Cornet, Mahn, Edwards and Settle are among those investing in women-founded businesses this week
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing May 31, 2021
Marchese’s Kinema reels in capital from Human Ventures’ Hartnett
A social cinema platform founded by Christie Marchese reels in additional capital from Human Ventures’ Heather Hartnett. Kinema secured $2 million in seed funding from a group that also includes Kindred Ventures, Lupa Systems, Galaxy Interactive and I2BF Global Ventures. The company was initially incubated within and received pre-seed funding from Human Ventures’ startup studio.
Based in New York, Kinema is both a tech platform that enables social cinema and a network of non-theatrical exhibitors, including nonprofits, education institutions, faith centers and online influencers. Kinema’s mission is to offer filmmakers and communities alike unique cinematic experiences tailored to communities everywhere. Kinema is committed to being a resource to filmmakers and distributors by providing a new way of digital distribution, marketing, and monetization.
In a statement, Christie said, “at Kinema, we’re enabling cinematic experiences that are impactful, thought-provoking, engaging and - most importantly – everywhere. The pandemic taught us that the film-going experience can exist beyond the traditional movie theater. With Kinema we’re enabling global storytellers to connect with local audiences and putting the power of curation directly in the hands of community leaders and influencers.”
Heather, in a statement, added, “it was an obvious choice for us to support this endeavor. This is an exciting project that is creating an engaging experience for viewers and sharing inspiring stories of incredible filmmakers.”
Female Founders Alliance’s Feinzaig and angels Orekhova and Imbach back Indilo’s Datacy
Female Founders Alliance’s Leslie Feinzaig and angel investors Kat Orekhova and Sarah Imbach back a company co-founded by Paroma Indilo that gives individuals financial ownership over their data. Datacy raised $2.4 million in seed funding from a group that also included Redhawk VC, Trend Forward Capital, TrueSight Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, GFR Artists, Golden Seeds and APX.
The San Jose, Calif. company is a consumer insights data marketplace. It gives individuals financial ownership over their data by enabling them to be paid every time their data is used by a business. The company will use the financing to open its beta to early users and business customers. Paroma founded the company with Kaleb Wilson.
In a statement, Leslie said, “Datacy is one of those rare companies that can change the world for the better, for everyone. Paroma and Kaleb are outstanding founders, and the right ones to solve this problem.”
Cornet leads Eight Roads Ventures into Andrijauskaitė’s Interactio
Eight Roads Ventures’ Lucile Cornet grasps Simona Andrijauskaitė’s effort to reinvent language interpretation. Interactio secured $30 million in a Series A funding round led by Eight Roads and Storm Ventures, with participation from Practica Capital, Notion Capital, Change Ventures, and angel investors Jaan Tallinn and Young Sohn.
Based in Vilnius, Lithuania, Interactio is a simultaneous interpretation platform intended to break language barriers by providing remote participation for multilingual online and onsite meetings. The platform allows participants and interpreters to join and listen to the meeting in their preferred language from any device sitting anywhere in the world. Interactio will use the funds to further scale its team to support growth and invest in remote interpreter tools to make a top-notch experience for both interpreters and event participants.
In a statement, Lucile said, “Interactio is a disruptor in a multi-billion-dollar market, dominated by services-based incumbents that have remained undisrupted for the last decades. With its innovative product, this team is revolutionizing how language interpretation is being used by global businesses and institutions.”
Lucile was promoted to partner earlier this year. She is on the board of VIU Eyewear, OTA Insight and Fuse Universal.
Tracey leads Crawley Ventures into Dotseth’s Brandzooka
Crawley Ventures’ Martha Tracey leads the firm into a programmatic ad platform co-founded and led by Kelly Dotseth. The amount invested by Crawley and Sope Creek Capital in Brandzooka was not disclosed, but Brandzooka did say it will be raising a Series B round.
Based in Boulder, Colo., Brandzooka has developed technology that makes it possible for companies and agencies to place targeted ads on primetime TV and premium digital properties worldwide for as little as $5. Kelly was part of a group that founded the company in 2015.
In a statement, Martha said that Brandzooka “is well-positioned for continued growth” and that Crawley is “eager to see what Brandzooka is going to be able to do, particularly given their recent impressive growth and the market trends that are at their back.”
In conjunction with the financing, Martha joined the company’s board as an observer. A vice president with Crawley, Martha is on the boards of Crawley Petroleum Corp., CenterStone Technologies and Dalyte and is an observer on the boards of ThreatX and Gutcheck.
