Fitzgerald, Taxin, Mutafchieva, Koszarny are involved in liquidity events this week while Cheng is among those doing new deals
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing March 29, 2021
A portfolio company of AMEX Ventures’ Fitzgerald and Grotech Ventures’ Taxin to be acquired by a company poised to go public
Cloud Elements, a portfolio company of American Express Ventures’ Lindsay Fitzgerald and Grotech Ventures’ Julia Taxin, has agreed to be acquired by a company poised to go public. Terms of Cloud Elements’ purchase by UiPath, Inc. were not disclosed.
Denver-based Cloud Elements is an API integration platform whose customers include SAP, Capital One, DocuSign and Xerox. UiPath, an enterprise automation software company, made a confidential filing to go public in December. The acquisition will enable UiPath to offer enterprise-grade user interface and API-based automation capabilities in a single platform. This will provide its customers with the flexibility to automate processes using an optimal mix of UI and API-based automation. The company was valued at $35 billion after a $750 million Series F round earlier this year.
Luciana Lixandru, who is now a partner with Sequoia Capital, led her former firm, Accel, into UiPath. Other backers of UiPath include Alkeon Capital, Coatue Management, Altimeter Capital, Dragoneer, IVP, Sequoia and Tiger Global.
In addition to American Express Ventures and Grotech Ventures, Cloud Elements received backing from Mercato Partners and Harbert Growth Partners. According to Crunchbase, it received a total of $46.6 million in funding.
Both Lindsay and Julia were observers on Cloud Elements’ board. Lindsay is also an observer on the boards of Flow, Better.com, Candex, Even Financial and Tradeshift. Julia is on the boards of or led investments in Airside Mobile, Backbone PLM, Drum Technologies, Optoro and The Mom Project and is an observer on the boards of Ceros, Shipmonk and UrbanBound. Cloud Elements’ board includes Katrina Garnett, who founded CrossWorlds Software, Inc.
White leads Insight Partners into iFoodDS’s $15M growth round
Allyson White, a principal with Insight Partners, leads the firm’s investment in a provider of food safety, traceability and quality management solutions for the fresh food supply chain. Insight led iFoodDS’s $15 million growth round.
Based in Seattle, iFoodDS has created a platform that gives retailers, foodservice chains, processors, shippers, packers, and growers instantaneous visibility across the supply chain, delivers real-time food safety practice assessment and data capture, and provides solutions to improve the quality of produce deliveries. Over the past year, iFoodDS has doubled its employee count and acquired HarvestMark. The company will use the funding to accelerate product innovation and support its market and category expansions.
In a statement, Allyson said “the shift to data-driven, cloud-based solutions is still in its early stages for many stakeholders in the fresh food supply chain. iFoodDS fills a crucial role in enabling these businesses to transform their food safety, traceability, and quality management processes giving them the power to build value with their trading partners and connect with consumers at the retail shelf."
In conjunction with the financing, Allyson joined iFoodDS’s board. Allyson joined Insight in 2012 after being a strategy consultant in the markets and customers practice at Monitor Group.
Insight has raised more than $30 billion in capital since its founding in 1995 and invested in more than 400 companies globally.
Thacher guides 3L Capital into Incode’s $25M Series A round
3L Capital Principal Paige Thacher guides the firm into an identity verification and authentication platform. 3L and DN Capital led Incode’s $25 million Series A round, which also included Framework Ventures, Walter Ventures, FJ Labs and DILA Capital.
Based in San Francisco, 3L enables businesses in an array of sectors to use a single platform for all their identify needs, from digital onboarding and know-your-customer to omnichannel authentication. The company will use the capital to scale its technology and triple its headcount.
In a statement, Paige said the company’s platform “is built to serve businesses operating in the physical and digital worlds with a holistic identity verification platform capable of tying a consumer’s offline and online identity together. While omnichannel capabilities are as critical for IDV as they are for payments, Incode is one of few players positioned to compete on that basis.”
Paige joined 3L in 2018 after being an associate at General Atlantic.
