Noon, Green, Wu, Achadjian, Tordjman and Ra are among those involved in notable deals this week
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing June 14, 2021
Noom’s Clearhaven Partners makes a significant investment in Wowza Media Systems
Clearhaven Partners, which was co-founded by Michelle Noon, makes what it describes as a “significant investment” in a provider of live streaming solutions. Terms of Clearhaven’s investment in Wowza Media Systems, LLC were not disclosed.
Launched in 2007, Wowza has more than 6,000 active customers. Its cloud and private infrastructure-based solutions enable customers to deliver high-quality, reliable video at scale across geographies and to such markets as media and entertainment, enterprise, aerospace and defense, government, education and houses of worship. Clearhaven’s investment will enable the company to accelerate innovation.
In a statement, Michelle called Wowza “an incredible founder-built organization” which fits with Clearhaven’s effort to partner “with leading companies that solve mission critical challenges and address opportunities arising from video proliferation.”
Formed in 2019, Clearhaven is a software and technology-focused private equity firm. It did its first deal last year, acquiring TimeTrade, Inc., a provider of enterprise scheduling software. Earlier this year, TimeTrade acquired SilverCloud, a customer experience and knowledge management SaaS provider. The company is now known as TimeTrade SilverCloud.
Michelle has spoken at both the Women’s Private Equity Summit and the Leadership Unbound Summit.
Drokova’s Day One, Holloway’s Seven Seven Six, Massenet’s Imaginary and Sacca invest in SIMULATE
Masha Drokova’s Day One Ventures and angel investor Crystal Sacca plant capital in a company developing meat-like, plant-based food in a round that also includes Seven Seven Six, whose founding partner is Katelin Holloway, and Imaginary Ventures, which was co-founded by Natalie Massenet. SIMULATE raised $50 million in Series B funding that also included Crystal, NOMO Ventures and McCain Foods.
SIMULATE is an early-stage biotechnology company that accelerates the transition to sustainable nutrition. The company offers three products: NUGGS, spicy NUGGS and a patty offering called DISCS, which are currently only direct-to-consumer. The funding will enable the New York-based company to grow and develop new products, as well as triple their internal team, including hiring engineers, food scientists, designers, and artists.
Foxe Blader makes Anthemis Group’s first investment out of its Insurance Venture Growth Fund
Anthemis Group’s Ruth Foxe Blader makes her firm’s first investment out of its Insurance Venture Growth Fund, backing a provider of instantly bundled home and auto insurance. Anthemis led Branch Insurance’s $50 million Series B round, which also included Acrew, Cherry Creek Holdings and existing investors Greycroft, HSCM Bermuda, American Family Ventures, SignalFire, SCOR P&C Ventures, Foundation Capital and Tower IV.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Branch has developed a product that enables consumers to get instant, online insurance prices using just a few pieces of information. In a statement, Ruth said, “we are thrilled to support a company so aligned to Anthemis’ core values of authentic collaboration, virtuous cycle outcomes, and diversity and inclusivity. Branch is innovating on both tech and product design to build a 21st-century insurance company.”
Anthemis last year held a $90 million first close on the insurance fund. The firm has not subsequently said whether it raised additional capital.
Ruth is also on the boards of Hometree, Axle, Hokodo, InsurData, Kaiko, Proportunity and Stable.
A financial service-oriented venture firm, Anthemis is led by founder Amy Nauiokas.
Green leads Forerunner Ventures into Loupe Tech’s $12M Series A round
Forerunner Ventures’ Kirsten Green flips capital into a live e-commerce streaming platform built for sports card collectors. Loupe Tech received $12 million in Series A funding led by Forerunner with additional investment by Nat Turner and DJ Skee.
Based in Miami, Loupe is a livestreaming app where sports card collectors can view, purchase and connect. The company expects to use the new funding for hiring and to form strategic partnerships.
In a blog post, Kirsten said, “collectibles are at once novel and nostalgic. One part investment and one part excitement, they blend a consumer’s passion – for art, cars, wine, dolls, and the like – with potential for appreciation over time. There are few more celebrated collectibles than sports cards, and we’re excited to participate in this timeless trade with audiences new and old through our investment in livestream e-commerce destination Loupe.”
Earlier this year, one of Kirsten’s portfolio companies, Modern Fertility, Inc., agreed to be purchased by Ro for a reported $225 million. Kirsten, a member of Forbes’ Midas List of top VCs, is a past speaker at the Women’s Private Equity Summit.
Forerunner in 2020 closed its fifth fund at $500 million.
Avante Capital Partners announces a unitranche debt investment in Burton Plumbing Services
Avante Capital Partners, whose managing partner is Ivelisse Simon, supports the refinancing of a private equity-backed provider of HVAC and plumbing services. Avante made a unitranche financing in Omaha, Neb.-based Burton Plumbing Services, LLC. Burton is a portfolio company of ShoreView Industries, a Minneapolis private equity firm. The amount invested was not disclosed. In a statement, Ivelisse said Avante was “thrilled to partner” with ShoreView and Burton CEO Mark Evan.
