Jennifer Bisceglie's Interos is now a unicorn

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing July 26, 2021

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Jennifer Bisceglie’s Interos is valued at more than $1B after raising a $100M Series C round

Interos, whose founder and CEO is Jennifer Bisceglie, is now a unicorn. The Arlington, Va. supply chain risk management company now has a valuation of more than $1 billion after raising $100 million in Series C financing from NightDragon and current investors Kleiner Perkins and Venrock. The new round comes some 16 months after Interos raised $17.5 million in Series B funding.

Interos has developed software that exposes critical risks in the global supply chain for private and public sector companies – a significant issue given supply chain shortages brought about by the pandemic and cyber attacks on such organizations as SolarWinds, Kaseya and Colonial Pipeline. The company has worked with the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and the Department of Energy.

Interos has seen a compounded annual growth rate of 303 percent in the last two years and saw a 104 percent increase in annual recurring revenue in 2020. Jennifer founded the company in 2005.

Magi Richani’s Nobell Foods raises a $75M Series B round

Investors slice capital into a start-up founded by Magi Richani that is developing plant-based cheese. Nobell Foods raised $75 million in a Series B round from Andreessen Horowitz and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, along with other investors, according to Fast Company.

Based in San Francisco, Nobell Foods uses soybean plants to produce casein, one of the key proteins found in cows’ milk and responsible for giving cheese its stretch and melt. The soybeans, which are currently grown in greenhouses in California as the company works on R&D, will soon be grown on fields in the Midwest, with its first customers set to be restaurants. With the new round of funding, the company is focused on commercializing its first products over the next two years.

Lisa Barnett, Michelle Muller and Angela Vranich’s Little Spoon raises $44M

A direct-to-consumer baby food company whose founders include Lisa Barnett, Michelle Muller and Angela Vranich lands additional capital. Little Spoon raised $44 million in Series B financing from a group that included Valor Equity Partners and Kairos HQ, according to TechCrunch. Prior backers of the company include Vaultier7, which was founded by Anna Sweeting and Montse Suarez, and SoGal Ventures, which was founded by Elizabeth Galbut and Pocket Sun.

Based in New York, Little Spoon utilizes organic ingredients and prepares fresh meals that are designed in partnership with a pediatric nutrition team. It offers a line of organic purees and a healthy toddler and kid’s meals line. Parents signing up for the service receive recommended meal plans for their child. The meals are shipped in a recyclable container complete with a spoon. Since launch, it has delivered more than 15 million meals. Lisa, Michelle and Angela founded the company with Ben Lewis, who is CEO.

Natalya Bailey’s Accion Systems is soaring after closing a new round

Accion Systems, Inc., which is redefining in-space propulsion and whose co-founder and CEO is Natalya Bailey, is soaring after closing a new round. The Boston-based company raised $42 million in a Series C round led by Tracker Capital, according to TechCrunch. In 2020, Accion raised $11 million in Series B funding from Shasta Ventures and Boeing HorizonX Ventures, the venture arm of Boeing. Accion has now raised a total of $78 million, including $14 million in Defense Department and NASA contracts.

Accion is developing scalable electric propulsion technology to transform satellite capabilities in and beyond the Earth’s orbit. The company’s system aims to increase the lifespan and maneuverability of satellites and other vehicles in space. Utilizing a non-toxic, ionic liquid propellant and postage stamp-size thrusters, the system is smaller, lighter and more cost-effective than traditional ion engines. Natalya founded Accion in 2014 with fellow Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineer Louis Perna.

Helaine Knapp’s CITYROW raises $12M in a Series A round

An omni-channel fitness brand offering rowing classes founded by Helaine Knapp pulls in capital. CITYROW gained $12 million in a Series A round led by JW Asset Management with participation from Sol Global and K2.

New York-based CITYROW offers rowing classes through its combined at-home digital platform and nationwide brick-and-mortar studio network. Proceeds from the raise will be used to enhance the company’s at-home digital platform, launch live-streaming classes and expand its company-owned and franchise studio model.

In a statement, Helaine said, “with access to additional capital, CITYROW will launch live-streaming, expand the number and types of classes offered, and continue to strengthen our proprietary performance tracking and measurement platform. Other important initiatives include bolstering our operations, building a more seamless integration between the in-studio and at-home experience and expanding our studio footprint to provide an incomparable experience to the thousands of individuals who rely on CITYROW to drive their fitness regimen.”

Kristen Valdes b.well Connected Health raises $32M

Investors pump additional capital into b.well Connected Health, which is seeking to provide consumers with a new front end to health care and whose founder and CEO is Kristen Valdes. The Baltimore company raised $32 million in an over-subscribed Series B financing round led by HLM Venture Partners with participation from existing investors ThedaCare, UnityPoint Health Ventures and Well Ventures, the venture arm of drugstore giant Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. In March 2020, b.well secured $16 million in Series A. It had previously raised $11.5 million in seed funding from a group that includes the woman-backed and led Portfolia Enterprise Fund.

b.well has developed a platform that integrates data, insights and partners into a single-customized solution, enabling individuals to take control of their health care experience. The platform works horizontally across the system to consolidate a 360-degree view of consumers’ real-time data and vertically to integrate the rapidly growing point solutions to provide timely health care services and support to consumers that is relevant to their needs.

Rosa Caputo’s KeyData Associates partners with CIVC Partners

KeyData Associates, a Canadian cybersecurity services provider founded by Rosa Caputo, partners with a private equity firm. Terms of CIVC Partners’ investment in the Toronto company were not disclosed.

KeyData provides services focused on identity security, including access management, identity governance and privileged account management. CIVC’s support will provide KeyData with additional capital and resources to enhance and expand its identity security services to adjacent cybersecurity services, both organically and through strategic add-on acquisitions.