Third Kind Venture Capital takes part in TryNow’s $12 M Series A round
Third Kind Venture Capital, which was founded by Shana Fisher, is among those investing in a company that enables consumers to easily try items at home before buying. Third Kind took part in TryNow’s $12 million Series A round, which also included Shine Capital, Craft Ventures, SciFi VC and Plaid co-founders Zachary Perret and William Hockey.
Based in San Francisco, TryNow has developed a software platform that it says brings the dressing room to the living room, allowing consumers to check out for free, try items in the comfort of their own home, return unwanted items easily and only pay for what they keep. Brands utilizing TryNow include Universal Standard, Roolee, Western Rise and Solid & Striped. Its technology has also been built into programs implemented by Amazon Prime Wardrobe, Stitch Fix and Warby Parker.
In 2020 Third Kind backed such companies as Symbl, which has developed software to help companies generate insights from voice or text conversations and whose co-founder and CEO is Surbhi Rathore; Apparis, a vegan fashion brand founded by Amelie Brick and Lauren Nouchi; and Misfits Market, which offers subscription boxes of “ugly produce.”
Koszarny’s Horizon Capital sells its stake in Dobrobut
Horizon Capital, the Ukraine-focused investment firm whose CEO is Lenna Koszarny, exits from a company that it backed just two years ago. Horizon said it sold its minority stake in Dobrobut to existing shareholders – Oleg Kalashnikov, Dobrobut’s managing shareholder and CEO, and Concorde Capital. Terms were not disclosed, but in a statement, Lenna called it “a profitable exit.” Horizon acquired a stake in the health care services provider in April 2019, the terms of which were not disclosed.
Dobrobut operates a network of clinics in medical institutions in the Kyiv, Ukraine region. Horizon said that during its involvement, Dobrobut was able to rapidly execute “value-accretive” strategic projects, strongly accelerating its growth. During the past two years, it acquired Boris and Doctor Sam Clinics, completed the construction of a new flagship hospital and expanded its network of outpatient clinics.
In her statement, Lenna said Horizon was “proud” to back Dobrobut “during a very exciting phase in its development. We are confident that with these strong capital investments made, the future is bright for Dobrobut and for its shareholders.”
Earlier this year, Horizon invested in Creatio, a software company co-founded and led by Katherine Kostereva. Based in Chicago, Horizon invests in high growth and export-driven companies in Ukraine and the near region. Horizon has more than $850 million under management.
Lenna, a founding partner of Horizon, has been CEO since December 2014.
A portfolio company of Dawn Capital’s Mutafchieva has been acquired
A company that Dawn Capital Principal Mina Mutafchieva backed a year ago has been acquired by another venture-backed company. Terms of Cleanshelf, Inc.’s purchase by LeanIX were not disclosed, but Dawn will become a shareholder in LeanIX, a German enterprise architecture management provider. LeanIX last summer closed an $80 million Series D round from Goldman Sachs Growth, Insight Partners, DTCP, Capnamic Ventures and Iris Capital. Dawn led Cleanshelf’s $8 million Series A round, which also included LAUNCHub. Mina joined the board following the investment.
Cleanshelf was created to give company executives a better understanding of their SaaS tech stack. Based in San Francisco, Cleanshelf has created a platform that serves as the system of record for all SaaS subscriptions and usage and provides insights to chief information officers and chief financial officers as they consider renewals, cancellations and user access. LeanIX said the acquisition will help solve the problem that chief information officers and chief financial officers face in keeping track of a company’s decentralized software tooling ecosystem.
Mina joined London-based Dawn in 2019 from Palamon Capital Partners where she was a principal. She is on the boards of Dawn portfolio companies Eigen Technologies and Access Fintech, which she backed last fall. Mina is also an observer on the boards of Showpad and Templafy.
In 2020, Dawn closed its fourth fund at 333 million euros. It focuses on backing European business-to-business software startups.
Spann oversees the CPP Investments’ entrance into a joint real estate venture
Hilary Spann oversees the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s entrance into a joint venture that will develop multi-family rental projects in the Greater Toronto area. CPP Investments and Tricon Residential, Inc. will provide up to 500 million Canadian of equity capital that will allow for the expected development of 2,000 to 3,000 units at a gross development cost of 1.4 billion Canadian. CPP Investments will provide up to 350 million Canadian of the 500 million Canadian.
