Lovisa Lander, Nicole Agnew and Hollie Haynes are involved in liquidity events while Kara Nortman, Naomi Pilosof Ionita and Sandhya Hedge guide their firms into a new investment
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing July 19, 2021
TA Associates sells a company that Lovisa Lander was involved with
TA Associates sells a company that Lovisa Lander was involved with to a portfolio company of another private equity firm. Terms of TA’s sale of Flashtalking to Mediaocean were not disclosed, but PE Hub said the company is selling for more than $500 million. Mediaocean is backed by Vista Equity Partners and is a mission-critical platform for omnichannel advertising. The combined entity will represent an advertising technology platform with more than $200 billion in annualized media spend and more than 1 trillion monthly ad impressions.
Based in London, Flashtalking developed a software platform for creating and delivering online advertising campaigns. TA Associates first invested in Flashtalking in 2013 and did a series of add-on acquisitions.
TA in 2020 sold its stake in another company that Lovisa was actively involved with, Zadig & Voltaire, to European private equity firm Peninsula. A principal, Lovisa is on the board of Biocomposites and an observer on the board of Vivacy. She is also actively involved in Babilou and Inspired.
Goldman Sachs sells a portfolio company of Nicole Agnew to a private equity firm
Goldman Sachs Asset Management sells a portfolio company of Nicole Agnew to a private equity firm. Terms of Goldman Sachs’ sale of Suja Life to Paine Schwartz Partners were not disclosed. Goldman and The Coca-Cola Co. made what was described as a significant investment in the San Diego maker of cold-pressured, organic beverages in August 2015. However, last year Nicole led a recapitalization of the company, which launched in 2012.
In a statement, Nicole said, “Suja’s success has led them to become a household brand, and we’re thrilled to have been part of the journey. We are grateful to the whole team for their stewardship of the company during the global pandemic and for giving us the confidence to increase our ownership of the company last year.”
Nicole, a managing director, last year led Goldman Sachs into Zaxby’s Operating Company LP, the fast-casual restaurant chain, known for its chicken fingers, wings and signature sauces. Nicole has also been with involved with Goldman Sachs’ investments in CTI Foods, Bass Pro and Luvo, Inc., whose CEO is Christine Day. She has also had at least three portfolio companies, Hearthside Food Solutions, Sensus and Michael Foods, Inc., that have been acquired for more than $1 billion.
Goldman Sachs Asset Management is the primary center for Goldman Sachs’ long-term principal investing activity. It makes investments across private equity, infrastructure, private debt, equity and real estate.
Hollie Haynes’ Luminate Capital Partners is selling another portfolio company
Luminate Capital Partners, whose founder and managing partner is Hollie Haynes, is selling yet another of its portfolio companies – this time to a company that is poised to become publicly traded through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. LiquidFrameworks, Inc., which Luminate acquired at the end of 2018, is being sold for $145 million in cash to ServiceMax, a maker of software for field-service technicians. ServiceMax, which is backed by Silver Lake, Salesforce Ventures and General Electric Co., has agreed to go public through a merger with Pathfinder Acquisition Corp., whose chief investment officer is Industry Ventures Managing Director Lindsay Sharma. (See Story in Stepping Out in Public).
Based in Houston, LiquidFrameWorks is an energy sector-focused mobile field operations cloud software vendor. It provides quote-to-cash and field ticketing software across the oilfield services, industrial services and environmental services industries. The company automates the process representing the lifecycle of a job from origination to billing. In a statement, Hollie said, “we are proud of LiquidFrameworks’ growth and development over the course of our investment partnership, as the company delivered a differentiated, mission-critical SaaS offering that helped customers in the oil, gas, and industrial services industry react quickly and efficiently navigate the digital transformation journey.”
LiquidFrameworks was Luminate’s second investment out of its $425 million second fund, which closed at the end of 2018. The first company that it backed from that fund, AutoQuotes, was also the last company that it backed with its first fund and was sold last month to TA Associates. Luminate over the past year has now had seven liquidity events. In total, it has sold or recapped nine of its 14 portfolio companies.
Kara Nortman, Naomi Pilosof Ionita and Sandhya Hedge guide their firms into Endgame’s $5M seed round
Upfront Ventures’ Kara Nortman, Menlo Ventures’ Naomi Pilosof Ionita and Unusual Ventures’ Sandhya Hedge guide their firms into a company focused on helping product-led sales teams take immediate action. Upfront led Endgame’s $5 million seed round, while Menlo led its $12.25 million Series A round. Unusual participated in both rounds. Other investors in the company include Liquid 2 Ventures and a host of angels, including Olivia Nottebohm, Yvonne Wassenaar and Elena Verna.
Based in Los Angeles, Endgame has developed what it says is the first dedicated software platform focused on product-led selling efforts. Such efforts enable individual users to adopt the product in free or trial versions. Endgame’s platform analyzes real-time signals from many data sources, including product adoption, user behavior, transactional data and sales activity – without needing data scientists or engineers.
