Megan Guy-backed and Michele Banko-led Sentropy is set to be acquired by Discord
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing July 19, 2021
Megan Guy-backed and Michele Banko-led Sentropy is set to be acquired by Discord
Sentropy, which Michele Banko co-founded to end online abuse and which received backing from King River Capital’s Megan Guy is set to be acquired by a well-funded and significantly valued start-up. Terms of Sentropy’s purchase by Discord were not disclosed. A San Francisco-based chat platform, Discord has raised $482 million according to Crunchbase and was last valued at $7 billion. Its investors include Index Ventures and Greenoaks Capital.
Sentropy, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., has developed technology to detect and fight online abuse and malicious content. Its products provide easy access to proactive, bias-aware abuse detection through continuously evolving machine learning models. Discord will integrate Sentropy’s products into its toolkit.
Michele, who is chief technology officer, founded the company in 2018 with John Redgrave, Taylor Rhyne and Ethan Breder. Michele previously was an engineering manager with Apple and an engineering director with Lattice.
Megan brought King River into Sentropy’s $13 million financing, which also included Initialized Capital, Horizons Ventures and Playground Global. Megan joined King River in 2019 as a partner, co-founder and head of its San Francisco office. 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.
King River is focused on early-stage Australian and overseas software companies. Megan was most recently at the Nature Conservancy.
March Capital’s Julia Klein and Rethink Impact’s Jenny Abramson back Nora Apsel’s Morty
March Capital’s Julia Klein and Rethink Impact’s Jenny Abramson back an online mortgage marketplace co-founded by Nora Apsel. Morty closed a $25 million Series B financing round led by March Capital with participation from Rethink Impact and existing investors Thrive Capital, Lerer Hippeau, Prudence Holdings, FJ Labs and MetaProp.
Based in New York City, Morty is an online mortgage marketplace that provides homebuyers a place to evaluate competitive offers from multiple lenders, then lock and close their loans through an automated platform. Morty’s platform provides homebuyers with a self-service experience suitable for today’s fast-moving pandemic housing market, with on-demand support from its team of mortgage experts. Morty will use the funding to make important investments in hiring, consumer marketing and product expansion.
In a statement, Julia said, “through its digitally native mortgage marketplace, Morty is revolutionizing the home buying experience by tackling the often tedious and overwhelming process of buying a home. We have great confidence in this team and are excited to partner with them in facilitating home ownership, which will remain a cornerstone of the U.S. economy.” Julia joined March as a vice president last year after being a fellow at Pear VC.
Jenny added in a statement, “we are thrilled to back a technologist of Nora’s caliber as she and the Morty team bring much-needed innovation to an industry that has lagged in its adoption of tech.”
Jenny also recently led Rethink Impact into Wellthy, a digital care concierge platform whose founder and CEO is Lindsay Jurist-Rosner. Rethink Impact, which Jenny leads with Heidi Patel, closed its second fund last year at $182 million. Jenny is a past speaker at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.
Priyanka Jain and Laine Bruzek’s Evvy receives support from Margo Georgiadis, Heather Hartnett, Amy Griffin, Susan Lyne and Nisha Dua
Priyanka Jain and Laine Bruzek’s effort to build a new understanding of the female body resonates with General Catalyst’s Margo Georgiadis; Human Ventures, which is led by Heather Hartnett; G9 Ventures, whose founder is Amy Griffin; and BBG Ventures, whose co-founders are Susan Lyne and Nisha Dua. Evvy raised a $5 million seed round from General Catalyst, BoxGroup, Virtue, Human Ventures, G9 Ventures and BBG Ventures.
New York-based Evvy launched following the funding with its at-home vaginal microbiome test leveraging metagenomic sequencing to help women identify what may be causing their symptoms. The test gives women access to this data, enabling them to take control of their preventative vaginal health.
In a statement, Priyanka said, “Evvy is here to empower us to better understand what’s going on in our own bodies while building new datasets that can transform our ability to predict risk, diagnose, and treat diseases in the female body.”