The joint venture will focus on developing rental apartments close to major transit and employment nodes. Tricon will serve as the developer, asset manager and property manager of the projects. Construction on the JV’s first project will begin in early 2022.
Hilary, who is managing director, head of real estate Americas, said in a statement that with the Greater Toronto area continuing to experience “significant undersupply of purpose-built rental properties” CPP Investments sees “a long-term opportunity to build and invest in properties alongside Triton… to meet this need with newer multi-family properties in transit-oriented locations.”
CPP Investments had 475.7 billion Canadian under management as of Dec. 31. It invests in real estate, private equity, public equity, infrastructure and fixed income instruments and has offices around the world.
The Ontario Teachers’ invests in Mitratech and has a portfolio company make a $1 billion acquisition
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, whose private equity activities are directed by Karen Frank, makes a strategic investment in a provider of legal and compliance software, and sees a portfolio company make a $1 billion acquisition.
The amount invested by Ontario Teachers’ in Mitratech was not disclosed. The investment will result in Hg, which has been Mitratech’s majority investor since 2017, becoming a minority investor and TA Associates selling its minority stake.
Based in Austin, Texas, Mitratech serves more than 50 percent of the Fortune 100 and more than 500,000 users globally. Additionally, more than 12,000 law firms collaborate with their corporate clients through the company’s product offerings. Karen, who is senior managing director, equities, said in a statement that “Mitratech is an exceptional business with a significant and growing suite of mission-critical technology solutions for corporate clients.”
Ontario Teachers’ also saw portfolio company Constellation Insurance Holdings, Inc. enter into an agreement to acquire Ohio National Mutual Holdings, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Ohio National Financial Services, Inc. for a total consideration of $1 billion.
Established in 1909, Ohio National has a network of financial professionals operating across 49 states and, as of Dec. 31 its affiliated companies had $41.2 billion in assets under management. Ontario Teachers’ and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec invested $500 million in Constellation in October 2019. In a statement, Karen called Ohio National “an established and diversified insurance carrier with a nationwide footprint.”
Earlier this year, Ontario Teachers’ teamed up with Ares Management Corp. to acquire a majority interest in TricorBraun, North America’s largest primary packaging distributor. Ontario Teachers’ is the administrator of Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan, with 204.7 billion Canadian in net assets as of June 30.
Acrew Capital’s Gouw backs Ketch
Acrew Capital’s Theresia Gouw backs a startup that is automating data privacy and governance. Acrew, which Theresia led the founding of in 2019, took part in Ketch’s $23 million Series A round, which also included CRV, Ridge Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.
Ketch says it is different from other data privacy and security companies in that it does “the heavy lifting of enacting privacy “behind the screen.” The company integrates consumer privacy preferences programmatically into internal systems and external platforms – like customer relationship management, e-commerce and analytics.
Ketch was co-founded by Tom Chavez and Vivek Vaidya, who previously founded Krux, which was acquired by Salesforce, and Rapt, which was acquired by Microsoft. Accel invested in both Krux and Rapt while Theresia was at the firm. Theresia left Accel in 2014 to form Aspect Ventures with Jennifer Fonstad. She and Jennifer decided to form new firms in 2019.
In conjunction with the round, Theresia joined Ketch’s board. Theresia also recently helped lead another of her firm’s funds, Acrew Diversify Capital Fund, into Pacaso, which is democratizing second home ownership. Her Acrew investments also include Solv, a digital health care platform co-founded and led by Heather Mirjahangir Fernandez.
Sofinnova Investments’ Katabi sees promise in Gyroscope Therapeutics, Ltd.
Sofinnova Investments’ Maha Katabi sees promise in a gene therapy company focused on treating diseases of the eye. Sofinnova took part in Gyroscope Therapeutics, Ltd.’s $148 million Series C round, which also included Forbion’s Growth Opportunities Fund, T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Tetragon Financial Group, Ltd., Fosun Pharma, Cambridge Innovation Capital and founding investor Syncona.