BlueRun Ventures’ Cheng and Maven Ventures’ Deshpande take part in Hello Heart’s $45M Series C round
BlueRun Ventures’ Cheryl Cheng and Maven Ventures’ Sara Deshpande reinvest in a digital health company founded and led by Maayan Cohen. BlueRun and Maven took part in Hello Heart’s $45 million Series C round along with IVP and fellow existing investors Khosla Ventures and Resolute Ventures.
Based in Redwood City, Calif., Hello Heart helps people manage their blood pressure, pulse medications and activity using AI-based technology. Users track key health metrics, receive personalized feedback and take steps to improve their health with clinically proven suggestions all through a smartphone. Hello Heart’s solution enables users to quickly identify a hypertensive crisis or irregular heartbeat. It works with companies to give employees with hypertension and prehypertension a means to track their condition.
BBG Ventures and Alante Capital invest in Yang-led Treet
BBG Ventures, founded by Susan Lyne and Nisha Dua, and Alante Capital, founded by Karla Mora and Leslie Harwell, invest in a company led by Sonia Yang which is rethinking the resale retail market. According to TechCrunch, Treet raised $2.8 million in a seed round from a group that also included Bling Capital, Matchstick Ventures, Techstars, BAM Ventures, Green Meadow Ventures, Interlace Ventures and V1.VC.
Based in San Francisco, Treet helps brands set up their own resale sites where buyers and sellers can list and find items, potentially gaining new customers. With Treet, brands are best positioned to know who has their items and can send emails and messaging encouraging resale.
BBG is an early-stage fund backing female founders with big ideas that will reshape the way we live.
Folkmann’s Mindset Ventures invests in Tomkins’ Future Family
Mindset Ventures, which was co-founded by Camila Folkmann, invests in Future Family, a provider of fertility care to women and couples that was founded by Claire Tomkins and which has raised capital from at least five other women-led venture firms. Mindset led Future Family’s $9 million Series A-1 financing round.
San Francisco-based Future Family’s platform allows flexible financing and for clients to get started immediately. Future Family offers plans for IVF, egg freezing, 24/7 on-demand support and all the medical costs associated with these procedures into one monthly payment. The company’s subscription model enables clients to receive concierge health care that includes a dedicated “nurse concierge” and a customized bundle of medical services through one easy monthly payment. Its plans range from $195 a month to $250 a month. Future Family was born out of Claire’s own struggles to get pregnant. She founded the company with serial entrepreneur Eve Blossom.
Future Family’s $10 million Series A round included Aspect Ventures, which was founded by Theresia Gouw and Jennifer Fonstad and which was led into the deal by Lauren Kolodny; BBG Ventures, the women-focused venture firm run by Susan Lyne and Nisha Dua; Ulu Ventures, which was co-founded by Miriam Rivera; Day One Ventures, which was founded by Masha Drokova; and Portfolia, which was founded by Trish Costello and largely features female investors. Others who have backed Future Family include Inovia Capital, LaunchCapital and RiverPark Ventures.
Mahn leads Verizon Ventures in Rauscher’s SAM Seamless Network
An Israeli network security company co-founded and led by Sivan Rauscher secures capital from Verizon Ventures’ Tammy Mahn. SAM Seamless Network raised $20 million in a Series B round led by Blackberry and Verizon Ventures, with participation from Blumberg Capital, Intel Capital, ADT and NightDragon.
Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, SAM offers a unified device-agnostic software solution to protect unmanaged networks and IoT devices. SAM was designed to study the behavior of a single network of fragmented devices. By using its unique cloud-based device and threat intelligence, SAM identifies every connected device and creates customized protection for every user, home or SMB, forming a bulletproof network. SAM will use the capital to drive innovation that brings enterprise-grade intelligence-based security to 5G-connected devices.
In a statement, Tammy said, “with an increase of at-home devices and with more people across the globe gravitating towards independent or remote work, SAM can be used as an enterprise-grade security solution for SMB and home networks. Verizon Ventures looks forward to supporting this seasoned team as they continue to keep consumer devices safe and stand as a leader in software-based cybersecurity.”
Tammy earlier this year led Verizon’s venture arm into Vdoo, a developer of product security for embedded software. Tammy joined Verizon Ventures in 2020 from Agrination, an Israeli-Asian corporate consortium focusing on Israeli agriculture and food technology companies.
LifeArc takes part in Eliem Therapeutics’ $60M Series B round
LifeArc, whose venture arm is headed by Clare Terlouw, takes part in a new financing round for Eliem Therapeutics, Inc., which was co-founded by Valerie Morisset and which launched just two months ago with $80 million in funding. LifeArc participated in Eliem’s $60 million Series B round, which also included Samlyn Capital and Acorn Bioventures and returning investors Intermediate Capital Group, RA Capital Management and Access Biotechnology.