Avante in 2021 has made unitranche debt investments in Power Digital and SSI Strategy Holdings, LLC. Based in Los Angeles, 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.
Strom involved in Riverside’s purchase of DIGARC
The Riverside Company’s Cheryl Strom sources a company that the firm acquired for its Modern Campus platform. Terms of Riverside’s purchase of DIGARC were not disclosed.
DIGARC provides academic catalog and curriculum management; class and student scheduling; and student pathfinder software for higher education. It is used by nearly 800 higher education institutions. DIGARC had been backed by Serent Capital, which will now invest in Modern Campus – a modern learner engagement platform for higher education institutions.
Cheryl, an origination principal, also in 2021 has sourced the firm’s investments in 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.
Norwest Venture Partners’ Wu invests in Flyhomes
Norwest Venture Partners’ Lisa Wu invests in a company seeking to simplify the home buying process. Norwest and Battery Ventures co-led Flyhomes’ $150 million Series C round, which also included additional participation from Balyasny Asset Management, Fifth Wall, Trustbridge Partners, Camber Creek, Spencer Rascoff and existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Canvas Ventures.
Based in Seattle, Flyhomes brings every step of the homebuying process, from brokerage to mortgage, together in one seamless experience. In a statement, Lisa said “Flyhomes is laser-focused on the customer journey and has helped thousands of buyers win homes they love while saving them months of time and thousands of dollars. They are emerging as the leading consumer-facing brand in this new category. We’re thrilled to partner with them to serve more buyers across the country.”
As part of the transaction, Lisa will join Flyhomes’ board of directors. Her portfolio also includes Grove Collaborative, Inc.; Calm; Plaid; Ritual, which was founded by Katerina Schneider; and Opendoor, which last year became publicly traded through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
Kattan participates in Fresha’s $100M Series C round
Huda Kattan, chair of HB Investments and the founder of Huda Beauty, applies capital to a beauty and wellness software platform. Huda participated in Fresha’s $100 million Series C round, which also included General Atlantic and existing investors Partech, Target Global and FJ Labs.
Based in London, Fresha allows consumers to discover, book and pay for beauty and wellness appointments with local businesses via its marketplace, while salons, spas and barbershops can leverage Fresha to manage their operations with its intuitive, subscription-free business software. The Fresha platform removes the critical pain points that service-based businesses often encounter by seamlessly facilitating the acceptance of online appointment bookings, processing of card payments and management of customer records, along with automations for marketing, staffing, product inventory and accounting, all in one place. In addition to its free offering, Fresha Plus provides partners with additional advanced features; rather than a traditional subscription model, the company collects fees on the usage of features for card payment processing and online bookings.
In a statement, Huda said, “I’ve witnessed first-hand the positive impact Fresha has for beauty entrepreneurs. The company is a force for good in the growing community of beauty professionals around the globe, who are increasingly adopting a self-employed approach. By making top business software accessible without any subscription fees, Fresha lets professionals focus on what they do best – offering great experiences for their customers.”
Regehr takes part in Silverfleet Capital’s sale of Coventya
Silverfleet Capital’s Jennifer Regehr takes part in the firm’s sale of a portfolio company. Terms of Silverfleet’s agreement to sell Coventya to Element Solutions, Inc. were not disclosed, but the pan-European private equity firm said it would generate a 2.5 times gross money multiple.
Coventya is a French-based specialty chemicals business which employs 700 people in 60 countries. Its products are used in numerous sectors including automotive, luxury and consumer goods, construction, aviation, data storage and energy. Silverfleet acquired a majority stake in Coventya in 2016. The company is forecast to generate revenue of approximately 160 million euros in 2021.
A principal, Jennifer has been with Silverfleet since 2014. She has been involved in the firm’s investments in Prefere Resins, Pumpenfabrik Wangen and 7days.
Precisely makes an acquisition
Precisely, whose board includes TA Associates’ Elizabeth Qian, makes its second acquisition since TA and Clearlake Capital Group acquired the data integrity software company earlier this year. Terms of Precisely’s purchase of Winshuttle from Symphony Technology Group were not disclosed. Winshuttle is a process automation and master data management software provider. In May, Precisely acquired Infogix, a data governance software provider.
Elizabeth serves on Precisely’s board. She is also on the board of Gamma Technologies and is an observer on the board of Appfire and an active investor in Sovos. Elizabeth joined TA in 2019 after roles at Amazon Web Services and Riverside Partners.
