Ivana Magovčević-Liebisch-led Vigil Neuroscience raises $90M in Series B funding

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing August 23, 2021

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Ivana Magovčević-Liebisch-led Vigil Neuroscience raises $90M in Series B funding

A company led by Ivana Magovčević-Liebisch, which is harnessing the power of microglia for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, raises significant funding. Vigil Neuroscience completed a $90 million Series B financing round led by Vida Ventures with participation from existing investors Atlas Venture, Northpond Ventures and Hatteras Venture Partners, as well as new investors Surveyor Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Invus, OrbiMed, Rock Springs Capital, Deep Track Capital, Logos Capital, Pivotal bioVenture Partners and Lightstone Ventures

Based in Cambridge, Mass., Vigil is focused on treating both rare and common neurodegenerative diseases by restoring the vigilance of microglia, the sentinel cells of the brain’s immune system. The company is utilizing the tools of modern neuroscience drug development across multiple therapeutic modalities to rapidly deliver precision-based therapies to improve the lives of patients and their families. The funding will be used to advance a pipeline of microglia-targeted medicines to treat rare and common neurodegenerative diseases.

Vigil’s board includes Cheryl Blanchard, president and CEO of Anika Therapeutics.

Sharon Lim’s Browzwear secures $35M in funding from Radian Capital

A Singapore-based 3-D digital solutions provider for the fashion industry co-founded by Sharon Lim is styling after raising capital. Browzwear secured $35 million in funding from Radian Capital.

For designers, Browzwear accelerates collection development, opening limitless opportunities to create iterations of styles. For technical designers and patternmakers, Browzwear rapidly fits graded garments to any body model with accurate, true-motion material replication. For manufacturers, Browzwear’s Tech Pack delivers everything needed to produce physical garments perfectly the first time, and at every step from design to production.

The investment will accelerate delivery of the company’s aggressive goals for platform development and market expansion. In a statement, Sharon said, “by facilitating processes from product development and manufacturing to final retail sale, Browzwear will drive more value for its customers and bring greater efficiency, sustainability and profitability to stakeholders throughout the fashion industry. With Radian as our partner, we are well-positioned to make our vision a reality and bring the future alive today.”

Virginia Emery’s Beta Hatch raises $10M in funding

Beta Hatch, which was founded by Virginia Emery to utilize insects as a sustainable protein for animal feed, munches on more funding. The Cashmere, Wash. company raised $10 million from Lewis & Clark AgriFood and existing investors Cavallo Ventures and Innova Memphis. It raised $3 million in Series A-1 financing in 2020 and $2.1 million in 2018.

Beta Hatch develops insect-rearing technology that converts organic waste directly into high-value proteins, oils and nutrients for agriculture. It is developing what it says will be the largest mealworm production facility for animal feed in North America. Virginia has a doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley and more than 12 years of experience working with insects.

H.I.G. Capital purchases Gail Spinella’s Pegasus Home Fashions

Gail Spinella and her husband, Carmine, have sold their polyfill pillow manufacturing company to a private equity firm. Terms of Pegasus Home Fashions’ purchase by H.I.G. Capital were not disclosed.

Founded in 1990 and based in Elizabeth, N.J., Pegasus has a broad portfolio of licensed, private label and proprietary brands and currently services blue chip customers within the mass-market, warehouse club and specialty channels. Pegasus is poised for continued growth from expanding its portfolio of company-owned and licensed brands, establishing new and growing its existing customer relationships and channels, and pursuing strategic add-on acquisitions within new and existing product categories.

Susan Hunt Stevens’ WeSpire raises $13M in Series B funding

An employee experience platform for ESG initiatives founded by Susan Hunt Stevens secures funding. WeSpire gained $13 million in Series B funding led by Level Structured Capital.

Boston-based WeSpire provides companies with an employee experience technology platform to design, run and measure the impact of their purpose-driven employee engagement initiatives. On WeSpire, employees are inspired to participate in sustainability, social impact and giving, wellbeing and inclusive culture programs that improve business performance and drive a better working world.

The investment will help the company expand sales, marketing and customer success teams and drive product innovation. In a statement, Susan said, “we have grown tremendously in the past eighteen months and are thrilled to be working with Level Structured Capital to support our growth. The team at Level understands our vision and the exciting ESG market opportunity.”

Amanda Eisel is moving from her role as an operating partner with Bain Capital to lead Zelis

Amanda Eisel is moving from her role as an operating partner with Bain Capital to lead a firm portfolio company that she has been advising. Amanda is now CEO of Zelis, a health care industry payments company.

Prior to Bain, Amanda was a consultant at McKinsey & Company. Companies that she’s worked with include Waystar, Rocket Software, Applied Systems and Viewpoint.

Bain became an investor in Zelis two years ago when it provided support as Parthenon Capital merged Zelis and another portfolio company, RedCard. The transaction valued the merged company at $5.7 billion, according to published reports.

Ishita Verma’s Klub raises seed funding of $20M

An Indian fintech start-up co-founded by Ishita Verma that provides revenue-based financing gains capital. Klub raised a seed funding round of $20 million in a mix of equity and debt led by existing investors 9Unicorns and Sequoia Capital India’s Surge. New investors Alter Global and GMO VenturePartners also participated in this round.

The Klub platform offers funding, without equity dilution or personal guarantees, for recurring marketing, inventory and other capital expenditures. The company plans to utilize the latest seed capital to expand its team, accelerate development of its tech and data platform and expand its product offerings and market segments.

Abby Taylor’s Playa Bowls scoops up capital

A restaurant chain dedicated to healthy, sustainable living co-founded by Abby Taylor scoops up capital. Playa Bowls raised funds from Tamarix Equity Partners and Pacific General Holdings. The terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

Based in Belmar, N.J. with 126 stores nationwide, Playa Bowls serves healthy açaí, pitaya, coconut bowls and smoothies with sustainability and community in mind. The company is on a mission to lead communities in healthy, sustainable living by using fresh, high-quality ingredients in their bowls and smoothies. Abby founded the company with Rob Guiliani, who is CEO.

Julie Johnson Roberts’ Armored Things raises $12M in Series A financing

A company providing AI-powered software-as-a-service for crowd analysis and intelligence whose co-founder and CEO is Julie Johnson Roberts reels in additional funding. Armored Things raised $12 million in Series A financing led by Nimble Ventures, with additional participation from Gutbrain Ventures, PBJ Capital and Micromanagement Ventures and existing investors Glasswing Ventures, Will Ventures and Inovia Capital. In 2020, Armored Things raised $7 million in additional seed funding. 

The Boston-based AI-powered platform provides facilities and security teams with an accurate, real-time understanding of how many and how often people are utilizing different spaces in arenas, buildings and on campuses. The software enables smarter decisions related to crowd density, space utilization, security, maintenance and guest experience while also providing easy access to valuable data trends for ROI related to space management.

The company will use the new funding to continue to build out its product platform, add to its team and accelerate its go-to-market efforts in sports and entertainment venues and on college and corporate campuses.

In a statement, Julie said, “the market for crowd intelligence and analytics in sporting/entertainment venues and college and corporate campuses is poised for exceptional growth over the next few years. The investment support from Nimble and our new and existing investors puts us in a powerful position to capitalize on that opportunity.”

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