Based in London, Gyroscope will use the capital to advance the clinical development of its lead investigational gene therapy that is being evaluated for the treatment of geographic atrophy secondary to age-related macular degeneration. Geographic atrophy is an irreversible degeneration of retinal cells, causing a gradual and permanent loss of central vision. It results from dry age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of permanent vision loss in people over the age of 50. The therapy has received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is being evaluated in Phase II clinical trials.
In conjunction with the financing Maha joined Gyroscope’s board, which also includes Jennifer Cook, the former CEO of Grail, and Renée Galá, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Jazz Pharmaceuticals.
Maha is also on the boards of Vera Therapeutics, Inc., which is developing treatments for immunological and inflammatory diseases; Aerovate Therapeutics, Inc., which is developing drugs that will improve the lives of patients with rare cardiopulmonary disease; Quanta, which is uncovering novel cancer therapeutic candidates; Amplyx, which is developing broad-spectrum antifungal agents; and NorthSea Therapeutics, a Dutch company focused on treating metabolic, inflammatory and fibrotic diseases.
Maha joined Sofinnova in 2019 and was promoted to general partner in 2020. She previously founded Oxalis and spent 10 years with Sectoral Asset Management. Maha was a speaker during a recent diversity Perspectives Webinar.
Ironclad acquires PactSafe
Ironclad, a contract lifecycle management platform whose board includes BOND Partner Mary Meeker and Sequoia Capital Partner Jess Lee, pulls off an acquisition. Terms of Ironclad’s purchase of PactSafe were not disclosed.
Indianapolis-based PactSafe is a clickwrap transaction platform. Its customers include Wayfair, DoorDash and BMC Software. Ironclad said combining the two companies will expand digital contracting to include digital acceptance of online transactions. Ironclad’s technology is aimed at making it easy for businesses to make contracts and manage contract data post-execution.
In addition to BOND and Sequoia, San Francisco-based Ironclad has also received backing from such investors as Accel, Lux Capital, Y Combinator, Emergence Capital and Operator Collective, which is led by Leyla Seka and Mallun Yen. BOND led Ironclad’s $100 Series D round in January.
BOND, which Mary led the founding of, recently closed its second fund at $2 billion. Mary is also on the boards of Paid; Square; Hipcamp, which was created by Alyssa Ravasio to enable people to find and book privately-owned campsites; and Nextdoor, Inc., the social network for neighbors whose co-founders include Sarah Leary and Madison Bell.
Jess’s investments also include Mos, which was founded by Amira Yahyaoui and is focused on helping students get more college aid; Maven, the women’s health company founded and led by former venture capitalist Katherine Ryder; Setter; Dia&Co; Remix; TuneIn; and Re:Store, a retail company founded by Selene Cruz.
Kolodny leads Acrew Capital into Pie Insurance
When Lauren Kolodny was at Aspect Ventures, she steered the firm into Pie Insurance. Now that she’s at Acrew Capital – which was formed by a portion of the Aspect team – she has once again backed the provider of workers’ comp insurance for small businesses – a company which is also in the portfolio of SVB Capital’s Tilli Kalisky-Bannett. Acrew and Allianz X led Pie’s $118 million Series C round, which also included such existing investors as SVB, Greycroft, SiriusPoint, Elefund and Moxley Holdings.
The Denver-based company has now raised more than $300 million since its founding in 2017. Pie will use the capital to invest further in technology and automation, as well as grow its workers’ comp business. In a statement, Lauren said “Pie’s impact on small businesses has been incredible to watch, and we believe they are one of the most compelling companies in insurance today."
A founding partner at Acrew, Lauren is still also involved with her portfolio companies at Aspect. She is on the boards of Chime, Evident ID, Future Family and Tara.AI and an observer on the boards of Deserve and Kettle. Her investments also include Papaya, Gusto, Finix, HMBradley and La Haus.
Kiley guides VMG Catalyst into Daasity’s $3.4M seed round
Brooke Kiley, a partner with VMG Catalyst, seeds an analytics and data platform that enables brands to understand and leverage their data. VMG Catalyst is leading Daasity, Inc.’s $3.4 million seed round, which also included Centre Street Partners and a group of e-commerce founders and operators. Daasity had previously received backing from such firms as Cove Fund, Exeter Capital, 1855 Capital, Mooring Ventures, Okapi Venture Capital and Serra Ventures.
