilizing NASA research to prevent osteoporosis whose backers include the women led Portfolia FemTech Fund and Good Growth Capital, whose team includes managing partners Maureen Stancik Boyce, Amy Salzhauer and Carolyne LaSala. Laura was named CEO of Bone Health Technologies. She has been a board member of Bone Health. Laura’s background includes previously serving as CEO at SyncThink, Catch and SugarSync.
Based in San Francisco, Bone Health has developed a wearable medical device that is tackling low bone mass. There are some 54 million Americans who have either osteopenia, which is moderate bone loss, or osteoporosis, which is severe bone loss. The company recently announced that its product, OsteoBoost, had received Breakthrough Device Designation from the FDA.
In early 2020, Portfolia and Good Growth took part in Bone Health’s $2.5 million round that also included Wilson Sonsini and IT-Farm.
Payne guides Berkshire Partners into Mielle Organics
Berkshire Partners’ Marni Payne guides her firm into a natural hair care company whose co-founder and CEO is Monique Rodriguez. The amount invested by Berkshire in Mielle Organics was not disclosed, but the Chicago company called it “significant” and said that Berkshire typically makes equity investments of between $100 million and $1 billion.
The capital will support Mielle’s growth plans and further its mission to educate, empower and excite its customers and the broader hair care community. A portion of the investment will be used for its “More Than a Strand” program which is aimed at strengthening the bond between mothers, daughters and young girls. Monique founded Mielle with her husband, Melvin Rodriguez, who is chief operating officer. They will remain majority owners of the company.
In a statement, Marni called Mielle “an extraordinary business,” which “importantly has a larger purpose: to excite, empower and serve the community. Monique and Melvin have built this business from the ground up.”
In 2020, Marni oversaw Berkshire’s acquisition of CrossFit, the health and fitness brand, and was also involved in the creation of El Dorado Foods, a multi-category platform to acquire and develop innovative Latin-inspired food and beverage brands. Marni’s investments also include Kendra Scott Design, Inc., an accessories company founded by Kendra Scott. Another of her portfolio companies, Opening Ceremony, was sold last year to New Guards Group. Opening Ceremony is a multifaceted fashion brand and retailer.
A managing director, Marni first joined Berkshire in 2000 and then returned to the firm in 2004 after graduating from business school.
Realworld raises $3.4M in seed funding
Genevieve Ryan Bellaire’s effort to simplify adulthood resonates with a group of investors, including Human Ventures, whose general partner and CEO is Heather Hartnett, and a trio of women-focused venture firms: Copper Wire Ventures, which is led by Jessica Millstone; Amplifyher Ventures, which is led by Meghan Cross Breeden and Tricia Black; and The Helm, whose founder and CEO is Lindsey Taylor Wood. Realworld, according to TechCrunch, raised $3.4 million in seed funding from a group which also included Fitz Gate Ventures, Knightsgate Ventures, Bezos Expeditions, Great Oaks VC, Underdog Labs and Techstars.
Based in New York, Realworld provides an online guide for how to do the things that are necessary to become an adult. The site features information on such key things as obtaining insurance, understanding income taxes, renting an apartment, obtaining a credit card and paying back student loans. It is aimed at so-called Gen Z members who are just leaving college and entering the workforce. Realworld will soon release its first mobile app.
Imaginary Ventures helps turn SKIMS into a unicorn
Imaginary Ventures, whose co-founder is Natalie Massenet, helps turn SKIMS, the shapewear clothing business of reality TV star Kim Kardashian into a unicorn. Imaginary, which had previously backed Skims, took part in the company’s $154 million round, which was led by Thrive Capital and, which according to published reports, valued it at $1.6 billion. The company reported sales of $145 million in 2020.
Huang leads Sequoia Capital into Streamlit’s $35M Series B round
Sequoia Capital’s Sonya Huang invests in Streamlit, a portfolio company of Gradient Ventures’ Anna Patterson which was co-founded by Amanda Kelly and which is making machine learning repeatable, shareable and usable throughout an organization. Sequoia led Streamlit’s $35 million Series B round, which also included prior investors Gradient and GGV Capital. The San Francisco company has now raised $62 million, which includes last summer’s $21 million round that was led by Gradient and GGV.
Streamlit is an open-source framework that is turning so-called Python scripts into interactive apps. Python is considered the preeminent language of machine learning. Streamlit’s platform is democratizing data-driven decision making across numerous industries and has been used to predict COVID rates, analyze music playlists and recommend movies. Its customers include Apple, Ford and Uber. Amanda founded Streamlit with Adrien Treuille and Thiago Teixeira, who all used to work together at Google X.
In a statement, Sonya said that Sequoia sees Streamlit as having “a unique opportunity to disrupt the $25 billion intelligence market with its open source and developer-first approach – ultimately becoming a core piece of the data science and machine learning stack for years to come.”
In conjunction with the financing, Sonya joined Streamlit’s board. A partner, Sonya joined Sequoia in 2018 from TPG. She is an observer on the boards of Glossier, Fishtown Analytics, Census, Nubank, Dashlane, Attentive and Cribl.