In a statement, Kara said that “it’s a crazy time in the world of bottom-up SaaS and every company I talk to is trying to figure this out. Endgame provides the tooling to make product-led motions a reality.” Naomi, also in a statement, said that “with its purpose-built solution, Endgame saves engineering time and empowers sales to drive more revenue, faster. The business case is a no-brainer.” In conjunction with the financing, Kara and Naomi joined the board, while Sandhya became a board observer.
This is not the first time that Kara and Naomi have invested in the same company. Both brought their firms into Fleetsmith, which was acquired last year by Apple. Kara, a partner with Upfront, has also backed Britive; Ping; Open Raven; Qordoba, whose co-founder and CEO is May Habib; Skylar, whose founder and CEO is Cat Chen; Parachute Home, whose founder and CEO is Ariel Kaye; and Stem, whose co-founder and CEO is Milana Rabkin Lewis. She spoke at the Virtual Women’s Leadership Unbound Summit and will also speak at the Women’s Private Equity Summit.
In addition to Fleetsmith, Naomi in 2020 has also another portfolio company, ClearBrain, acquired by Amplitude. Her investments also include Matik, Anvil and Decent.
Sandhya joined Unusual as a partner last year from Amplitude where she most recently was executive vice president of product for the product intelligence platform. Prior to Amplitude, Sandhya spent time as an investor at Khosla Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
Generation Investment Management’s Lila Preston spreads capital into Pivot Bio
Generation Investment Management’s Lila Preston spreads capital into a company seeking to replace synthetic fertilizers in agriculture. Generation took part in Pivot Bio’s $430 million Series D round, which also included DCVC, Temasek, G2 Venture Partners, Rockefeller Capital Management, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Continental Grain Company, Pavilion Capital, Bunge Ventures, Tekfen Ventures and Prelude Ventures. Victoria Beasley, a partner with Prelude, served between 2016 and 2019 as an observer on Pivot Bio’s board.
Based in Berkeley, Calif., Pivot has developed technology that eliminates synthetic nitrogen’s adverse effects. A $197 billion market, synthetic fertilizer is the leading cause of crop-related greenhouse gasses. It also depletes soils, harms water supplies and fisheries. Pivot’s product is now used on more than one million acres of farmland. It saw revenue triple in 2021. In a statement. Lila said, “we are thrilled to be investing in Pivot Bio, given the deep trust they have built among farmers by providing solutions which are both more sustainable and profitable for their customers.”
Lila last year led Generation into Nature’s Fynd, an alternative meat and dairy company, and joined its board. (See Story Below). She is also an observer on the boards of CiBO Technologies, Optoro and Toast, Inc. Lila, who has been with Generation since 2004, heads its growth equity strategy. She is a past speaker at the Women’s Private Equity Summit.
Generation in 2019 closed its third growth equity fund at $1 billion. Co-founded by Al Gore, Generation is a dedicated sustainable investment firm with $25 billion in assets.
Angela Du guides SoftBank into a company whose board includes Generation Investment Management’s Lila Preston
SoftBank Investment Advisers’ Angela Du guides the firm’s SoftBank Vision Fund 2 into an alternative meat and dairy company with a connection to Yellowstone National Park – a company whose board includes Generation Investment Management’s Lila Preston. SoftBank led Nature’s Fynd’s $350 million Series C round, which also included Blackstone Strategic Partners, Balyasny Asset Management, Hillhouse Investment, DCBI, SK, Inc., Hongko and existing investors who were not named. In March 2020, Generation and Breakthrough Energy Ventures co-led Nature’s Fynd’s $80 million round that also included 1955 Capital, Mousse Partners, ADM Ventures and Danone Manifesto Ventures.
Based in Chicago, Nature’s Fynd is producing a protein from a microbe originally discovered in the geothermal springs of Yellowstone’s ancient volcano. Formerly known as Sustainable Bioproducts, the company will commercialize food and beverage products across breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack occasions. Nature’s Fynd’s fermentation technology grows protein using a fraction of the land and water resources required by traditional agriculture. The product contains all nine essential amino acids, as well as dietary fiber, calcium and vitamins. It can be made into alternative meat and dairy products, as well as protein drinks and powders. Earlier this year, the company launched its Fy Breakfast Bundle with Original Meatless Breakfast Patties and Dairy-free Cream Cheese.
In a statement, Angela said, “Nature’s Fynd is combining its unique fermentation technology with robotics to develop protein-rich foods that are significantly more sustainable to create and produced in a fraction of the time as animal- and soy-based proteins.” Angela, who joined SoftBank in 2018, is on the board of Berkshire Grey and an observer on the board of Perch. She has also been involved in SoftBank’s investments in ByteDance, Aurora and Uber.
Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures lobs capital into a portfolio company of Impact America Fund’s Brittany Henry
Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures lobs capital into a portfolio company of Impact America Fund’s Brittany Henry that is seeking to dismantle barriers to housing. Serena Ventures participated in Esusu’s $10 million Series A round that also included Motley Fool Ventures, The Equity Alliance, Predictive VC and such existing investors as Impact America, Concrete Rose Capital, Global Impact Fund, Next Play Ventures and Zeal Capital. Impact America, which Kesha Cash founded, took part in Esusu’s $2.3 million seed extension last summer.
Based in Harlem, N.Y., Esusu partners with multifamily owners and property managers to report rental payment data into credit bureaus. Currently less than 1 percent of rental payments are reported into credit bureaus – despite it being the largest expense for most Americans. Esusu also pairs tenants who cannot afford rent with affordable loans. This, in turn, allows the tenants to build credit while property owners can encourage on-time payments. Esusu is available in more than 2 million rental units across all 50 states.
In a statement, Serena said Esusu “is really focused on credit building and creating pathways to financial inclusion for not only working families but for individuals as well. Their services also make rent reporting seamless – finally giving renters credit for what often is their largest expense every month. Last year, of course, was the COVID-19 pandemic. It created an unemployment and housing crisis that left many renters struggling to make their rental payments on time, and they were often facing eviction. We saw Esusu respond immediately with rent relief efforts – creating zero-interest housing stability loans to address this problem head-on.”
Serena Ventures earlier this year backed Zigazoo, a children’s app co-founded by Leah Ringelstein. The firm’s investments also include Noom, Inc.; Lola; Tonal; Impossible Foods; Masterclass; Mahmee, whose co-founder and CEO is Melissa Hanna; Every Mother, which was founded by Allison Rapaport and Leah Keller; Daily Harvest, which is led by Rachel Drori; and Retail Zipline, whose co-founder and CEO is Melissa Wong.
DCVC Bio’s Kiersten Stead and Genoa Ventures’ Jenny Rooke take part in Stemson Therapeutics’ $15M Series A round
A company developing a therapeutic solution to cure hair loss is styling after receiving support from DCVC Bio’s Kiersten Stead and Genoa Ventures’ Jenny Rooke. DCVC Bio led Stemson Therapeutics’ $15 million Series A round, which in addition to Genoa also included AbbVie Ventures.
Based in San Diego, Stemson will use the capital toward efforts to restore human hair growth with novel cell regeneration technology that uses the patient’s own cells to generate new hair follicles. It is a huge potential market as the hair restoration market is expected to exceed $13.6 billion by 2028 and no solution is currently capable of generating an unlimited new supply of healthy follicles for patients in need.
In a statement, Kiersten said, “almost 30 years have passed since the last FDA-approved hair loss treatment, yet millions still suffer the physical and mental impact of losing their hair each year. Stemson’s novel stem cell engineering platform has the potential to cure hair loss once and for all, treating not only the physical symptoms of this complex problem, but the mental burden as well.” Jenny, also in a statement, said her firm was “impressed with Stemson’s vision to blend biology and technology and apply it beyond traditional biotech.” In conjunction with the financing, both Kiersten, a co-managing partner at DCVC Bio, and Jenny, founder and managing director at Genoa, joined Stemson’s board.
Kiersten is on the boards of Verdant Robotics, Sabanto, X-37, Plexium, Novome Biotechnologies, Inc., which was founded by Liz Shepherd, and MycoWorks, which was co-founded by Sophia Wang. Kiersten spoke at the Virtual Women’s Private Equity Summit.
Jenny earlier this year saw one portfolio company, Zymergen, Inc., go public and another Intabio, Inc., whose co-founder and CEO is Lena Wu, was acquired by SCIEX, which is led by Inese Lowenstein. Jenny’s investments also include Ionpath, Inc.
A company that Melissa Barry led New Heritage Capital into earlier this year has done an add-on acquisition
A company that Melissa Barry led New Heritage Capital into earlier this year – FMS Solutions – has done an add-on acquisition. Terms of FMS’ purchase of GOT Systems were not disclosed. GOT provides SaaS-based product ordering, shrink and markdown tracking and grind log services to U.S. grocers. FMS is a provider of business process outsourcing services to independent grocers and multi-unit retailers The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. company’s accounting and payroll solutions are used by more than 5,000 retailer customers. GOT is its second add-on deal since partnering with New Heritage.
In a statement, Melissa said, “this acquisition represents the first step towards executing on our investment thesis of offering the complete suite of tech-enabled and SaaS-based solutions to multi-site retailers, spanning front-of-store ordering to back-office accounting solutions.”
