Clara Sieg, Katherine Boyle, Alice Zhang and Kelly Granat invest in women-led companies
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing July 5, 2021
A portfolio company of SoftBank’s Gosia Karas is being acquired
A company that Gosia Karas led SoftBank into and whose CEO is Melonee Wise – Fetch Robotics – is being acquired by a publicly traded company whose venture unit previously backed it. Zebra Technologies Corp. agreed to buy the 95 percent of the San Jose, Calif. robot maker that it does not own for $290 million. Fetch raised nearly $100 million from a group, which in addition to SoftBank included Zebra Ventures, Fort Ross Ventures, CEAS Investments, Translink Capital, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Sway Ventures and Redwood Technologies Group.
Fetch’s autonomous mobile robots are used for optimized picking in fulfillment centers and distribution centers, just-in-time material delivery in manufacturing facilities and automating manual material movement in any facility. It is generating annualized run-rate sales of approximately $10 million.
Melonee joined as CEO in 2015. She was formerly CEO and co-founder of Unbounded Robotics and before that spent six years with Willow Garage, a pioneering personal robotics company.
Gosia, who joined SoftBank in 2019 from Onex, is an investment director and head of growth stage investments at the SB Opportunity Fund. Her investments include Welcome Tech, EightSleep, Paystand, Drift, Bank Greenwood, PlayVs, Loggi, Konfio, Alphacredit and Memphis Meats, whose board she is an observer on.
Revolution Ventures’ Clara Sieg, angel investor Marilyn Hirsch and Female Founders Fund back Wagmo
Revolution Ventures’ Clara Sieg and angel investor Marilyn Hirsch join returning investor Female Founders Fund, which was founded by Anu Duggal, in backing a pet wellness and insurance company co-founded by Christie Horvath and Alison Foxworth. Revolution led Wagmo’s $12.5 million round, which in addition to Marilyn included Jeffrey Katzenberg and such returning investors as Vestigo Ventures and Clocktower Technology Ventures. The new round follows the $3 million seed round that Wagmo did in 2020.
Based in New York, Wagmo offers plans that cover the day-to-day essentials of having a pet. This includes routine and preventive expenses such as annual exams, vaccines and grooming. Customers receive 24-hour reimbursements through Venmo, PayPal or direct deposit. To date, it has processed more than 30,000 claims.
In a statement, Clara said that “currently, only 3 percent of pets are insured due to poor customer experience and outdated offerings from legacy carriers. Yet pets have become an increasingly prominent part of owners’ lives, particularly for younger generations. Wagmo exceeds the expectations of today’s pet parents by offering superior customer experience through its mobile-first technology, SMS messaging support and easy reimbursements through streamlined online payment systems.”
In conjunction with the financing, Clara joined Wagmo’s board. A partner, Clara’s portfolio also includes Bloomscape, Paro, Playa, SRS Acquiom, Policygenius and Good Buy Gear, an online site to easily sell used baby and kids’ gear that was co-founded by Kristin Langenfeld and Jessica Crothers.
Inspired Capital’s Alexa Von Tobel and Theresia Gouw and Lauren Kolodny’s Acrew Capital re-invest in Orum
For the second time in 2021, Inspired Capital’s Alexa Von Tobel guides her firm 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 both invested in Orum’s $21 million Series A round as well as its 2020 seed round, participated in the company’s $56 million Series B round that also included Accel, Canapi Ventures and such other prior investors as Bain Capital Ventures, Homebrew, Primary, Clocktower Technology Ventures and BoxGroup. SVB Capital’s Tilli Bannett guided her firm into the company’s Series A round.
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, HM Bradley, Zero Financial and Alloy. Alexa is the company’s chairman.
Angel investor Kristen Dickey re-invests in Marstone
Angel investor Kristen Dickey re-invests in a digital wealth technology company whose co-founder and CEO is Margaret Hartigan. Kristen took part in Marstone, Inc.’s $5 million Series A round, which also included Apex Fintech Solutions, LLC, Amerant Bancorp, Inc. and such other angels as John Thain. Marstone has now raised more than $20 million.
Marstone describes itself as a one-stop digital wealth platform accelerating customer-facing strategies for global organizations. Margaret founded the company in 2013 with Robert Stone.
Kristen, a retired BlackRock managing director, joined Marstone’s board in 2018.
General Catalyst’s Katherine Boyle and Verge Genomics’ CEO Alice Zhang take part in Osmind’ s $15M Series A round
General Catalyst’s Katherine Boyle and Verge Genomics’ CEO Alice Zhang reinvest in Osmind, which provides software and clinical insights for mental health providers and patients and whose co-founder and CEO is Lucia Huang. General Catalyst and Alice took part in the San Francisco company’s $15 million Series A round that included Future Ventures, Tiger Global, Offline Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures and a series of angel investors. The financing comes less than a year after General Catalyst led Osmind’s $2 million seed round.