Laine added in a statement, “it’s time that vaginal health, and women’s health as a whole, gets the destigmatized investment it deserves on a systemic, clinical, and personal level.”
In conjunction with the financing, Margo joined Envy’s board. She joined General Catalyst earlier this year as endurance partner in residence after stepping down as CEO of Ancestry.
Human’s investments this year include Toucan, which helps people learn new languages and whose co-founder and CEO is Taylor Nieman, and Realworld, which was founded by Genevieve Ryan Bellaire to simplify adulthood.
BBG, which backs female founders, has in 2021, also backed Treet, which is led by Sonia Yang and is rethinking the resale retail market.
Tania Grant leads Claritas Capital into MyWoundDoctor and Naborforce
Tania Grant, a principal with Claritas Capital, leads the Nashville, Tenn. private equity firm into two companies – including one founded and led by Paige Wilson. Claritas made an undisclosed sized, Series B investment in MyWoundDoctor and led a $2 million seed round in Naborforce, which Paige leads.
MyWoundDoctor is a Franklin, Tenn. provider of virtual, tech-enabled wound care services offered through an AI-based process. The company is seeking to address rising costs and quality issues related to wound care by providing caregivers and patients with evidence-based wound care treatment and personalized supplies initiated through an easy-to-use telehealth mobile imaging application.
In a statement, Tania said, “virtual care is modernizing and expanding access to care for patients, and MyWoundDoctor’s top-notch remote wound care specialists deliver highly effective, affordable, and convenient wound care.” Tania joined MyWoundDoctor’s board as an observer.
Based in Richmond, Va., Naborforce connects contractors with elderly people seeking companionship and someone to run errands. Currently in Richmond, Charlottesville, Va. and Raleigh, N.C., Naborforce will use the capital to expand into three markets. Paige, who previously was in investment banking, started the company in 2018 after serving as a caregiver for her mother. Tania, who joined Claritas in 2019, joined Naborforce’s board and is also an observer on the board of Spark360, a Cincinnati-based population health management company.
Aisling Capital’s Stacey Seltzer backs Melissa Berrien-Elliott’s Wugen
Stacey Seltzer, a partner with Aisling Capital, backs a company developing off-the-shelf cell therapies whose scientific founders include Melissa Berrien-Elliott. Aisling took part in Wugen, Inc.’s $172 million Series B round which included Abingworth, Tybourne Capital Management, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Intermediate Capital Group, Sands Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, Velosity Capital, Falcon Edge Capital and existing investors RiverVest Venture Partners, LYZZ Capital and Lightchain Capital.
Based in St. Louis and San Diego, Wugen will use the capital to support further clinical development of its best-in-class memory natural killer cell platform and advance ongoing trials for patients with severe acute myelogenous leukemia and other oncology indications, including solid tumors. Wugen also plans to apply these proceeds to advance its broader pipeline of next-generation products into the clinic, including its allogeneic CD7-targeted CAR-T cell therapy to treat T-cell leukemia and lymphoma. Melissa founded the company with Dr. Todd Fehniger, Dr. John DiPersio and Matt Cooper, who is Wugen’s chief scientific officer. Melissa is an instructor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine.
In conjunction with the financing, Stacey joined the company’s board as an observer. She is also an observer on the boards of Prolacta Bioscience and Spruce Biosciences and is on the board of Reneo Pharmaceuticals.
NVF’s Laura Brass and JJDC’s Marian Nakada guide their firms into Ribon Therapeutics’ $65M round
Laura Brass, a managing director with Novartis Venture Fund, and Marian Nakada, a vice president with Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., guide their corporate venturing units back into a biotech company whose CEO and president is Victoria Richon. NVF and JJDC took part in Ribon Therapeutics’ $65 million round, which also included Avego Bioscience Capital, GV, Monashee Investment Management, Peregrine Ventures and such other existing investors as Deerfield Management, U.S. Venture Partners, AbbVie Ventures, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Euclidean Capital, Osage University Partners, Takeda Ventures and The Column Group.