The purchase by FMS also comes roughly a week after another of Melissa’s companies, Welcome Dairy Holdings, LLC, also did an add-on acquisition, purchasing North Star Processing. A partner, Melissa is also on the boards of Continental Services, Michigan’s largest food management company; Rhythmlink International, a manufacturer of disposable neurodiagnostic devices and consumables; and Covalent Health, an ambulance service that was known as ProTransport-1, LLC. Melissa is a past speaker at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit. New Heritage last year closed its third fund at $270 million.
Louise Chapman leads Praetura Ventures into Reacta Biotech’s 2.9M pounds round
Praetura Ventures’ Louise Chapman invests in a North Wales-based company producing clinical diagnostics kits for food allergy testing. Praetura led Reacta Biotech’s 2.9 million pounds round that also included a follow-on investment from the Development Bank of Wales.
Reacta focuses on improving the efficiency, accuracy and safety of food allergy testing by producing pharmaceutical grade oral food challenges, which are diagnostic tests for food allergies. The company will use the funding to scale up the manufacture of its current product range including peanut, egg and milk oral food challenges and to extend its product portfolio. It will also expand its team of specialists and expedite work on enhanced packaging solutions.
Louise’s investments include Culture Shift, a platform for people to confidentially and safely report workplace harassment that is led by Gemma McCall. An investment director, Louise joined Praetura in 2017 from KPMG.
Isabelle de Cremoux-led Seventure leads Dopavision’s 12M euros Series A round
Isabelle de Cremoux, CEO of Seventure Partners, sees hope in a start-up seeking to treat the leading cause of correctable visual impairment: myopia. Seventure led Dopavision’s 12 million euros Series A round, which also included Novartis Pharmaceuticals and existing investors Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Ababax Health.
Dopavision is focused on providing treatments to address myopia at an early stage. Currently, the most promising intervention to prevent severe impairments at a later age is to halt the disease’s progression in children and young adults. Myopia is expected to reach a global prevalence of 50 percent by 2050. The condition manifests as blurring of distant objects due to image focusing in front of the retina instead of falling on the retina, most often caused by excessive elongation of the eyeball during growth. Severe cases are associated with sight-threatening conditions, including glaucoma, cataract, retinal detachment and myopic maculopathy.
Dopavision will use the capital to fund clinical development of its lead product in childhood myopia. The company’s technology leverages a patented, light-based technology that stimulates specific photosensitive cells of the retina, which in turn modulate retinal dopamine, a key neurotransmitter involved in eye growth. Dopavision’s product, MyopiaX, has the potential to become the first digital therapy to control childhood myopia.
In a statement, Isabelle said Dopavision is developing “the first real digital therapeutic for childhood myopia – a non-invasive, patient-friendly approach that will not only transform the global ophthalmology market, but also provide a breakthrough for affected children by improving their sight and quality of life from an early age onwards. Moreover, the technology has great potential for other disease indications as dopamine plays a key role in many physiological processes.”
Seventure earlier this year invested in Foodsmart, a developer of a personalized telenutrition platform. Created in 1997, Seventure has more than 750 million euros in assets under management, investing 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; industrial biotech; and cleantech. Seventure is a subsidiary of Natixis Global Asset Management.
Construct Capital’s Dayna Grayson backs Verve Motion
Construct Capital’s Dayna Grayson backs a wearable robotics start-up to empower and protect workers. Verve Motion snagged $15 million in Series A funding led by Construct Capital with follow-on investments from existing investors Founder Collective, Pillar VC, Safar Partners, OUP and several angel investors.
Based in Cambridge, Mass., Verve Motion is creating a new class of connected wearable technology for the industrial sector by integrating robotics into functional apparel. The company’s product, SafeLift, is a lightweight, software-enabled wearable solution that combines real-time movement sensing with robotic assistance, in a comfortable and ergonomic form factor to empower and protect industrial workers. SafeLift adapts to worker tasks, movement and speed and assists only when needed, reducing strain on a worker's back.
In a statement, Dayna said, “at Construct, we’re especially interested in companies creating better systems to transform logistics and supply chains – including supporting workers who are the key to our economy – Verve Motion immediately stood out. By connecting robotics and movement to a software system, they are laying the basis for how to improve worker experience in the industrial space, and we’re excited to support them as they continue.”
Dayna created Construct with Rachel Holt. The Washington, D.C. venture firm closed its debut fund earlier this year at $140 million. Its investments also include Copia, which connects the automation world with developer tools and workflows; Tradeswell, which enables greater automation by optimizing sales, promotions and inventory for large brands; ChargeLab, which is building the operating system to connect electric vehicle infrastructure around the globe; and Chef Robotics, which provides a robotics system for food assembly. Dayna spoke at the Virtual Women’s Unbound Summit and will speak at this year’s Women’s Private Equity Summit.
