Campbell Roberts, Jin and Moatti are among those involved in IPOs this week
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing March 22, 2021
Campbell Roberts is on the board of a KKR-affiliated SPAC that has gone public
Paula Campbell Roberts, managing director, global macro and real estate Americas at KKR, is on the board of a firm-affiliated special purpose acquisition company that has gone public. KKR Acquisition Holdings I Corp. raised $1.2 billion by pricing 120 million units at $10 a unit. It is trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol KAHC.U. The SPAC will now look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. KKR Acquisition Holdings is focused on combining with a company in the consumer or retail industries. The SPAC’s CEO and executive chairman is Glenn Murphy, who is non-executive chair of lululemon’s board.
In her role at KKR, Paula leads macro real estate investment research and partners with real estate, consumer private equity and credit deal teams globally to develop and diligence investment themes and opportunities. Paula joined KKR in 2016 from Morgan Stanley where she was an executive director. Paula was a speaker at this year’s Virtual Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.
Advantech Capital’s Jin is on the board of a biotech company that has gone public
Jennifer Jin, a partner with Advantech Capital, is on the board of a Chinese biotech company that’s gone public in the United States. Connect Biopharma raised $191 million by offering 11.3 million shares at $17 a share. It is trading on Nasdaq under the symbol CNTB.
Based in Taicang, China, Connect is developing therapies for T cell-driven inflammatory diseases. The company’s lead candidate is an antibody designed to target interleukin-4 receptor alpha, a validated target for the treatment of such diseases as atopic dermatitis and asthma.
BioFortune, Inc. was the largest shareholder prior to the offering, with a 13.3 percent stake. Shanghai Minhui Enterprise Management Consulting held 12 percent, while Qiming Venture Partners had 10.9 percent and Advantech held 10.7 percent. All told, Connect raised $225 million in venture funding. Other investors include RA Capital Management, Lilly Asia Ventures, Boxer Capital and HBM Healthcare Investments.
Jennifer has served on Connect’s board since December 2018. She joined Advantech in 2016 after being an executive director at New Horizon Capital. Connect’s board also includes Karen Wilson, who previously served as senior vice president of finance at Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc.
VectivBio files to go public
VectivBio Holding, whose board includes Bpifrance Senior Investment Director Chahra Louafi, files to go public – an event that comes some five months after Bpifrance and Bihua Chen’s Cormorant Asset Management took part in the company’s crossover financing round. The Basel, Switzerland company is seeking to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol VECT.
VectivBio is developing a product to treat short bowel syndrome, which results from extensive intestinal resection due to chronic inflammatory bowel disease or such events as trauma, surgery or congenital abnormalities. Symptoms include diarrhea, dehydration, malnutrition and weight loss. Patients with severe forms require intravenous delivery of essential nutrients, calories and fluids. An estimated 35,000 people are thought to suffer from SBS in the United States and Europe. VectivBio’s product is intended to increase the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients and minimize the burden of intravenous delivery of nutrients.
The company in October raised $110 million from a group which in addition to Cormorant and Bpifrance included Surveyor Capital, Eventide Asset Management, Versant Ventures, OrbiMed, Novo Holdings, Tekla Healthcare Investors and Cowen Healthcare Investments. OrbiMed is the largest shareholder with a 15.2 percent pre-IPO stake. Versant holds 15.1 percent while Novo Holdings has 9.9 percent and Bpifrance has 7.9 percent.
Chahra has been on VectivBio’s board since June 2019. She is also on the boards of GMP Orphan SA, Sensorion SA, MedDay Pharmaceuticals SA, Tissium SA, Invivox, Doctoconsult, Incepto and Inserm.
Cormorant is not listed as owning 5 percent. It has at least two other companies in registration, Design Therapeutics and Edgewise Therapeutics, and has had at least two other companies go public this year: Pharvaris, which Anne Lesage co-founded, and Prometheus Biosciences, Inc.
