Olivia Steedman, Julie Yoo and Serena Dayal are among those involved in new investments this week
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing June 21, 2021
Olivia Steedman oversees Ontario Teachers’ investments in Motif FoodWorks, ApplyBoard and Beamery
Olivia Steedman oversees the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s sizable investments in three companies. Ontario Teachers’ backed Motif FoodWorks, ApplyBoard and Beamery through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform, which Olivia leads.
Ontario Teachers’ co-led Motif’s $226 million Series B round with BlackRock. The round also included AiiM Partners, Wittington Ventures, Rethink Food, Rage Capital, Rellevant Partners and existing investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures, CPT Capital, General Atlantic, Louis Dreyfus Company and Viking Global Investors. Based in Boston, Motif is on a mission to make plant-based food better tasting and more nutritious. It is focused on solving key sensory and nutritional challenges with existing plant-based food, including meat and dairy alternatives. In a statement, Olivia said, “making plant-based foods taste great will increase the global appetite for this sector – and shape a better future for our planet in the process. As people increasingly look to meat and dairy alternatives, Motif offers breakthrough solutions powered by leading technology, deep scientific expertise and a visionary management team.”
Ontario Teachers’ also led ApplyBoard’s 375 million Canadian Series D round, which also included existing investors Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC, BDC, Harmonic, Index Ventures, Blue Cloud Ventures and Garage Capital. The round valued ApplyBoard at 4 billion Canadian. Based in Kitchener, Ontario, ApplyBoard is seeking to educate the world by democratizing access to international educational opportunities. It has helped more than 200,000 students study abroad. Again in a statement, Olivia said ApplyBoard’s “technology platform is simplifying the process of connecting students and educational institutions and creating greater opportunities for education globally.”
And finally, Ontario Teachers’ led Beamery’s $138 million Series C round, which also included Accenture Ventures and existing investors EQT Ventures, Index Ventures, M12 and Workday Ventures. Beamery is a portfolio company of Index’s Hannah Seal. Based in London, Beamery helps companies attract, engage and retain top talent. In a statement, Olivia said, Beamery’s “best-in-class approach is already transforming how leading global companies recruit and retain talent. As companies accelerate their focus on developing their people and building more agile workforces, Beamery’s cutting-edge solutions and clear vision for transforming talent can provide a competitive edge.”
Olivia, who is senior managing director, TIP, has been with Ontario Teachers’ since 2002. Launched in 2019, TIP makes late-stage venture and growth equity investments in companies using disruptive technology. Earlier this year, TIP invested in Tanium, a provider of endpoint management and security. TIP’s past investments include Graphcore, Pony.ai, ComplyAdvantage, Attabotics and SpaceX. Ontario Teachers’ is Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan. It had 221.2 billion Canadian assets under management as of Dec. 31.
TA Associates sells a portfolio company of Jennifer Mulloy
TA Associates has sold a portfolio company of managing director Jennifer M. Mulloy – a company which operates a network of fertility clinics. Terms of CCRM Fertility’s purchase by Unified Women’s Healthcare were not disclosed, but Moody’s put at $775 million, including $430 million of equity.
Unified Women’s Healthcare is the largest Ob-Gyn physician practice management company with more than 1,900 providers across 13 states and the District of Columbia. It is backed by Altas Partners, Ares Management and Oak HC/FT. Based in Lone Tree, Colo., CCRM provides a wide variety of treatments from basic infertility care to advanced in vitro fertilization. The company was founded in 1987 and has 11 in vitro fertilization labs and 26 locations in North America. It has 560 employees and 40 physicians.
Jennifer led TA into CCRM in 2015 and joined its board. In making the investment, Jennifer had called CCRM “the leading IVP platform in the United States.” She is also on the boards of Edifecs, Inc., Healix Infusion Therapy, Inc., and Behavioral Health Works. Jennifer, who has been with TA since 1998, is co-head of the firm’s North America Healthcare Group. She is a past speaker at the Women’s Private Equity Summit and the Women’s Leadership Unbound Summit.
TA has raised $33.5 billion in capital since its founding in 1968. The firm’s 85 investment professionals are based in Boston, London, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Menlo Park.
A company that Zoé Fabian led Eurazeo Growth into last year is being sold to Visa for 1.8B euros
A company that Zoé Fabian led Eurazeo Growth into late last year is being sold to Visa at a sizable price. Visa has agreed to buy Tink for 1.8 billion euros.