Based in Seattle and Cambridge, England, Eliem is seeking to develop and commercialize therapies treating neuronal excitability disorders such as chronic pain, depression, epilepsy and anxiety. It will use the capital to advance its two lead, clinical-stage product candidates through topline data across four different indications in patients with chronic pain, depressive disorders and epilepsy. It will also advance its two preclinical-stage programs to selection of clinical development candidates.
Valerie founded Eliem with Bob Azelby, who is president and CEO. Valerie serves as executive vice president, R&D and chief scientific officer. She is also a senior advisor to Bridge Valley Ventures. Previously, Valerie was head of biology and translational medicine with Convergence Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.
Eliem’s board includes Judith Dunn, president of research and development, Fulcrum Therapeutics, and Leone Patterson, president and chief financial officer, Adverum Biotechnologies.
EQT Ventures’ Malmberg backs Karlsen’s Vev
EQT Ventures’ Sandra Malmberg backs a Norwegian company co-founded by Tine Karlsen that helps content creators build and launch interactive websites. Vev raised 5 million euros in a seed funding round led by EQT with participation from existing investors Sagene Tech Ventures and Skyfall Ventures.
Based in Oslo, Vev creates streamlined workflows for creating and launching interactive web content for all aspects of the web design process. The platform intends to create a new industry standard for visual web design. The fresh capital will be used to launch its platform to the public, invest in product development and scale its commercial team.
In a statement, Tine said, “we are entering a new era of visual web design, where we are bringing together code and no-code to allow unlimited creative freedom through frictionless collaboration between designers and developers in one platform. Designers, developers, and content creators can now collaborate using Vev when building and launching interactive websites.”
Sandra added in a statement “Vev is part of the next wave of groundbreaking tools that is entering the ecosystem, bound to propel a shift in visual web design.”
H Venture Partners and Springdale Ventures take part in Better Booch’s $4M Series A round
H Venture Partners, which was founded by Elizabeth Edwards, and Springdale Ventures, which was co-founded by Genevieve Gilbreath, pour capital into a kombucha maker co-founded by Ashleigh Lockerbie and her husband, Trey Lockerbie. H Venture Partners and Springdale took part in Better Booch’s $4 million Series A round. In 2019, the Los Angeles company raised $2.5 million from Crush Ventures. Better Booch is sold at such stores as Whole Foods, Sprouts and Safeway.
H Venture Partners recently seeded The Uplifters’ Prima, PBC, a hemp-based holistic wellness brand co-founded by Jessica Assaf and Laurel Angelica Myers, and also backed Avaline, a clean, organic wine brand co-founded by Katherine Power and actress Cameron Diaz. Its investments also include Felix, a direct-to-consumer digital health care company co-founded by Emma Stern.
Power and Diaz’s Avaline sips capital from Edwards and Settle
Avaline, a clean, organic wine brand co-founded by Katherine Power and actress Cameron Diaz, sips fresh capital from H Venture Partners’ Elizabeth Edwards and returning investor Dana Settle of Greycroft. The Los Angeles company secured $9 million in Series A financing.
Katherine is also CEO of Clique Brands, a media and consumer brands company which Dana also has backed. Katherine is also CEO and Dana is chair of a special purpose acquisition company, Powered Brands, which went public earlier this year.
Cameron starred in such movies as “The Mask,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Shrek” and has also co-authored two healthy living books.
H Venture Partners has also recently backed Better Booch, a kombucha maker co-founded by Ashleigh Lockerbie, and The Uplifters’ Prima, PBC, a hemp-based holistic wellness brand co-founded by Jessica Assaf and Laurel Angelica Myers. Its investments also include Felix, a direct-to-consumer digital health care company co-founded by Emma Stern.
McBane leads StandUp Ventures into StoryTap’s $2.3M seed round
StandUp Ventures’ Michelle McBane likes what she sees from a video storytelling platform co-founded and led by Bernadette Butler. StandUp and Refinery Ventures led StoryTap’s $2.3 million seed round.
Working out of offices in Vancouver, BC and Toronto, StoryTap enables brands to source, produce, curate and distribute on-brand customer-generated content like video reviews, video Q&A and video content. Brands that it has worked with include UCLA, TELUS, Durex and CanadianTire. Bernadette founded the company with Sean Braacx, who is chief technology officer.
