Kathryn Cavanaugh’s Capstar Ventures closes its inaugural fund while Megan Guy’s King River Capital closes its second fund

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

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Kathryn Cavanaugh’s Capstar Ventures raises $41.3M in its inaugural fund

Capstar Ventures, L.P., which was founded by Kathryn Cavanaugh, closes its inaugural fund. The Austin, Texas firm raised $41.3 million to invest nationally in early-stage consumer companies. Specifically, it seeks to back entrepreneurs addressing unmet consumer needs that resonate with Millennial and Gen Z consumers. In a statement, Kathryn said, “we seek to invest in founders who are solving their own pain points and who directly relate to and resemble their customers because we have seen how that authentic connection translates into high-growth companies.”

Kathryn previously invested in and advised early-stage companies while working at Grace Beauty Capital, Mainsail Partners and De Novo Ventures. She founded Capstar in 2019 with anchor capital from Texas entrepreneurs Steve Hicks, Robert Gauntt and Kendra Scott, founder of jewelry retailer Kendra Scott, LLC. Limited partners in the fund include Capital Creek Partners, Tiger Partners L.P. and J.P. Morgan. Capstar has the distinction of being the first fund to close as part of J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Project Spark – a new initiative in which J.P. Morgan invests balance sheet capital in diverse, emerging alternative fund managers.

Capstar has invested in 10 companies: Culina, a plant-based food company; Stylust, a commerce technology platform; Sarah Flint, a women’s luxury shoe brand; The Class, a health and wellness platform; Museum of Ice Cream, an experience-first development company; Packed Party, a celebration lifestyle brand; St. Frank, a luxury home décor brand; Bravo Sierra, the first military-native wellness company; Eterneva, a grief wellness company; and Intraloop, a community insights technology platform.

Amélie Brossier’s Aldebaran Capital Partners holds a first close on its maiden fund

A French investment company founded by Amélie Brossier holds a first close on its maiden fund. Aldebaran Capital Partners raised 130 million euros of its 300 million euros target. Limited partners include Bpifrance, the European Investment Fund, AG2R LA MONDIALE and French entrepreneurs and family offices.

Aldebaran is focused on supporting executives of small-and-mid-sized companies as they navigate through strategic and operational changes. It will seek to make direct investments of 15 million to 60 million euros in companies with revenue ranging from 20 million euros to 300 million euros.

In a statement, Amélie said, “France has a rich fabric of small-and-mid-sized companies. A large number of these have sound fundamentals and high potential, but their development is hindered by complexities that traditional private equity funds have neither time nor operational resources to handle. Our mission is to help these companies overcome these challenges and put them back on track to lasting, profitable growth. Human capital is critical to conduct effective execution. We are honored that major investors have placed their trust in us and pleased with the good fundraising momentum making our vision a reality.”

Prior to founding Aldebaran, Amélie was a managing director at FCDE, a fund that supports the development and transformation of high-potential French SMEs and SMIs. Her investments there included Récréa, Utac Ceram, Weyou, Babcock Wanson, Tarsus France, Paris Society, Plastibell, TVN and Le Bélier. Amélie’s background also includes stints with the Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement, Cinven and Bain & Co.

Lisette Tellez’s Ocean Azul Partners closes its second fund in excess of $40M

Ocean Azul Partners, which Lisette Tellez was involved in creating, closes its second fund. The Coral Gables, Fla. venture firm said it raised in excess of $40 million. Lisette formed the firm in 2017 with fellow partners Bill Pruitt, Salomon Sredni, Alex Tellez and David Zinn. Lisette was the former managing partner of the Dorm Room Fund.

While fundraising, Ocean Azul has invested in nine companies with the new fund: Digbi Health, Emerge, Simetric, 1Touch.io, Lynq Technologies, Bandwango, Mosaic, Swift Sync and 5x5 Technologies. The firm expects to have 20 to 24 core portfolio companies in the fund – 20 percent of which will be Israeli companies that have a U.S. market focus. It is primarily focused on B2B software and deeptech.

Isabelle Scemama-led AXA IM Alts raises 1.9B euros

AXA IM Alts, which is led by Isabelle Scemama, raises capital for its European life science investing efforts. AXA IM Alts landed 1.9 billion euros. The capital was raised over the last seven months, with commitments from a range of clients from North America, Asia and Europe.

The capital will primarily be invested through Kadans Science Partner, which AXA IM Alts completed the acquisition of in December last year. It will enable Kadans to execute new acquisition opportunities and continue to build out its existing development opportunities with a view to consolidating its market leading position in Europe.

In a statement, Isabelle said, “our investment into Kadans and the life sciences sector also dovetails with two of our broader investment themes. Firstly, of putting capital to work into opportunities which have strong ESG credentials and make a positive contribution to society and, secondly, of coupling long term investment capital with operational platforms and highly ambitious management teams wishing to operate without the constraint of short-term investment horizons.”

AXA IM Alts is a French asset management and investment solutions provider.

Megan Guy’s King River Capital closes its second fund at $95M

King River Capital, which was co-founded by Megan Guy, closes its second fund. The Sydney and San Francisco-based venture firm raised $95 million from such entities as Ariadne Australia, Belfer Management, Marinya Capital and executives at such companies as Xero, Mirror and Palantir. King River will continue to focus on making growth stage minority investments in the software sector.

It made 11 investments with its first fund. One of those companies, Sentropy Technologies, was recently acquired by Discord. Megan led King River into the company’s November 2019 Series A round and served on its board. Sentropy was co-founded by Michele Banko. King River recently made its first investment with its second fund in Paystand, a blockchain-enabled payment network for businesses. (See Story in Dish on the Deal).

In a statement, Megan said, “we love backing brilliant, diverse entrepreneurs across the US and Australia to reimagine the world we live in and create the next category-defining technology companies. Having a concentrated and focused portfolio enables our partnership to fully support our founders at every step of their journeys as they build and scale exceptional products and teams.”

Megan founded King River with Zeb Rice and Chris Barter. Her investments also include Osaro, a developer of AI-based solutions for industrial robots; Lark Health, digital chronic disease prevention and management platform; and Weav Music, an audio innovation lab co-founded and led by Elomida Visviki.

Mor Assia and Shelley Hod Moyal-led iAngels raises $55M

iAngels, which is led by Mor Assia and Shelley Hod Moyal, closes its first institutional fund. The Israeli high-tech focused venture firm raised $55.5 million – $25 million of which came from the European Investment Fund. The new fund also received commitments from 20 of the firm’s portfolio company founders.

iAngels now has more than $300 million in assets under management. The firm has recorded 22 exits over the past seven years, including recent liquidity events involving Arbe, eToro, Applitools and Simplex.

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