Based in San Diego, Daasity provides prebuilt dashboards that provide insights for inventory management, omnichannel measurement, marketing efficacy, customer segmentation and cohort analysis. It will use the capital to further develop its platform and product and increase marketing efforts.
In a statement, Brooke said that Daasity “enables merchants, both large and small, to quickly take ownership of their data in a cost-effective way. This is increasingly vital for brands as e-commerce continues to grow but also becomes more competitive.” Brooke joined VMG a year ago from Insight Partners where she was part of the investment team.
VMG Catalyst was established by VMG Partners to invest in early-stage, tech-enabled consumer products, services, applications and marketplaces as well as the infrastructure and technology stack that enables these businesses. It is investing from a $250 million fund.
FICC’s Beck shines capital on Solution Highpoint
Virginie Beck, director of investments at Fonds d’investissement de la culture et des communications, shines capital on a company that specializes in rigging and technical installation for the cinema and television industries. FICC and National Bank of Canada provided 4.35 million Canadian to Solution Highpoint, Inc.
Founded in 2007, Solution Highpoint offers a wide range of rental and installation services for suspension bridges and motors to meet the lighting and sound needs of film studios and other clients. The company will use the capital to acquire new equipment and offer a wider range of services. In conjunction with the financing, Virginie joined Solution’s board.
The Culture and Communications Investment Fund was established in 1997 and was the first venture capital fund in Canada to be dedicated to the cultural and communications industries. It has invested 90 million Canadian in 80 companies.
Praetura Ventures’ Singh-Landa takes part in PixelMax’s 2M pounds round
Sim Singh-Landa, an investment director with Praetura Ventures, takes part in backing an immersive communications platform. Praetura led PixelMax’s 2 million pounds round that also included ACT Capital Partners.
Based in Manchester, UK, PixelMax is seeking to revolutionize the way content is delivered to mass audiences through the use of 3-D interactive technology. The platform enables businesses to create and host their own virtual worlds, and is changing the way organizations inform, educate and engage with their audiences through the use of digital twinning, product or process simulation, and virtual environments.
Sim also recently joined the board of Enthuse after leading Praetura into the donations, fundraising and events platform. Sim joined Praetura in the fall of 2019 from Aston Ventures.
TSEF and Seventure Partners take part in Foodsmart’s $25M Series C round
The Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund, which is led by managing partner Liz Luckett, and Seventure Partners, whose CEO is Isabelle de Cremoux, are among those investing in a developer of a personalized telenutrition platform. TSEF and Seventure took part in Foodsmart’s more than $25 million Series C round, which also included Advocate Aurora Enterprises, Mayfield Fund, New Ground Ventures and some significant angels, including Classpass CEO Fritz Lanman and Clarence Otis, the former CEO of Darden Restaurants.
Based in San Francisco, Foodsmart combines the largest national network of registered dietitians, personalized meal planning and the broadest food marketplace to make eating well simple and affordable. The company supports more than 1.25 million members from more than 650 employers plus regional and national health plans. Foodsmart helps families leverage price comparisons, discounts, healthy food directed spending and newly online accessible Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits with partners like Walmart, Amazon and local grocers through Instacart.
In a statement, Liz said that TSEF “loves to invest in companies that can achieve profitability like Foodsmart, while having a core focus on delivering impact – including for low-income members, at scale.”
Liz is an observer on the boards of Aunt Bertha, CloudFactory, ConnXus, Frogtek and Pigeonly. Prior to TSEF, Liz was director of impact investing at Pershing Square Foundation. TSEF invests in software and services designed to help low-income communities and organizations that serve them.
Seventure invested via its Health for Life Capital funds. The fund’s investments include DERMALA, Inc., whose founder and CEO is Lada Rasochova and which is developing personalized, microbiome-based solutions for acne and other skin conditions; LARQ, a health and wellness hydration brand; Citryll, which is developing therapeutic antibodies; and DayTwo, whose founder and CEO is Lihi Segal and which is developing a glycemic control solution for people with type 2 diabetes.