CIVC is a Chicago-based private equity firm investing in high growth middle market companies in business services sectors.

Dr. Monica Bolbjerg’s Qure4u raises $25M in funding from Volition Capital

A patient engagement platform founded by Dr. Monica Bolbjerg raises capital. Qure4u closed $25 million in funding from Volition Capital. Monica founded Qure4us in 2015 in Bradenton, Fla. after experiencing firsthand the pain points of episodic care delivery. Qure4u aims to improve clinical insight and patient engagement between office visits. The all-in-one MyCarePlan platform digitizes key aspects of the patient journey, including scheduling, intake, consent forms, telehealth, care plan management and remote patient monitoring to bring greater collaboration, efficiency and convenience to patients and providers.

In a statement, Monica said, “our mission at Qure4u is to enhance clinical insight and improve patient outcomes by streamlining processes through self-service digital health tools that strengthen patient/provider relationships and experience. Our relationship with Volition Capital will enable us to further scale the business so we can continue to bring vital digital health solutions to market to help providers and patients mutually thrive in the emerging healthcare landscape.”

Susan Arthur is named CEO of CareerBuilder 

Susan Arthur is tapped to lead a private equity-owned, career solutions company. Susan was named CEO of CareerBuilder, replacing Irina Novoselsky. Susan joined from Oputm where she was chief operating officer for its $10 billion technology and services businesses. Optum is a division of UnitedHealthGroup. Her background also includes serving as group president of NTT Data and she’s held leadership roles with DXC Technology, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Electronic Data Systems.

Irina, who is now an advisor, became CEO of CareerBuilder in 2017 after Apollo and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan acquired the company from TEGNA, Inc., Tribune National Marketing Company, LLC and McClatchy Interactive West.

Palamon Capital Partners sells Sarah Miles-led Feelunique to Sephora 

Palamon Capital Partners sells a U.K. based online prestige beauty company led by Sarah Miles to Sephora. Terms of Sephora’s purchase of Feelunique were not disclosed. Sarah will continue to lead the online retailer of beauty products. Feelunique offers its customers a range of 35,000 products from more than 800 established luxury, niche, independent and challenger brands. In a statement, Sarah said, “we are delighted to join forces with Sephora, whose prestige positioning is the perfect fit for our prestige brand offering.”

Astrid Atkinson’s Camus Energy raises $16M in a Series A round

An advanced grid management technology provider co-founded by Astrid Atkinson secures funds to support community-centric utilities of the future. Camus Energy raised $16 million in a Series A round led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent Ventures, Wave Capital and other investors.

San Francisco-based Camus enables the community-led transition to a zero-carbon grid by empowering electric utilities with system-wide visibility and advanced controls, inclusive of utility-owned and customer devices. Camus’ software platform enables operators to more reliably, securely and cost effectively manage a changing grid. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.

In a statement, Astrid said, “it’s a new era of inclusive energy and our community-centric utility customers and service providers are using the Camus platform to provide their communities a meaningful way to collectively participate in our nation’s clean energy transition.”

Matilde Giglio’s Even raises $5M in a seed funding round lead by Khosla Ventures

Investors pump capital into a Bangalore, India-based company co-founded by Matilde Giglio to improve India’s health care. According to TechCrunch, Even received a fresh cash infusion of $5 million in seed funding in a round led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from Founders Fund, Lachy Groom and a group of individuals.

Even is a health care membership company aiming to cover what most insurance companies in India don’t, including making going to a primary care doctor as easy and accessible as it is in other countries. The company intends to use the new funding to build out its operational team, product and integration with hospitals.

VOCHI raises $2.4M from TA Ventures, Angelsdeck, A.Partners, Startup Wise Guys, Kolos Ventures and various angels

A European computer vision-powered video editing app co-founded by Anna Buglakova lands seed funding. According to TechCrunch, VOCHI raised $2.4 million from TA Ventures, Angelsdeck, A.Partners, Startup Wise Guys, Kolos Ventures and angels investors.

Based in Belarus, VOCHI provides an easy way for people to create professional edits that could help them produce unique and trendy content for social media to stand out and become more popular. To do so, VOCHI leverages a proprietary computer vision-based video segmentation algorithm that applies various effects to specific moving objects in a video or to images in static photos. VOCHI will use the funding to continue to work to attract more creators, improve user engagement and add tools to the app.

Foresight Group sells Sarah Bellamy-led Poppy & Jacks

Foresight Group sells a U.K. based children’s nursery company led by Sarah Bellamy. Poppy & Jacks was sold to Kids Planet, a national nursery chain. Based in the North West of England, Poppy & Jacks’ provides hundreds of personalized childcare centers around the U.K. Kids Planet will support the company’s development and the continued provision of a home from home environment across all nurseries.

In a statement, Sarah said, “without Foresight, Poppy & Jacks would have not been able to grow so quickly or find the perfect home for the Poppy & Jacks portfolio.” Foresight Group is an infrastructure and private equity investment manager.

Oak HC/FT leads Meghan Gaffney’s Veda’s $45M Series B funding

Veda, whose co-founder and CEO is Meghan Gaffney, has a simple pitch for its artificial intelligence and machine learning platform: It can save health care players and providers up to 90 percent in administrative costs by enhancing the processing speed and accuracy of information. Perhaps not surprisingly, Oak HC/FT has decided to fund the Madison, Wisc. start-up. Oak HC/FT led Veda’s $45 million Series B funding. The capital will enable the company to accelerate its growth and further its mission to help health plans focus on the health and well-being of its members, rather than burdensome administrative processes. In 2021, Veda expects to save health plans 500,000 hours in provider data processing time.

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