Mei’s Gathered Foods raises $26.36M in a B-2 bridge funding round
A plant-based seafood company led by Christine Mei reels in capital from a group that includes entrepreneur Paris Hilton and actress Shailene Woodley. Gathered Foods raised $26.36 million in a B-2 bridge funding round that also included Louis Dreyfus Company and Unovis Asset Management. Based in Austin, Texas, Gathered Foods last year raised $36.8 million in Series B funding. The company – which produces the Good Catch brand – will use the capital to increase its international retail footprint.
Edwards and Lambert take part in TZP Group’s acquisition of Kindred Bravely
TZP Group’s Erin Edwards and Sergina Lambert take part in the firm’s acquisition of a company co-founded and co-led by Deeanne Akerson that produces maternity apparel. TZP did not disclose terms of its purchase of a majority stake in Akerson Enterprises, LLC, which does business as Kindred Bravely.
Launched in 2015, Kindred is a direct-to-consumer brand focused on basics for pregnant and nursing mothers. It sells bras, loungewear, underwear and sleepwear. Deeanne and her husband, Garret Akerson, will continue as co-CEOs.
Erin joined TPZ in July 2020 from North Castle Partners and took part in TZP’s investment in Feel the World, Inc., which was co-founded by Lena Phoenix. Feel the World makes Xero Shoes, which are built with a foot-first design.
Sergina also joined TZP last summer as an associate from Société Générale.
TZP, a multi-strategy private equity firm, manages approximately $2 billion. It invests in business services and consumer companies.
Inspired Capital’s von Tobel guides her firm back into Orum
Inspired Capital’s Alexa von Tobel guides her firm back into Orum, whose founder and CEO is Stephany Kirkpatrick and which is focused on enabling immediate money movement in the United States. Acrew Capital, whose founding partners include Theresia Gouw and Lauren Kolodny, also re-invested in the New York company.
Inspired and Acrew, which took part in the seed round that Orum did last summer, participated in the company’s $21 million Series A round that also included fellow existing investors Bain Capital Ventures, Homebrew, Clocktower Technology Ventures and BoxGroup and new investors SVB Capital and American Express Ventures.
Orum is developing products that give enterprise customers unique funds availability modeling. This, in turn, would provide them with the information required to shift to real-time payments and enable access to real-time payment rails without necessitating a bank integration. Orum’s customers includes First Horizon Bank and Alloy. Alexa is the company’s chairman.
Burke checks Keen Venture Partners into Doctify’s $7.5M round
Briehan Burke, a principal with Keen Venture Partners, checks the firm into an online site for finding doctors and booking appointments that was co-founded by Stephanie Eltz. Keen led Doctify’s $7.5 million round that also includes existing investors Amadeus Capital, Guinness Asset Management and Tom Teichman.
Based in London, Doctify allows patients to search, compare reviews and prices, and book appointments with medical specialists across the United Kingdom, Austria and the UAE. It has connected more than 4 million people with more than 25,000 health care providers and is set to expand to Germany. Stephanie founded the company in 2015 with Suman Saha.
In a statement, Briehan said that the solution developed by Doctify “is driving real-time improvements to patient care across multiple international providers.” Briehan joined Keen in 2019 from Catalyst Investors and is involved with firm portfolio companies Crisp, Farewill, Nextail, Studyportals and Teamleader.
A portfolio company of Norwest’s Weinmann is acquired by a publicly traded company
Glow, a podcasting technology company founded and led by Amira Valliani and a portfolio company of Norwest Venture Partners’ Kathryn Weinmann, has been acquired by a publicly traded company. Terms of Liberated Syndication, Inc.’s purchase of the Seattle startup were not disclosed. Liberated is a podcast hosting network.
In 2019, Glow raised $2.3 million from Norwest, Greycroft, PSL Ventures, WndrCo and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.
A spin-out of Pioneer Square Labs, Glow focuses on providing podcast creators with tools to establish direct relationships with customers. Glow’s first product allowed podcast listeners to access extra content and perks for a subscription fee. It was used by more than 100 podcasts, including Techmeme, Ride Home, Acquired and The Newsworthy.
Amira previously founded Backyard Media, a boutique podcast ad agency, and Zomida, a marketplace for homecooked food. Her background also includes working at The White House as senior advisor to the deputy national security advisor for strategic communications.
Kathryn was recently promoted to vice president at Norwest. She is actively involved with firm portfolio companies Learn to Win, Memphis Meats, Praxis Labs, SENREVE and Wyze.
Upfront Ventures’ Nortman re-invests in Territory Foods
Upfront Ventures’ Kara Nortman re-invests in a chef-crafted, nutritionist designed meal delivery service whose CEO is Ellis McCue in a round that also includes soccer legend Abby Wambach. Upfront and Abby took part in Territory Foods’ $22 million round, which also included U.S. Venture Partners, Lewis & Clark Ventures, DF Enterprises, S2G Ventures, Gaingels, Middleland Capital, Finistere Ventures and Rethink Food Capital.
Based in Arlington, Va., Territory Foods partners with a network of local chefs and health-forward restaurants across the country and provides responsibly sourced, nutrient-rich meals from scratch.