Tola Capital’s Sheila Gulati, Floodgate’s Ann Miura-Ko, Awesome People Ventures’ Julia Lipton and Julia Hartz seed Nooks
Tola Capital’s Sheila Gulati, Floodgate’s Ann Miura-Ko, Awesome People Ventures’ Julia Lipton and Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz seed a company that is seeking to create a better online place for distributed teams to work, hang and collaborate. Tola led Nooks’ $5 million seed round that also included Julia’s husband, Eventbrite Chairman Kevin Hartz.
Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Nooks seeks to provide teams the real-time human connection of working in the same room. In beta for the past year, Nooks has thousands of users at Stanford University, Embroker and Workato. Nooks was designed to spur creative collaboration with customizable rooms for drop-in conversations, co-working spaces, project rooms and hangouts – all under one virtual roof. Nooks users can speak to a teammate with a click and set up rooms for dedicated projects.
In a statement, Sheila said, “remote and hybrid work are here to stay, and Nooks provides a virtual place where teams can collaborate and thrive together. We’re pleased to partner with the Nooks team to support its vision of bringing back more natural human interaction and fun to everyone’s work life. At Tola, we have both a physical and a Nooks office and our team loves having both ways to connect.”
Nooks was born out of founder Daniel Lee’s experiences working at start-ups and studying computer science at Stanford University and then the pandemic, which shifted organizations to remote. Ann, in a post on LinkedIn, said when she was first introduced to Daniel, “I was told that he and his team were some of the best super builders at Stanford and when I saw them work, I knew I had to be part of this journey.”
Lydia Jett takes part in Teikametrics’ $40M Series B round
SoftBank Investment Advisers’ Lydia Jett invests as an individual in the creator of an optimization platform for sellers on Amazon and Walmart. Lydia took part in Teikametrics’ $40 million Series B round along with Intel Capital, GoDaddy, Centana Growth Partners and existing investors Jump Capital and Granite Point Capital.
Based in Boston, Teikametrics helps sellers and brand owners maximize their potential on marketplaces using proprietary AI technology to maximize profitability. The new funding will drive the expansion of Teikametrics’ AI-powered SaaS platform, Flywheel 2.0, and support the company’s mission to bring cutting-edge decision-making capabilities to every online seller in the world.
Lydia recently led SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 into Perch, a Boston-based technology-driven e-commerce company. Also in 2021, a company on whose board Lydia sits, Coupang, Inc., had the largest IPO by a foreign company in seven years. Lydia also serves on the boards of Softbank portfolio companies Fanatics, Flipkart, Tokopedia and Klook.
GGV Capital’s Jenny Lee bites into a plant-based chicken brand
GGV Capital’s Jenny Lee bites into a plant-based chicken brand. GGV came into Next Gen Foods’ $20 million seed round extension along with Bits x Bites, Yeo Hiap Seng, several prominent athletes and existing investors Temasek and K3 Ventures. The new capital brings the total round to $30 million.
Located in Singapore and San Francisco, Next Gen will use the capital to launch its TiNDLE brand in the United States, the largest plant-based meat market. Its product is currently sold in more than 70 restaurants in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
In a statement, Jenny said, “by leveraging technology to create delicious plant-based foods, Next Gen has a unique global opportunity to popularize non-animal food products and let consumers know that great flavor can go hand-in-hand with both great nutrition and sustainability.”
Jenny earlier this year led GGV into Ronovo Surgical, which is focused on innovating minimally invasive and digital surgery. A managing partner with GGV, Jenny also has a portfolio company, Spark Education, in registration to go public and was named to the Forbes Midas List of top Venture Capitalists for the ninth consecutive year. In 2021, GGV closed three funds totaling $2.52 billion.
Anna Ljungdahl guides Industrifonden into Limina’s $3M Series A round
Industrifonden’s Anna Ljungdahl backs a Swedish investment management solutions provider. Limina raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Industrifonden with participation from existing investors STOAF SciTech, Vidici Ventures, Almi Invest and Justin Wheatley.
Limina is an investment management solutions provider working with clients to modernize the fund management industry with its best-of-breed solution, which provides order-raising workflows, pre-trade compliance and real-time portfolio insights. Limina will invest the fresh capital into scaling its offering, including further product development, and strengthening the expert-led services organization that complements its technology solution.
In a statement, Anna said, “we are delighted to lead Limina’s Series A round and begin supporting the company at a crucial stage of growth. In our assessment of Limina, we were particularly impressed with its technology, which clearly has huge potential to upend a market dominated by legacy systems, and the strength of the management team. The glowing testimonials from Limina’s existing clients further cemented our confidence in the business. We pride ourselves on supporting radically innovative companies, and Limina firmly fits this mold.”
Industrifonden is a Swedish early-stage venture capital fund.
Blackstone strikes a sizable deal to acquire a portfolio of affordable housing
Blackstone, whose global co-head of real estate is Kathleen McCarthy, strikes a sizable deal to acquire a portfolio of affordable housing. Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust has reached an agreement to acquire American International Group, Inc.’s interests in a U.S. affordable housing portfolio for approximately $5.1 billion an all-cash transaction. BREIT is a long-term, perpetual capital vehicle affiliated with Blackstone.