Based in Stockholm, Tink has developed a platform which connects to more than 3,400 banks and reaches more than 250 million bank customers across Europe. Through one API, Tink allows customers to access aggregated financial data, initiate payments, enrich transactions and build personal finance management tools. The company processes close to 1 million payment transactions per month in five markets. It is aiming to make its payment initiation services live in 10 markets in 2021.
In backing Tink, Zoé said the company “has proven itself to be the leading open banking platform in Europe.” Eurazeo Growth and Dawn Capital co-led Tink’s 85 million euros round extension, which followed a 90 million euros round it did in January 2020. Tink’s investors also include PayPal Ventures, HMI Capital, Heartcore, ABN AMRO Ventures, Poste Italiane and Opera Tech Ventures.
Zoé joined Eurazeo Growth in 2019. Her investments also include Thought Machine, a banking technology startup.
Eurazeo Growth has 18.8 billion euros in assets under management. It is the growth equity arm of Eurazeo, the publicly traded investment company led by Virginie Morgon.
Clare Ozawa leads Versant Ventures into LENZ Therapeutics’ $7M Series A round
Versant Ventures’ Clare Ozawa sees great potential in a company developing products to improve vision. LENZ Therapeutics emerged from stealth with a $7 million Series A investment from Versant and RA Capital Management.
Based in San Diego, LENZ Therapeutics is a late-stage clinical company developing ophthalmic pharmaceutical products. The company is developing a proprietary eye drop to treat presbyopia, a farsightedness caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye. The financing will be utilized to progress the company’s lead asset, an eyedrop formulation of aceclidine, towards an NDA submission for the treatment of presbyopia.
In a statement, Clare said, “we are very excited to lead this investment in LENZ Therapeutics, which has a highly differentiated late clinical-stage asset that can offer a meaningful option for patients with presbyopia.”
In April, Clare provided capital to launch Capsida Biotherapeutics, a gene therapy company that originated from research done in the laboratory of Viviana Gradinaru. Clare, a managing director with Versant, joined Capsida’s board. She is also on the boards of 858 Therapeutics, Pipeline Therapeutics and Oyster Point Pharmaceuticals, which went public in 2019. Versant earlier this year closed three funds, totaling $950 million.
Julie Yoo leads Andreessen Horowitz into Zus Health’s $34M Series A round
Andreessen Horowitz’s Julie Yoo continues her active 2021, backing a company founded by Athenahealth founder Jonathan Bush. Andreessen Horowitz led Zus Health’s $34 million Series A round, which also included F-Prime Capital, Rock Health, Martin Ventures, Oxeon Investments and Maverick Ventures.
Based in Watertown, Mass., Zus is focused on creating the health care industry’s first shared development platform backed by a shared data record. In doing so, the company aims to bring about a better health data reality by empowering a wave of new, digital-first health care builders who will create digital health technologies and services that are cheaper, more customizable and more personalized.
In a statement, Julie said Zus “is the very embodiment of our core thesis on the digital health tech stack. By collapsing multiple layers of the stack — patient data retrieval, identity management and workflow automation — into a single platform and creating a community of digital health builders, Zus will enable an entire generation of health care developers to spend their time building value at the clinical and experience layer, versus reinventing the infrastructure over and over again.”
In conjunction with the financing, Julie joined Zus’s board. Julie in 2021 has also backed Tomorrow Health, which enables patients to get the equipment and supplies they require at home in a streamlined manner; Bold, a digital health and wellness service co-founded by Amanda Rees; and Firefly Health, which is developing a concierge medicine service for average Americans whose CEO is Fay Rotenberg. Also this year, another of her portfolio companies, PatientPing, was acquired by Appriss Health for a reported price of around $500 million. Julie, also in 2021, was named to the Midas Brink List, a group who are seen as being poised to land on a future Forbes’ Midas List. Her portfolio also includes Ribbon Health, a health care data platform. A general partner, Julie is part of the investment team for Andreessen Horowitz’s $750 million biotech fund. She joined the firm in 2019 after previously co-founding and serving as chief product offering of Kyruus, a venture-backed developer of a scheduling platform for hospital systems.
Daniella Kranjac’s Dynamk Capital invests in Lightspeed Microscopy
Dynamk Capital, LLC, which was co-founded by Daniella Kranjac, invests in a company seeking to revolutionize pathology. Dynamk led Lightspeed Microscopy, Inc.’s $4 million Series A round.
Based in Seattle, Lightspeed has developed an end-to-end 3-D pathology platform. The company’s technology combines novel chemistry, patented open-top light-sheet microscopy and cloud-based AI data analysis to non-destructively image large tissues in 3-D at a sub-cellular resolution. The platform is a complete solution that includes tissue labelling, tissue clearing, high-throughput imaging, cloud-based processing and 3-D digital analysis.