Created in 1997, Seventure has more than 750 million euros in assets under management and invests in digital technologies in France and Germany and in the life sciences field across Europe and North America. Seventure focuses on the microbiome, biotech and pharmaceuticals; connected health and medtech; foodtech; industrial biotech; and agtech sectors. Seventure is a subsidiary of Natixis Global Asset Management.
Cheng leads Cornell Capital’s acquisition of INW | Innovations in Nutrition + Wellness
Cornell Capital Partner Justine Cheng leads the firm’s acquisition of a provider of differentiated nutritional and wellness products. Cornell has acquired INW | Innovations in Nutrition + Wellness from Rosewood Private Investments. Terms were not disclosed.
INW’s form factors span powders, liquids, capsules, tables, food bars, cremes and lotions. It has manufacturing operations across four states. INW also acquired Bee Health, a UK developer and manufacturer of nutritional supplements. Terms of that transaction also were not disclosed. Cornell will look to grow INW organically and through acquisitions.
In a statement, Justine said that INW “is an exciting and compelling opportunity that aligns with Cornell Capital’s strategy and investment experience in building leading global scaled businesses in attractive industries. We are impressed by INW's differentiated, value-added offering of high-touch innovation, operational excellence and speed-to-market for both well-known and emerging brands.”
Justine is chair of Cornell portfolio company Knowlton Development Corp. and a director of Instant Brands and Blue Mistral. She joined Cornell in 2016 after being a managing director in the private equity group at Fortress Investment Group. Cornell, which has offices in New York and Hong Kong, manages more than $4 billion of assets.
Justine individually is also on the boards of Northern Star Investment Corp. III and Northern Star Acquisition Corp., special purpose acquisition companies led by Joanna Coles. Northern Star Acquisition has agreed to merge with BarkBox, a subscription service for dog supplies co-founded by Carly Strife.
Vuppuluri leads Unreasonable Collective into Classcraft’s $3.6M round
Unreasonable Collective’s Pratibha Vuppuluri invests in a company that she says is tackling a huge challenge. Unreasonable took part in Classcraft’s $3.6 million round, which also included Brightspark Ventures, Whitecap Venture Partners, Amplify Capital and Theodorus Investment Funds.
Based in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Classcraft is a learning technology company focused on improving student behavior and engagement in virtual, hybrid and traditional settings. Teachers, administrators and staff use Classcraft to promote positive behavior, reduce negative behaviors and promote academic engagement. They have rewarded students for 40 million positive behaviors since the start of the pandemic.
In a statement, Pratibha said that Classcraft “is taking on one of the biggest challenges not just in education but in our culture — joining educators in the effort to improve student engagement and to help them find joy in learning and foster meaningful connections.”
Pratibha is a managing director. She was also involved in Unreasonable’s investments Air Protein, whose co-founder and CEO is Lisa Dyson and which is out to change the future of food.
Unreasonable Collective is a by-invitation-only members club that was launched by the Unreasonable Group and features individual investors from diverse backgrounds. Members are able to co-invest alongside institutional groups via managed syndicates. The group looks to invest in companies at the intersection of impact and technology.
Wei is involved in Thoma Bravo’s strategic growth investment in Applitools
Annie Wei, a vice president with Thoma Bravo, is involved in the firm’s investment in a provider of visual test automation software. Terms of Thoma Bravo’s strategic growth investment in Applitools were not disclosed.
Based in San Mateo, Calif., Applitools provides software engineers with AI-based and cloud-powered solutions to help automate functional and visual testing for their applications and ensure a seamless user experience. The company’s Visual AI platform uses computer vision algorithms, enabling engineering teams to rapidly write, run, analyze, and maintain tests to ultimately release high quality applications at incredible speed and reduced cost.
In a statement, Annie said that Applitools “is solving problems that developers, quality engineers, and digital product owners face every day, and we are thrilled to be partnering with the team as they continue to define and expand the visual and functional test automation market using groundbreaking Visual AI and cross-browser testing technologies.”
Annie joined Thoma Bravo in 2020 from BC Partners. Thoma Bravo is focused on the software and technology-enabled services sector and had more than $76 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31. The firm is a sponsor of the Women’s Private Equity Summit.