Aisling Capital’s Seltzer is on the board of a biotech company that has filed to go public
Stacey Seltzer, a partner with Aisling Capital, is on the board of a biotech company that has filed to go public. Reneo Pharmaceuticals is seeking to raise up to $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol RPHM. Based in San Diego, Reneo is developing therapies for rare genetic mitochondrial diseases. Stacey joined Reneo’s board in December after Aisling took part in the company’s $95 million Series B round. Aisling is not listed as owning 5 percent of the company. New Enterprise Associates is the largest shareholder prior to the offering, with a 22.8 percent stake. Novo Holdings A/S owns 15.3 percent while RiverVest Venture Partners holds 12.2 percent, Lundbeckfond Invest A/S holds 9.4 percent and Abingworth Bioventures owns 9.2 percent.
Stacey, who has been with Aisling since 2008, is also on the board of Promentis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and is an observer on the board of Prolacta Bioscience, Inc.
KKR-backed KnowBe4 files to go public
KKR Senior Advisor Kara Wilson is on the board of a KKR-backed cybersecurity company that has filed to go public. KnowBe4, Inc. is seeking to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol KNBE.
Based in Clearwater, Fla., KnowBe4 has developed a security awareness platform that enables organizations to assess, monitor and minimize the ongoing cybersecurity threat of social engineered attacks. It had 37,000 customers as of Dec. 31. In addition to KKR, KnowB4 has also received backing from Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Tiger Global Management, Ten Eleven Ventures and Vista Equity Partners. KKR backed KnowBe4 in 2020 through its Next Generation Technology Growth Fund II.
Kara, who has advised KKR since October 2019, joined KnowBe4’s board in January 2020. Kara is also on the boards of three other KKR-backed companies, Corel Corp., OneStream Software, LLC and Calabrio, Inc., which KKR has just agreed to sell to Thoma Bravo. She also serves on the board of publicly traded Paychex, Inc.
Prior to KKR, Kara held marketing leadership roles with Rubrik, Inc.; Cisco Systems, Inc.; SuccessFactors, Inc.; PeopleSoft, Inc.; Okta, Inc.; and FireEye, Inc.
A portfolio company of BVP’s Hatch is set to go public through a merger with a SPAC
For the third time in the past month, a portfolio company of Bessemer Venture Partners’ Tess Hatch is poised to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company – a SPAC whose board includes tennis legend Serena Williams. Velo3D, Inc., which has developed a 3-D metal printing solution, would be valued at $1.6 billion after merging with JAWS Spitfire Acquisition Corp. and would receive up $345 million in proceeds. Serena joined JAWS Spitfire’s board in December, just weeks after the blank check company went public. It is led by Barry Sternlicht, who is the founder of Starwood Capital. Velo3D would trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VLD.
Velo3D’s technology enables the production of mission-critical components for space rockets, jet engines, fuel delivery systems and energy production. Its customers include SpaceX, Honeywell and Lam Research. Velo3D has raised some $150 million. In addition to BVP, its backers include Playground Global, Khosla Ventures, Piva and TNSC. Velo3D’s existing investors will roll their equity into the newly public company and own 72 percent.
Tess is an observer on Velo3D’s board. Recently promoted to partner at BVP, Tess recently saw portfolio companies Spire Global and Rocket Lab USA agree to go public through mergers with SPACs. Spire, on whose board Tess serves, is merging with NavSight Holdings. The deal values the San Francisco-based provider of space-based data and analytics at $1.6 billion. Rocket Lab, on whose board Tess has been an observer, agreed to go public through a merger with Vector Acquisition Corp. The deal values the small satellite launch company at $4.1 billion.
Tess joined BVP in 2017 after being a mission manager at SpaceX. In addition to Spire, she is also on the boards of Phantom Auto and Iris Automation. Also, in addition to Velo3D and Rocket Lab, Tess is an observer on the boards of DroneDeploy, Forever Oceans and Crosschq.
BVP recently closed its 11th flagship fund at $2.48 billion and its second opportunity fund at $825 million.