Daniella founded Dynamk with her brother, Mario Kranjac. It closed its debut fund earlier this year and has $65 million in assets under management. Dynamk provides early-stage and growth capital to life science industrials. The firm earlier this year backed Curi Bio, Inc., a developer of human stem cell-based platforms for drug discovery. Dynamk’s investments also include CellFE, whose co-founder and CEO is Alla Zamarayeva and which is developing a microfluidics-based device to deliver gene-editing molecules; RoosterBio, Inc., which is led by Margot Connor and is simplifying and standardizing how stem cells are purchased, expanded and used in development; and Envisagenics, Inc., a drug discovery company whose co-founder and CEO is Maria Luisa Pineda.
SoftBank Investment Advisers’ Serena Dayal helps turn IRL into a unicorn
Serena Dayal, a director with SoftBank Investment Advisers, turns a group messaging social network into a unicorn. SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led IRL’s $170 million Series C round, which also included Dragoneer and return investors Goodwater Capital, Founders Fund, Floodgate and Owl Capital. The San Francisco company is now valued a $1.17 billion.
IRL, which stands for In Real Life, seeks to bring people together through events and shared experiences. It has more than 12 million monthly active users and over the past 15 months has experienced 400 percent growth.
In a statement Serena said, “people are increasingly seeking more in-person social connections and are looking to share meaningful experiences together. As an innovative event-based social network, IRL sits at the intersection of group and event discovery, social calendaring, and group messaging, enabling people to do more together.”
Earlier this year, Serena led the Vision Fund’s investment into Standard Cognition, which enables retailers to transform stores into checkout-free experiences. She is on Standard Cognition’s board and is also an observer on the board of SoftBank portfolio company Memphis Meats. Serena joined SoftBank in September 2019 from Fortress where she was a senior vice president. She previously was a vice president in investment banking at Goldman Sachs.
Nathalie Kornhoff-Brüls leads Eurazeo Growth into Neo4j’s $325M Series F round
Eurazeo Growth’s Nathalie Kornhoff-Brüls plays a key role in what is believed to be the largest investment ever in a private database company. Eurazeo Growth led Neo4j’s $325 million Series F round, which also included GV, DTCP, Lightrock and existing investors One Peak, Creandum and Greenbridge Partners. The round valued the San Mateo, Calif. company at more than $2 billion.
Neo4j claims to be the world’ most widely deployed graph database. Its platform enables mission-critical workloads for connected data applications. According to industry research firm Gartner, graph technologies will be used in 80 percent of data and analytics innovations by 2025 – up from 10 percent in 2021. Its customers include Adobe, AstraZeneca, eBay, Levi Struss & Co., UBS and Walmart.
In a statement, Nathalie said that Eurazeo invested in Neo4j “because it is shaping the future of how data and analytics will need to be implemented in the enterprise and beyond” and is “uniquely” positioned “to continue to define and lead the graph database category.” In conjunction with the financing, Nathalie joined Neo4J’s board.
Earlier this year, Nathalie led Eurazeo Growth into PPRO, a provider of local payments infrastructure. A managing director with Eurazeo Growth, Nathalie was previously the founder of Mindforce Innovations, which develops platform applications for professional coaching. Her background also includes investment roles with KKR and General Atlantic. Eurazeo Growth is the growth equity arm of Eurazeo, the publicly traded investment company led by Virginie Morgon.
Andreessen Horowitz’s Kristina Shen invests in UserLeap
Andreessen Horowitz’s Kristina Shen invests in a company that she says “wowed” her at first sight. UserLeap secured $38 million in Series B funding from Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, Accel and Lenny Rachitsky, according to Crunchbase News.
Based in San Francisco, UserLeap has designed a platform aimed at allowing product managers to personalize customer surveys and present them at the right time. In a blog post, Kristina said UserLeap “provides a seamless way to embed in-app surveys into a product and uses an event-based architecture to trigger relevant questions in context with user actions. It then leverages natural language processing to aggregate quantitative and qualitative responses at scale.” She added, “we were wowed the first time we saw UserLeap’s product and believe it’s a vital tool for any customer-first business.” UserLeap intends to use the new investment to accelerate their roadmap, hire across all functions and expand product development.
Kristina, who joined Andreessen Horowitz in 2019, has also backed such companies as Pave, a provider of compensation tools, and Mux, a video platform for developers.
Julie Lein and Clara Brenner-led Urban Innovation Fund has two portfolio companies acquired
The Urban Innovation Fund, which is led by managing partners Julie Lein and Clara Brenner, has two portfolio companies acquired. Terms of Electriphi’s purchase by Ford Motor Co. and codeSpark’s purchase by BEGiN were not disclosed.