In a statement, Kathleen said, “these communities provide critical affordable housing, and we look forward to being long-term owners. We will make significant investments to improve the apartments while ensuring they remain affordable and in compliance with all rent regulations. We are committed to working with our partners in this sector to expand the supply of affordable housing.”
Gainline Capital Partners’ Kerri McNicholas pumps capital into an energy retailer
Kerri McNicholas, a partner at Gainline Capital Partners, pumps capital into an energy retailer. The amount invested by Gainline in Atlantic Energy was not disclosed.
Based in Deerfield Beach, Fla., Atlantic provides electricity and natural gas through environmentally conscious value-added bundles that leverage technology to help customers reduce consumption. In a statement, Kerri said Atlantic Energy “presents an attractive opportunity to implement Gainline’s strategy of investing in businesses with strong fundamentals looking for their first institutional capital.”
Kerri joined Stamford, Conn.-based Gainline in 2017 and is on the board of iES – Integrated Energy Services Corp. The firm invests in middle-market companies.
Cass Entrepreneurship Fund’s Helen Reynolds co-leads Bamboo Auctions’ 1.1M pounds funding round
Cass Entrepreneurship Fund’s Helen Reynolds co-leads a funding round for a London-based provider of online auction technology for estate agents and auction houses. Bamboo Auctions raised 1.1 million pounds in a funding round that Cass led with RO Capital Partners.
Bamboo’s technology allows properties to be sold with immediate and legally binding contracts, with a marketplace to make transactions faster, more certain and more transparent. Bamboo will use the growth capital to invest further in its technology to ensure it remains the best in the market, as well as introducing new features and partnership integrations. It will also be deployed in intelligent advertising and marketing to drive further sales growth, as well as maintaining the company’s high level of customer service.
The Cass Entrepreneurship Fund is a venture capital fund investing at the seed and Series A stages in high-growth companies with a focus on B2B tech.
The Riverside Company’s Cheryl Strom sources another add-on acquisition for the firm’s Modern Campus platform
The Riverside Company’s Cheryl Strom sources another add-on acquisition for the firm’s Modern Campus platform. Terms of Riverside’s investment in Presence were not disclosed. Presence is a campus engagement and learning platform for higher education institutions. Modern Campus is a modern learner engagement platform for higher education institutions.
The acquisition comes just weeks after Riverside acquired DIGARC, which provides academic catalogue and curriculum management, class and student scheduling and student pathfinder software for higher education. Cheryl, an origination principal, also sourced that deal. Also in 20201, she has sourced the firm’s investments in ToolWatch, Radiant Plumbing and Air Conditioning, which Sarah Casebier co-owned and leads, as well as add-on deals for its Logically, Omnigo Software and fire and life safety platforms.
KdT Ventures’ Dr. Rima Chakrabarti backs Modulus Therapeutics
KdT Ventures’ Dr. Rima Chakrabarti backs an artificial-intelligence powered cell therapy design company. Modulus Therapeutics completed a $3.5 million seed round led by Madrona Venture Group, with participation from KdT Ventures and the Allen Institute for AI.
Based in Seattle, Modulus is focused on developing therapies based on natural killer cells for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Modulus is committed to the discovery of cell therapies to treat a broad set of patient populations not currently served by existing treatments and will use its platform to enable partners and develop an internal pipeline of therapeutics. The new funding will be used to expand development of Modulus’ platform that combines key technology components, including gene editing, machine learning, multi-omics, and high-throughput in vivo screening to bring an intelligent, unbiased approach to immune cell therapy design.
In a statement, Rima said, “by modulating the innate cellular machinery, Modulus can optimize not only for therapeutic efficacy but for improved manufacturability and storage as well, bringing us closer to curative, off-the-shelf immune cell therapies.”
Avante Capital Partners makes a subordinated debt investment in Corporate Relocation International
Avante Capital Partners, whose managing partner is Ivelisse Simon, supports the refinancing of a private firm’s portfolio company. Avante said it made a subordinated debt investment in Corporate Relocation International, LLC, a portfolio company of ShoreView Industries. Terms were not disclosed.
Based in Carrollton, Texas, CRI is a full-service relocation company providing comprehensive employee mobility solutions to a diverse set of corporate clients with a focus on executive-level moves. In a statement, Ivelisse said that Avante believes CRI “is a highly-attractive platform with a compelling value proposition for corporate moves.”
Avante invests in the form of unitranche debt, mezzanine debt and minority equity in lower middle market businesses generating at least $3 million in cash flow. In 2021, it has made unitranche investments in Burton Plumbing Services, LLC, Power Digital and SSI Strategy Holdings, LLC.