Good Commerce Acquisition is seeking to raise $200M and trade on Nasdaq
Former Gap, Inc. executive Abinta Malik is president of a special purpose acquisition company that has filed to go public. Good Commerce Acquisition Corp. is seeking to raise $200 million and trade on Nasdaq. Once public, the SPAC will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. Good Commerce will focus on creating a holding company by combining exceptional brands and leadership teams in the apparel and accessories, outdoor, health and wellness, home and other consumer-related industries.
The SPAC’s chairman and CEO is Art Peck, who was CEO of Gap from 2015 to 2019. Abinta served as executive vice president of Gap from 2015 until early last year. In that role, she was general manager of Gap, Inc. Greater China and then was head of the company’s enterprise-wide loyalty and payments business. All told, Abinta spent 22 years with Gap.
A portfolio company of Mighty Capital’s Moatti goes public
Mighty Capital, whose founder and managing partner is SC Moatti, has a portfolio company go public. DigitalOcean raised $776 million by offering 16.5 million shares at $47 a share. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DOCN.
Based in New York, DigitalOcean provides a cloud computing software development platform. More than 570,000 individual and business customers currently use the platform to build, deploy and scale software. The company generated $318 million in sales in 2020.
DigitalOcean’s board includes Pratima Arora, who is general manager and vice president of confluence at Atlassian Corp.; Amy Butte, former CFO of both Man Financial and the New York Stock Exchange and current chair of Iron Spark I, a special purpose acquisition company that has filed to go public; and Hilary Schneider, who is CEO of Shutterfly, Inc.
Access Industries Management was the largest shareholder prior to the offering with a 26.5 percent stake. Andreessen Horowitz held 17.5 percent while IA Ventures had 16.5 percent. Mighty Capital’s holdings were not disclosed.
In December, another of Mighty Capital’s companies, Airbnb, went public. Mighty focuses on companies building “products that count.” It seeks to invest in later-stage companies in the San Francisco Bay Area alongside top VCs. Mighty’s team includes general partner Jennifer Vancini. SC founded Mighty after holding roles at Facebook, Nokia and Electronic Arts. She is also founding partner of Products That Count, a global community of product managers, leaders and founders.
A portfolio company of Genoa Ventures’ Rooke files to go public
A portfolio company of Genoa Ventures’ Jenny Rooke files to go public. Zymergen, Inc. is seeing to raise $100 million and go public on Nasdaq under the symbol ZY. Based in Emeryville, Calif., Zymergen is developing biomanufacturing technologies for materials and chemicals.
It has raised more than $500 million from a group that also includes SoftBank Vision Fund, Goldman Sachs, DCVC, True Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures and Threshold Ventures. The SoftBank Vision Fund is listed as the largest shareholder with a 32.8 percent pre-IPO stake. True Ventures owns 10.4 percent while DCVC holds 9.1 percent.
Zymergen’s board includes Christine Gorjanc, who last year retired as CFO of Arlo Technologies, Inc., and Sandra Peterson, who was previously group worldwide chairman for Johnson & Johnson and is now an operating partner with private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. CD&R is not an investor in Zymergen.
Jenny invested in Zymergen while running 5 Prime Ventures. In 2018, she founded Genoa to build on 5 Prime’s track record. Earlier this year, another of Jenny’s portfolio companies, Intabio, Inc., whose co-founder and CEO is Lena Wu, was acquired by SCIEX, which is led by Inese Lowenstein. Jenny’s investments also include Ionpath, Inc.
Siddhi Capital’s Facchina is co-CEO of a SPAC that has filed to go public
Melissa Facchina, who last year established a venture firm, is co-CEO of a special purpose acquisition company that has filed to go public. Siddhi Acquisition Corp. is seeking to raise $200 million and list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SDHI.U. Once public, it will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. The SPAC will focus on the food and beverage industry.
Melissa is managing partner of Siddhi Capital, which she co-founded in March 2020 with Steven Finn, who serves as the SPAC’s co-CEO. Siddhi Capital is an early-stage venture fund in the food and beverage industry. Melissa is also the founder of Siddhi Ops, Inc., an outsourced operating firm serving the high-growth and emerging food and beverage companies.