Caldwell’s TwentyTwo VC invests in Finley Technologies
TwentyTwo VC, whose founder is Katherine Caldwell, invests in a platform enabling companies to more easily comply and perform ongoing reporting with their capital providers. Finley Technologies, Inc. brought in $3 million in a seed round that also included participation from Bain Capital Ventures, Haystack, Nine Four Ventures, and Y Combinator.
San Francisco-based Finley is developing a platform that digitizes debt capital agreements and stores key dates. In addition to debt capital, Finley also created software for credit facility management software. It intends to use the new funds to accelerate product development and hire engineers to join the founding team.
TwentyTwo VC is an early-stage venture capital firm dedicated to investing in companies tackling present and future quality of life.
Sequoia Capital China’s Cheung joins the board of SSENSE
Angelica Cheung, a venture partner with Sequoia Capital China, joins the board of SSENSE after Sequoia invests in the technology platform that operates at the intersection of culture, community and commerce. The amount invested by Sequoia in the Montreal-based company was not disclosed, but SSENSE had a post-money enterprise value of more than 5 billion Canadian. It is the first external funding for SSENSE during its 18-year history. The company features a mix of established and emerging luxury brands across womenswear, menswear and kids wear.
Achadjian leads Index Ventures into Monograph’s $7.4M Series A round
Index Ventures’ Nina Achadjian backs a practice operations platform for design professionals. Index led Monograph’s $7.4 million Series A round that included participation from existing investors Homebrew, Parade Ventures, Designer Fund and several angel investors.
Based in San Francisco, Monograph is focused on helping architecture, engineering and construction professionals better serve their clients, design environments, as well as operate a more collaborative, transparent, and profitable business. This funding will help the company expand its engineering and design teams to continue delivering valuable tools that advance the architect’s toolkit and support connected workflows.
In a statement, Nina said, “some of the world’s largest sectors are increasingly demanding software built specifically for their needs. The AEC industry is no exception. The Monograph team is able to use their firsthand architecture experience to build the best solution for AEC professionals, and we are thrilled to be their partner.”
In conjunction with the financing, Nina joined the company’s board of directors. Her investments also include Shopmonkey, ServiceTitan and Double.
Earlier this year, Index raised a $200 million seed fund that Nina will be involved in directing.
Jeito Capital’s Tordjman guides her firm into Alentis Therapeutics’ $67M Series B round
Jeito Capital’s Rafaèle Tordjman guides her firm into a Swiss company developing treatments for fibrotic diseases. Jeito took part in Alentis Therapeutics’ $67 million Series B round, which also included Morningside Venture Investments and existing investors BioMed Partners, BB Pureos Bioventures, Bpifrance, High-Tech Grunderfonds and Schroders Capital.
Alentis will use the capital primarily for proof-of-concept clinical trials of its drug targeting anti-fibrotic molecules in advanced liver and kidney fibrosis. The capital will also support ongoing drug discovery programs targeting other fibrotic diseases and hepatobiliary cancers.
In a statement, Rafaèle said Alentis “has an outstanding and experienced team from pharma and biotech and is focused on a unique target, based on the founder’s work and his team of more than 10 years.”
In conjunction with the financing, Rafaèle joined Alentis’ board. Rafaèle launched Jeito last year. The firm has now made five investments. The others are Neogene Therapeutics, Inc., SparingVision, Pulmocide and InnoSkel, which was founded by Elvire Gouze. Jeito is looking to invest its 200 million euros fund in 15 drug startups.
TA Associates is selling a portfolio company of Ra
TA Associates is selling a portfolio company of Michelle Ra – a digital-led skin care brand that was founded by Paula Begoun and which is led by Tara Poseley. Terms of TA’s sale of Paula’s Choice to Unilever were not disclosed, but industry publication WWD said it was $2 billion.
Paula founded the company more than 25 years ago. Tara will remain with Paula’s Choice after it becomes a part of Unilever. Michelle, a senior associate with TA, is also involved with firm portfolio companies Thermacell and PetPeople.
Equistone Partners Europe sells a portfolio company of Lorin
Equistone Partners Europe, Ltd. sells a portfolio company of partner Julie Lorin. Terms of Equistone’s sale of Adista to Keensight Capital were not disclosed.
Adista is an alternative B2B hosted services provider, employing 720 employees throughout France. Equistone owned the company for five years and made two add-on acquisitions.
In a statement, Julie said, “we are proud to have accompanied Adista’s outstanding growth story since 2016 and to have fully played our role as a strategic partner to its founders in the company’s transformation with a governance adapted to its ambitions.”
Equistone last year sold another of Julie’s companies, Finaxy Group, to Ardian. A partner, Julie joined Equistone in 2000. She is also on the boards of Charles & Alice, Dugas, Karavel-Promovacances & FRAM and Courir. Equistone is investing from a 2 billion euros fund that closed in 2018. It has offices in Zurich, Munich, Paris, London, Birmingham, U.K. and Manchester, U.K.