The Urban Innovation Fund led Electriphi’s seed round in early 2020. The San Francisco-based company builds software to power electric vehicle fleets. It raised, according to Crunchbase, only $3.5 million. Other investors included Lemnos VC, Blackhorn Ventures and Wireframe Ventures. In a statement on its website, Urban Innovation Fund said the acquisition “is testament to the growing public interest and regulatory support for a world where electric-powered transit is the norm. The electrification of commercial fleets is imminent, and we’re excited to see Electriphi & Ford leading the charge.”
The fund’s other acquired portfolio company, codeSpark, is a digital education platform focused on STEM learning for young children. It raised a total of $4.2 million, according to Crunchbase. Others who backed codeSpark include Plug and Play Tech Center, NewSchools Venture Fund, Kapor Capital and Fusion Fund, whose founder and managing partner is Lu Zhang. The acquirer, BEGiN, is an edtech company.
The Urban Innovation Fund provides early-stage capital and regulatory support for startups that have the potential to transform the lives of those living in cities. The firm grew out of Julia and Clara’s work in starting Tumml, a nonprofit startup accelerator that also works with companies tackling urban challenges.
The Urban Innovation Fund’s investments include Jeeves, an all-in-one expense management platform for global startups; Codi, which was co-founded and led by Christelle Rohaut and offers daytime workspaces in private homes; Grain, which is focused on helping individuals build and repair their credit; Ride Report, which is trying to make it easier for providers of bikes, scooters and small electric vehicles to operate; Ethic, an asset management platform providing sustainable solutions for wealth advisors and institutional investors; Milk Stork, a breast milk shipping company whose co-founder and CEO is Kate Torgersen; Voatz, which is seeking to improve the voting process; and Valor Water Analytics, whose founder is Christine Boyle.
Bihua Chen’s Cormorant invests in an oncology company that Anna French brought Qiming Venture Partners into last fall
Bihua Chen’s Cormorant Asset Management invests in an oncology company that Anna French brought her firm – Qiming Venture Partners USA – into last fall. Cormorant and SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led Umoja Biopharma, Inc.’s $210 million Series B round, which also included RTW Investments, Temasek, Presight Capital, Caas Capital, SVB Leerink as well as return investors Qiming Venture Partners USA, MPM Capital, Casdin Capital, The Emerson Collective, Alexandria Venture Investments, and DCVC Bio. Qiming Venture Partners USA and MPM led Umjoa’s $53 million Series A round that was announced in November. Anna joined the Seattle company’s board at that time.
Umoja is seeking to address the key limitations of existing engineered immunotherapies. The company is devising a suite of innovations that will re-engineer a patient’s own immune system to attack and destroy both hematologic and solid organ-based tumors with a simplicity and cost that enables widespread implementation. The Series B funding will be used in part to advance Umoja’s two lead programs into the clinic.
Cormorant’s investments in 2021 include Stablix Therapeutics, which is developing a targeted protein stabilization platform; Myra Medical, Inc., which is developing a first-of-its-kind treatment for patients with moderate to severe glaucoma; NiKang Therapeutics, which is advancing highly differentiated small molecules that are addressing difficult-to-drug targets; Numab Therapeutics, which is developing immunotherapies for cancer, and inflammation; Interius BioTherapeutics, which is developing what it describes as a paradigm-shifting platform for vivo cell-specific gene delivery; Tyra Biosciences, which is developing compounds targeting drug resistant cancer cells; Pyxis Oncology, which is led by Dr. Lara Sullivan and which is focused on developing therapies aimed at defeating difficult-to-treat cancers; EpimAb Biotherapeutics, Inc., which specializes in bispecific antibody development; Graphite Bio, a next-generation gene editing company whose scientific co-founders include Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo; Neurelis, Inc., which has launched an epilepsy treatment; Ventyx Biosciences, Inc., which is advancing a pipeline of immune modulators to treat inflammatory diseases and autoimmune disorders; AgomAb Therapeutics, which is developing drug candidates to modulate regenerative pathways to induce functional organ recovery in acute and chronic diseases; BlossomHill Therapeutics, Inc., an oncology company founded by Jingrong Jean Cui; FogPharma, a precision medicine company co-founded by WeiQing Zhou; DTx Pharma, Inc., which is creating RNA-based therapeutics to treat the genetic drivers of disease; Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc., an oncology company; Ensoma, which is developing an in vivo approach to delivering off-the-shelf genomic medicines; Affinivax, Inc., which is developing vaccines utilizing its Multiple Antigen Presenting System platform; Biomea Fusion, Inc., a precision oncology company; Immuneering Corp., which seeking to create better medicines through insights from bioinformatics; GH Research Ireland, Ltd., which is developing a drug for treatment-resistant depression; and Icosavax, Inc., which is seeking to develop vaccines against life-threatening respiratory viruses in older adults.