Based in Cambridge, Mass., Ribon is developing therapeutics targeting stress support pathways in cancer and inflammation. It will use the proceeds to support the clinical development of its novel precision medicine candidates. Victoria has been with Ribon since 2015 and CEO since 2017. She was previously vice president and global head of oncology research and translational medicine at Sanofi.
NVF and JJDC took part in another $65 million round that Ribon announced in early 2019. At that time, Anja König, who is head of the NVF, and Marian joined Ribon’s board. Anja, however, was replaced earlier this year on Ribon’s board by Laura. Marian is no longer listed on Ribon’s board. The chair of Ribon’s board is Jodie Morrison, who recently joined Atlas Partner as a venture partner. Ribon’s board also includes Emma Reeve, CFO of Constellation Pharmaceuticals.
Virgo Investment Group’s Pooja Goel backs Dr. Sheila Wang’s Swift Medical
Virgo Investment Group’s Pooja Goel backs a digital wound care platform co-founded by Dr. Sheila Wang that is a portfolio company of BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund, which is led Michelle Scarborough. Virgo led Swift Medical, Inc.’s $35 million Series B round which also included participation from Claritas Capital, Chrysalis Ventures, Pender Ventures, Export Development Canada and existing investors Women in Technology Venture Fund and DCVC.
Based in Toronto, Swift Medical provides an AI-powered, digital wound care platform that allows any patient or clinician to easily capture a high precision image of their wound with their cell phone, autonomously determines wound dimensions and clinical characteristics, enables virtual wound care consultations and provides real-time, predictive insights. The funding will be used to help the company expand their leading market position and scale their digital wound management platform across the care continuum in North America. Sheila founded the company in 2015 with Justin Allport, Edwin Liang and Carlo Perez, who is CEO.
In a statement, Pooja said, “wound care is a space that has been void of innovation for so long. A comprehensive approach to identification and treatment is needed to combat this silent epidemic. We are very excited and confident that Swift Medical’s wound engagement tool is going to transform the way patients heal across any care continuum; whether that be a hospital, skilled nursing facility or at home.”
Earlier this year, Pooja, a managing director, led Virgo into Apricus Health, which seeks to transition health care practices to a valued-based care model.
Carolyn Galiette-led Ironwood Capital exits from Lisa Ristagno’s Pete & Pete Container Services and Boyas Excavating
Ironwood Capital, whose president and chief investment officer is Carolyn Galiette, exits from a company co-owned by Lisa Ristagno and her husband, Peter Ristagno Jr. Ironwood did not say how it is exiting from the combined company of Pete & Pete Container Services, Inc. and Boyas Excavating, Inc. The company is the largest privately held integrated waste management company in the Cleveland region. Ironwood partnered with Pete & Pete in 2019 in connection with its acquisition of Boyas. Ironwood has invested more than $900 million in 95 companies since 2001. Carolyn is a past speaker at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.
Tara Comonte-led TMRW Life Sciences raises a $105M Series C round
Some two months after naming Tara Comonte CEO, in vitro fertilization company TMRW Life Sciences, Inc. has raised a sizable new round from a group of investors that includes angel investors Anne Wojcicki, who is CEO of 23& Me, and her sister, Susan Wojcicki, who is CEO of YouTube. Anne and Susan took part in TMRW’s $105 million Series C round that also included Transformation Capital, GV, Casdin Capital, Peter Thiel and existing investors 5AM Ventures and Life Sciences Innovation Fund.
Based in New York, TMRW has created an automated cell management solution and digital chain of custody for eggs and embryos in the IVF sector. TMRW’s pipeline now represents more than one third of all U.S. IVF volume. The company will expand its commercial operations to the United Kingdom and Europe in 2022.
Tara was a founding member of TMRW’s board. She joined the company from publicly traded Shake Shack where she was president and chief financial officer. TMRW’s board includes Emily Drabant Conley, who is vice president of business development for 23andMe, and Robbie Myers, who is the former editor-in-chief of ELLE.