One Equity Partners’ Norma Corio joins the board of Cicor Technologies after OEP becomes the largest shareholder
Norma Corio, a senior managing director at One Equity Partners, joins the board of a publicly traded Swiss company after OEP becomes the largest shareholder. Terms of OEP’s acquisition of a 29 percent stake in Cicor Technologies, Ltd. were not disclosed.
Based in Boundary, Switzerland, Cicor manufactures highly complex printed circuit boards, hybrid circuits and microelectronics and complete outsourcing services for electronic assembly and plastic injection molding. The company has more than 2,000 employees across 10 production sites and serves original equipment manufacturers in the medical, industrial, aerospace and defense markets.
Norma is also on the boards of Omni Environmental Solutions and Bibliotheca. She joined OEP in 2018 after being CFO of American Express Global Business Travel.
Charlotte Lawrence is involved in PSG’s investment in Visualfabriq
PSG’s Charlotte Lawrence is involved in the firm’s investment in a Dutch provider of AI-enhanced revenue growth management software. Terms of PSG’s investment in Visualfabriq were not disclosed.
Visualfabriq’s platform supports global consumer packaged goods manufacturers in managing and optimizing their promotions and demand planning. Founded in 2013, the company has approximately 100 employees. In a statement, Charlotte said that Visualfabriq “has used modern technologies to successfully address key pain points in revenue growth management, enabling greater optimization of the billions spent on trade promotions each year by global (consumer packaged goods) companies and improving visibility for the wider business.”
Earlier this year, Charlotte was involved in PSG’s purchase of Nalanda Global, a provider of supplier risk management software solutions. A director, Charlotte joined PSG last September from Carlyle Europe Technology Partners. She is on the board of one of the fund’s other investments, MAPAL Software.
PSG backed Visualfabriq from its debut Europe-focused fund, which held its final close in February at 1.25 billion euros. A growth equity firm, PSG focuses on partnering with middle-market software and technology-enabled service companies.
Doris Schürch oversees Partners Group’s acquisition of EOLO
Doris Schürch, a member of management for Partners Group’s private infrastructure Europe unit, oversees the firm’s acquisition of an Italian broadband provider. Partners purchased EOLO from Searchlight Capital Partners and a vehicle controlled by Luca Spada, EOLO’s founder and CEO. The transaction valued the company at 1.2 billion euros.
EOLO is the largest fixed wireless access broadband provider in Italy. In a statement, Doris said, “EOLO is a business with a strong asset base comprised of thousands of base transceiver stations, kilometers of fiber backhaul, dedicated licensed frequencies and proprietary software; it also benefits from increasing cashflows underpinned by a stable and growing subscriber base. Our thematic research shows EOLO is ideally positioned to capitalize on growing demand for high-speed broadband both in Italy and across Europe.”
Uzma Choudry guides Octopus Ventures into NanoSyrinx’s 6.2M pound seed round
Uzma Choudry, an investor with Octopus Ventures, guides the firm into a company that she says is developing the “holy grail of medicine.” Octopus and M Ventures co-led NanoSyrinx’s 6.2 million pound seed round that also included IQ Capital and existing investors UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund and We Are Pioneer Group – which was BioCity.
Based in Coventry, UK, NanoSyrinx is engineering protein “nanosyringes”, a cell-selective, non-viral peptide and protein delivery stem. Targeted delivery of therapeutics is an important solution to improve efficacy and minimize potential side effects of existing and new treatments. The company will use the capital to fully investigate the applications of its technology across a range of therapeutic indications and novel modalities. Proof-of-concept studies both for in vivo active pharmaceutical delivery and ex vivo cell engineering will be undertaken to better understand the optimal clinical targets and to build a pipeline of programs to take forward in the next phase of growth.
In a statement, Uzma said, “targeting diseased cells without affecting healthy cells is the holy grail of medicine. That’s why we’re so excited to be backing the brilliant NanoSyrinx team in developing their targeted (biologics) delivery platform to treat disease. The initial applications of this technology will be the cell and gene therapy space, where we could see it being used to create highly effective cancer treatments with significantly reduced side effects. The opportunity is enormous.”
Uzma, who joined Octopus in 2018, led the firm earlier this year into iSIZE, which is described as “the Dolby of the video space.” Her investments also include Ori Biotech.
Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Harsha Kumar helps GlobalBees raise one of India’s largest ever Series A rounds
Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Harsha Kumar helps a company raise one of India’s largest ever Series A rounds. Lightspeed took part in GlobalBees’ $150 million round, which was comprised of $75 million of equity and $75 million of debt. Other investors included FirstCry, Premji Invest, Chiratae Ventures and SoftBank.
Based in Bengaluru, India, GlobalBees is a so-called Thrasio-style investment venture. Companies, using this model, acquire fast-growing online brands to build new products. They also help these brands scale and grow their business through investments in technology, working capital and marketing efforts. A U.S. company, Thrasio, popularized the style and has raised some $1.85 billion in equity and debt. GlobalBees is seeking to partner with brands across categories like beauty, personal care, home, kitchen, food, nutrition and lifestyle with a revenue rate of between $1 million and $20 million.