The SPAC’s management team includes chief financial officer Amy Salerno, who also serves as CFO of another SPAC: Rotor Acquisition Corp. Siddhi Acquisition’s board includes Gail Zauder, managing partner of Elixir Advisors, LLC; Susan Guerin, president and CEO of World Finer Foods; and Lauri Kien Kotcher, who was most recently CEO of Hello Products, which was acquired last year by Colgate. Lauri’s background includes serving as a senior advisor to private equity firm L Catterton and serving as chief marketing officer and senior vice president, global brand development for Godiva Chocolatier, Inc.
A SPAC co-founded by Gaw Capital Partners’ Gaw files to go public
A special purpose acquisition company co-founded by private equity executive Christina Gaw files to go public. Gateway Strategic Acquisition is seeking to raise $300 million and list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GCSA.U. Once public, the SPAC will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. Gateway is focused on the tech sector.
Christina is managing principal and head of capital markets at Gaw Capital Partners, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm. She co-founded the SPAC with her brother, Goodwin Gaw, who is co-founder, chairman and managing principal with Gaw Capital.
Bain Capital Private Equity’s portfolio company Diversey Holdings goes public
Susan Levine, a managing director with Bain Capital Private Equity, is on the board of a firm portfolio company that goes public. Diversey Holdings raised $692 million by pricing 46.2 million shares at $15 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol DSEY.
Based in Northampton, UK, Diversey provides cleaning and hygiene products to the institutional food and beverage markets. It generated $2.6 billion in sales in 2020. Bain Capital spun it out of publicly traded Sealed Air Corp. in 2017. Ilham Kadri initially led the stand-alone business before leaving in 2018. She is now CEO of Solvay.
Susan joined Bain Capital in 2006 from Bain & Company where she was a consultant. As Bain Capital Private Equity’s head of talent, she focuses on making sure that its North American portfolio companies have strong leadership teams and high-performance culture initiatives.
LAVA Therapeutics goes public
LAVA Therapeutics goes public – an event that happens a little over six months after Novo Ventures’ Nanna Lüneborg and Sanofi Ventures’ Laia Crespo backed it. Focused on developing bispecific antibodies to engage gamma-delta T cells for cancer therapies, LAVA raised $101 million by pricing 6.7 million share at $15 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol LVRX.
With offices in Utrect, Netherlands and Philadelphia, LAVA has created a bispecific gamma-delta T cell engager platform that is says is harnessing the unique properties of these T cells to create a tumor-targeted immunotherapy to improve outcomes for cancer patients. Gamma-delta T cells are the natural surveillance cells of the immune system, continuously patrolling the human body for the identification and targeting of tumor cells. These cells bridge the innate with the adaptive immune system and are viewed as a largely untapped opportunity in cancer treatment.
Novo, according to LAVA’s filing, owned 16.2 percent of the company prior to the offering, while Sanofi held 9.7 percent. Gilde Healthcare and Versant Ventures each owned 22.2 percent prior to the IPO.
Novo and Sanofi led LAVA’s $83 million Series C round that was announced in September. Both Nanna and Laia joined the company’s board at that time, although LAVA’s filing only lists Nanna as a board member.
Nanna and Laia in 2020 also both led their firms into NodThera, which is seeking to treat diseases driven by chronic inflammation. Nanna joined NodThera’s board, while Laia became an observer.
A partner with Novo Ventures, Nanna, is also on the boards of Epsilon-3 Bio, Orphazyme, ReViral and Inventiva. She has been with Novo A/S since 2012 and joined its Novo Ventures unit in 2016. Nanna previously was a part of the life science team at Apposite Capital. Novo A/S is fully owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
Laia, who is Sanofi Ventures’ head of EU investments, joined the firm in 2018 from Ysios Capital where she was an investment director. Laia’s background also includes roles with Janssen-Cilag, Medivir, UCB-Celltech and Spirogen, which is now part of AstraZeneca.