In conjunction with the financing, Michelle joined StoryTap’s board. StandUp, which Michelle leads, also in 2021 has backed My Intelligent Machines, Inc., an artificial intelligence and systems biology company co-founded and led by Sarah Jenna, and AmacaThera, which was co-founded by Molly Shoichet and which is developing an alternative to opioids.
Chadwell sees impressive return from the sale of Beautycounter
In April, we told you that Beautycounter, which was founded by Gregg Renfrew, was being acquired by the Carlyle Group in a transaction that valued the clean beauty company at $1 billion. What we did not know is that one of those who saw an impressive return from the sale was Tracy Chadwell who tells Women’s PE Briefs that Beautycounter’s “early momentum” paired with her own past roles gave her the “courage” to eventually start her current firm 1843 Capital.
Tracy did not say how much specifically she put into the company, but said she saw a 20 fold return on her investment. She said she first invested in Beautycounter in 2013 when she “was considering what to do next” after roles at Baker Capital and Robertson Stephens. “I was invited to the launch of Beautycounter by a friend,” Tracy said. “They were looking for consultants and I was struck by Gregg’s experience as a second-time founder, the branding which was more sophisticated than competitors and the unique peer-to-peer distribution model. I had been following Stella and Dot, a company that used the same model as Beautycounter to sell jewelry. In a couple of years Stella and Dot had ramped to $200 million in sales. I felt Beautycounter had the same potential so I approached Gregg at the launch and asked if she had a round open.”
Gregg founded Beautycounter with the mission of getting safer products into the hands of everyone. It offers more than 100 products and sells through more than 65,000 North American retailers. Prior to founding Beautycounter, Gregg founded The Wedding List, which was sold to Martha Stewart, and was CEO of Best & Co., Tommy Hilfiger’s children’s retail group.
Tracy said she then invested in Beautycounter again in its 2015 Series B round that was led by TPG Growth. She did not, she said, put Beautycounter into 1843 Capital’s portfolio and also did not sell her stake in the company until this month.
1843 Capital closed its debut fund in 2020 at $13.1 million. The firm has to date made 11 investments. Recently, it backed Avanti Financial Group, a start-up digital asset company founded and led by Caitlin Long. 1843’s investments include Enveil, a data security company founded and led by Ellison Anne Williams.
Tracy is a past speaker at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit and recently led a Perspectives Webinar.
Etsy is paying more than $1B for Raga-led Depop
Etsy is paying more than $1 billion for Depop, a social shopping platform whose CEO is Maria Raga and whose board includes General Atlantic’s Melis Kahya Akar and Octopus Ventures’ Rebecca Hunt. Etsy has struck a deal to purchase the London-based company for $1.625 billion, its biggest ever acquisition.
Etsy sees Depop as “the resale home for Gen Z consumers.” Depop allows anyone to set up their own shop, buy from and sell to others, connect with customers and discover unique items. Founded in 2011, Depop has 21 million users and gross merchandise sales of $650 million in 2020.
Depop, according to Crunchbase, has raised some $105 million from a group which in addition to General Atlantic and Octopus includes Balderton Capital, Holtzbrinck Ventures, Creandum, Red Circle Investment and Lumar. Depop’s last known round was its 2019 $62 million Series C round.
Maria joined the company in 2014 as vice president of operations and was promoted to CEO in 2016. Melis is a principal and head of consumer for EMEA for General Atlantic. She is on the boards of Joe & the Juice, Gymshark and Sézane. Rebecca’s portfolio includes Taster, Whirli, Appear Here, Outfittery, Trouva, UniPlaces, BridgeU and KatKin, a cat food company co-founded by Nikki O’Farrell.
Bessemer’s Goldberg helps turn Behrens Wu’s Shippo into a unicorn
Bessemer Venture Partners’ Talia Goldberg turns portfolio company Shippo, whose CEO and co-founder is Laura Behrens Wu, into a unicorn. BVP led the San Francisco company’s $50 million round that values it at $1 billion. Shippo seeks to make shipping simpler and more cost effective for businesses. The new round comes just three months after BVP took part in Shippo’s $45 million Series D round that valued it at $495 million. BVP has backed the company since 2017. Talia, a BVP partner, is an observer on its board. Shippo’s past backers also include D1 Capital Partners, Union Square Ventures, Uncork Capital and Version One.
Shippo has created a platform that enables businesses to connect with a network of shipping providers to compare rates and services, print shipping labels and track packages. It currently has more than 100,000 customers. Laura founded the company in 2014 with Simon Kreuz, whom she met while attending Harvard Business School. Her background includes roles with Earbits, LendUp and Harvard College Consulting Group.