In a statement, Harsha said that with the time for direct-to-consumer brands to generate 100 crone in revenue (about $13 million) having been halved, Lightspeed believes there is “a unique opportunity to create a brand house much faster as well” and that the founders comprise “the perfect team to go after this idea.”
In conjunction with the financing, Harsha joined GlobalBees’ board. She is also on the boards of OkCredit and Setu and an observer on the boards of Udaan and FreshMenu. Lightspeed closed its third India-focused fund last year at $275 million.
Amy Len Kobe guides Baird Capital into Saranas’ $12.8M Series B round
Baird Capital’s Amy Len Kobe backs a company focused on improving patient outcomes through early detection and monitoring of internal bleeding complications. Saranas received a $12.8 million Series B investment led by Baird.
Houston-based Saranas’ Early Bird Bleed Monitoring System for vascular access procedures enables physicians to mitigate downstream consequences by addressing bleeds immediately before they become complications, improving patient outcomes and lowering health care costs. In a statement, Amy said, “Baird Capital is proud to partner with Saranas to address bleeding complication challenges and provide solutions that improve outcomes and reduce costs for patients, physicians and providers.”
In conjunction with the financing, Amy joined Saranas’ board. She is also on the board of Cala Health and is an observer on the boards of Jumpcode Genomics, Upfront Healthcare, Oncology Analytics, Apervita and AiCure. Amy, who joined Baird in 2018, was promoted earlier this year to principal.
Baird Capital closed its fifth fund last year at $215 million. It is the direct private investment arm of Robert W. Baird & Co.
A portfolio company of Tola Capital’s Sheila Gulati is being acquired
A portfolio company of Tola Capital’s Sheila Gulati is being acquired. IntSights Cyber Intelligence, Ltd. agreed to be acquired for approximately $335 million in cash and stock by publicly traded Rapid7, a Boston-based provider of security analytics and automation. IntSights Cyber is a provider of enterprise cyber risk analytics, threat intelligence and mitigation solutions. Rapid7 said the acquisition will combine external threat intelligence with community-infused threat intelligence to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and provide greater time for security teams to focus.
IntSights Cyber, according to Crunchbase, raised $71.3 million from a group which in addition to Tola included Blackstone, WiPro Ventures, Blumberg Capital and Qumra Capital. Sheila led Tola into IntSights Cyber in 2018 and joined its board.
Sheila, who leads Tola, recently invested in Nooks, which is seeking to create a better online place for distributed teams to work, hang and collaborate. Her portfolio also includes VergeSense, Inc., a start-up focused on helping corporations create productive and safe working environments; Embroker, a digital insurance company; and Pulumi, which has created a cloud native development platform.
Shelia founded Seattle-based Tola in 2010 with Stacey Giard, who serves as the firm’s chief operating officer and principal. Both Sheila and Stacey spent more than a decade at Microsoft.
Rachel Geller leads Insight Partners into Choco’s $100M Series B round and Employment Hero’s $103M Series E round
Insight Partners’ Rachel Geller spans the globe for her two latest investments, backing one company based in Germany and another in Australia. Insight took part in Choco’s $100 million Series B round and led Employment Hero’s 140 million Australia ($103 million) Series E round. Choco’s round also included Left Lane Capital and existing investors Coatue Management and Bessemer Venture Partners.
Based in Berlin, Choco has created a digital ordering workflow and communication tool for restaurants and supplier to facilitate food procurement and, in turn, reduce operational expenses and food waste. The company currently has more than 10,000 active restaurants and suppliers on its platform across the United States and Europe. “Choco is digitizing workflows that are largely driven by pen and paper today and has seen accelerating demand for its product from restaurants and suppliers,” Rachel tells Women’s PE Briefs. “We are excited to partner with the Choco team to support their continued growth as a leader in digital good procurement.”
Rachel also took part in Insight’s investment in Employment Hero. Based in Sydney, Employment Hero is an automated human resources, payroll and benefits platform for small and medium-sized enterprises. Founded in 2014, the company is expanding into Southeast Asian and Western European markets. It currently is used by 6,000 businesses, according to TechCrunch. In a statement, Rachel said, “we have been following Employment Hero’s journey for four years and have seen the impressive and consistent growth experience by the company. Its customer-centric solutions have been embraced globally by the small and medium business community and we are looking forward to supporting them through this next phase of their expansion journey.”
A managing director, Rachel joined Insight in 2008. Her current investments also include Jedox, Conga, Udemy, Sift, Caremerge, FloQast, Ritual and YOOBIC. Founded in 1995, Insight has raised more than $30 billion in capital commitments and invested in more than 400 companies globally.