Osmind will use the financing to further develop and expand its electronic health record and research platform that is used by providers and researchers working with treatment-resistant mental health populations. About a third of those with depression are considered treatment-resistant, meaning they have failed two or more adequate trials of conventional therapies. Osmind’s software enables patient engagement, remote monitoring and data-driven clinical decision-making while automating administrative aspects of clinical care and practice management. Since its launch a year ago, Osmind has been serving more than 215 mental health practices in 38 states. Lucia founded Osmind with Jimmy Qian, who is the chief operating officer.
Linda Greub and Corinne Nevinny’s Avestria Ventures invests in AOA Dx
Avestria Ventures, which was founded by Linda Greub and Corinne Nevinny, invests in a company co-founded by Oriana Papin-Zoghbi and Anna Jeter, which is developing the first non-invasive ovarian cancer liquid biopsy diagnostic test. Avestria took part in AOA Dx, Inc.’s $2.5 million seed round that also included Joyance Partners, AlleyCorp, LaunchPad Venture Group, TBD Angels, Kyto Technology and Life Science, Pioneer Fund, Sidecar Angels and Beacon Angels.
AOA Dx is seeking to help detect ovarian cancer at a much earlier stage. Today, according to the company, 80 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed at stage III or IV, resulting in a very low 5-year survival rate. Oriana serves as CEO while Anna is chief business officer. They founded the company in 2020 with Alex Fisher, who is chief operating officer. AOA Dx has teams in Boston, New York and London.
Earlier this year, Avestria had a portfolio company, Alydia Health, acquired by Merck spin-off Organon for $215 million upfront plus a $25 million contingent milestone payment. The company, which was co-founded by Jessie Becker Alexander, is focused on making childbirth safer.
Avestria also recently closed its debut fund at $10 million. The firm, which was created in 2019, has also backed such other companies as Raydiant, which provides improved guidance as to whether an emergency caesarean delivery is needed, and Genome Medical, Inc., a genomics medical practice company co-founded and led by Lisa Alderson.
Diane Gosselin-led CQDM puts additional capital into Giiant Pharma
In May, we told you that AmorChem’s Elizabeth Douville and Theodorus Investment Funds’ Patricia Escoffier had seeded Giiant Pharma, Inc., which was founded by Elizabeth Kwong. Well now, CQDM, whose president and CEO is Diane Gosselin, has put additional capital into the Montreal-based company. CQDM invested 500,000 Canadian while AQC Capital put in 750,000 Canadian. The additional capital comes after Giiant closed a 13.5 million Canadian seed round from a group which, in addition to AmorChem and Theodorus, included Amplitude Venture Capital, Genesys Capital, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Anges Québec.
Giiant is focused on treating inflammatory bowel diseases. It has used its delivery technology platform to develop a lead candidate for IBD. The drug is an orally administered, colon specific PDE4 inhibitor prodrug with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Elizabeth founded Giiant after more than 20 years at Merck Frosst. She is Giiant’s chief development officer.
In a statement, Diane said the investment in Giiant “fits with CQDM‘s mandate to support innovative biopharma research in Quebec and to bridge the gap between early-stage companies and future investors.” CQDM is a biopharmaceutical research consortium whose mission is to fund the development of innovative tools and technologies that will accelerate the discovery and development of safer and more effective drugs.
Lone Pine Capital’s Kelly Granat leads Glossier’s $80M Series E round
Lone Pine Capital’s Kelly Granat applies capital to Glossier, Inc., the digital-first beauty company whose founder and CEO is Emily Weiss and whose prior backers include Forerunner Ventures’ Kirsten Green and Sequoia Capital’s Sonya Huang. Lone Pine, a Greenwich, Conn. investment firm, led Glossier’s $80 million Series E round, which in addition to Forerunner and Sequoia also included such other existing investors as Index Ventures, Thrive Capital and IVP. Roseanne Wincek led IVP into the company while a partner at the firm. She is now co-founder and managing partner of Renegade Partners.
New York-based Glossier sells 39 products that are priced between $12 and $60 – modern essentials spanning skincare, makeup, body and fragrance. It has more than 5 million customers globally. Glossier is primarily sold online but did have stores in New York and Los Angeles. Those were closed permanently due to the pandemic. Later this year, it will open three new, permanent stores in Seattle, Los Angeles and London. Emily, a former Vogue assistant, started a blog, “Into The Gloss,” in 2010. The blog resulted from her looking online for “inspiration” related to beauty products and not finding anything that spoke to her. The blog, which features interviews with models, makeup artists and other women she admired, discussed what they used and why and led to the creation of Glossier.
In a statement, Kelly said Glossier “is resonant across generations and geographies, not only for its products, but for the sense of connection and belonging the brand inspires. The community that’s formed around Glossier’s approach to beauty, one that champions individual freedom and choice, has made Glossier’s direct relationship with its customers all the more powerful. This is already an iconic and era-defining beauty company, and we’re excited to play a role in bringing Glossier experiences and products to people everywhere.”