Madrona’s Hope Cochran invests in a portfolio company of Revolution Ventures’ Clara Sieg that is led by Anita Samojednik
Madrona Venture Group’s Hope Cochran invests in a portfolio company of Revolution Ventures’ Clara Sieg that is led by Anita Samojednik and which is seeking to improve the way on-demand financial expertise is accessed. Madrona led Paro’s $25 million Series B round, which also included participation by Revolution and such other existing investors as Sierra Ventures and KGC Capital.
Leveraging the power of AI, Chicago-based Paro matches companies with highly specialized freelance finance talent, including CFOs, controllers, accountants and more, who have been pre-vetted to ensure every client receives access to deeply experienced professionals who are the best fit to solve their specific financial needs. The investment is designed to fuel the company’s growth domestically and position it for future international expansion. It is also aimed at propelling Paro’s investments in its AI–powered professional services marketplace.
Anita joined Paro last year after being president of Groupon International. She was elevated to CEO of Paro in January. In a statement, Anita said, “with this fundraise, we will continue to innovate and disrupt the traditional employment model to help companies and experts alike drive their businesses forward.”
Also in a statement, Hope said that as a former CFO, “I believe strongly that the office of the CFO is undergoing a digital transformation that is driven by technology innovation paired with experienced financial professionals. Paro enables businesses of all sizes to get access to this valuable human-based expertise through its intelligent marketplace, which immediately matches experts with specialized skills. The trajectory over the last nine months is dramatic, and we are excited to dig in and help the Paro team build.”
As part of the financing, Hope joined the Paro board. Hope’s portfolio also includes Strike Graph, Smartsheet, Give InKind, Sila, which was co-founded by Angela Angelovska-Wilson, and The Riveter, a woman’s membership network founded by Amy Nelson. She joined Madrona in 2017 after being the former CFO of King Digital, creator of the Candy Crush mobile game. Madrona, in late 2020, closed two new funds totaling $500 million.
The Carlyle Group’s Pooja Goyal is involved in the formation of a new portfolio company that Katie Heath will help lead
The Carlyle Group’s Pooja Goyal is involved in the formation of a new portfolio company that Katie Heath will help lead and which will focus on developing utility scale sustainable infrastructure in the United States. Known as Copia Power, the company expects to initially focus on developing, owning and operating large-scale renewable energy generation through its strategic relationships with Tenaska, Inc. and Birch Infrastructure. Carlyle anticipates deploying up to $700 million and arranging over $6 billion in project finance to advance the development and build out of assets through the Copia platform. To date, Copia has acquired an approximately 6 gigawatts U.S. solar and storage development pipeline from Tenaska who will continue to work with Carlyle and Copia to develop the portfolio. Birch has contributed approximately 800 megawatts of its contracted renewable energy supply agreements and associated development assets and will advance all its renewable development activities through the partnership.
Katie, who previously was a development executive at AES Clean Energy, is one of three founding employees with Copia, joining Ryan Galeria and Arthur Sonnenfeld. In a statement, Pooja said, “the formation of Copia Power and relationships with Tenaska and Birch highlight Carlyle’s continued commitment and focus on finding differentiated and attractive investment opportunities that will drive the energy transition. We feel strongly that the combination of leading and proven management teams such as Tenaska and Birch, along with the scale and capabilities of our platform at Carlyle, we can drive significant growth and accelerate the development of utility scale sustainable infrastructure in the United States.”
Pooja will serve on Copia’s board. She is head of the firm’s renewable and sustainable energy team and co-head of Carlyle’s infrastructure group. Her investments include Amp Solar Group, Inc., a renewable energy infrastructure manager, developer and owner, and Alchemy Renewables Energy, a renewable energy company whose CEO and co-founder is Lacie Clark. Pooja joined Carlyle in 2019 after being head of the alternative energy investing group at Goldman Sachs. Pooja spoke at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.