Cormorant has had at least 11 portfolio companies go public this year: Verve Therapeutics; Centessa Pharmaceuticals; Rain Therapeutics, Inc.; VectivBio Holding; Biomea Fusion; Prometheus Biosciences, Inc.; Design Therapeutics; Edgewise Therapeutics; Ambrx, Inc.; Pharvaris, which Anne Lesage co-founded; and Talaris Therapeutics, Inc., which was founded by Dr. Suzanne Ildstad. Cormorant now has at least five companies in registration: Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc., GH Research Ireland, Elevation Oncology, Aerovate Therapeutics, Inc. and Graphite Bio. It also has another, Tango Therapeutics, which is set to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. Tango’s CEO is Dr. Barbara Weber.
Kanu Gulati leads Khosla Ventures into Lexion’s $11M funding round
Khosla Ventures’ Kanu Gulati plugs the firm into an AI-powered contract management system. Lexion raised $11 million in a funding round led by Khosla with participation from existing investors Madrona Venture Group and Wilson Sonsini.
Lexion is a simple and affordable contract repository that uses AI to help customers gain insights about their agreements. The Seattle-based company plans to use these funds to scale go-to-market functions, drive further AI and product innovation and grow the team, with a mission to offer a simple contract lifecycle management system that just works. Lexion is expanding its offering to help legal teams manage the entire contracting process. Lexion is rolling out a new workflow module that allows customers to create customized intake forms, track the status of projects, manage drafts, secure approvals and report on KPIs.
In conjunction with the financing, Kanu joined Lexion’s board. She has also led and helps manage the firm’s investments in Zendar, Nomagic, WaveOne, Korbit, Analog Inference, Windborne and Rosebud.
Weiyi Zhang guides BIVF into Nuevocor’s $24M Series A round
Weiyi Zhang, who is managing director of Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund China, guides the pharmaceutical company’s venture arm into a Singapore-based company developing novel gene therapies for cardiomyopathies. BIVF and EVX Ventures co-led Nuevocor’s $24 million Series A round, which also included EDBI, Xora Innovation and SEEDS Capital.
Nuevocor will use the capital to accelerate the preclinical development of its lead program, an adeno-associated virus-based gene therapy for patients suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy due to mutations in the lamin A/C gene. The company also plans to address other untreatable cardiomyopathies using their novel target discovery platform.
In a statement, Weiyi said, “Nuevocor is trying to apply a very innovative and challenging approach using gene therapy for the treatment of genetically driven, dilated cardiomyopathies. We are excited to see that the company is exploiting the potential of genetic suppressors to change the course of these diseases and hopefully to significantly extend the life span and improve the life quality of dilated cardiomyopathy patients.”
Weiyi is also head of the external innovation hub China at Boehringer Ingelheim. She is on the board of Delonix Bioworks.
Jump Capital’s Yelena Shkolnik makes a wager on Sporttrade
Jump Capital’s Yelena Shkolnik makes a wager on a sports betting company. Jump led Sporttrade, Inc.’s $36 million round, which also included Impression Ventures, Hudson River Trading and Tower Research Ventures.
Based in Philadelphia, Sporttrade was built to make sports betting more responsible and similar to stock trading by utilizing proven exchange technology and processes and enhancing and democratizing the traditional betting experience for customers. The company is looking to launch its app in the second half of the year – assuming it gets necessary approvals and licensing from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Sporttrade would be the only sports betting exchange in the United States.
In a statement, Yelena said that Sporttrade’s team has “built a retail trading solution for betting, reflecting pricing based on win probabilities and allowing users to easily trade in and out of any position. To enable low-cost wagers, they’ve assembled a team from across capital markets and betting, locking in partnerships with institutional market making partners to enable a powerful and liquid exchange.”
In 2020, Yelena saw portfolio company Tubi TV acquired by Fox Corp. for $440 million. Yelena’s investments also include UPshow, a screen-based consumer engagement platform and TVISION INSIGHTS, which measures television watching.
Jump has offices in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.
Leonard Green & Partners is selling a portion of its stake in a portfolio company of Alyse Wagner
Leonard Green & Partners is selling a portion of its stake in a portfolio company of Alyse Wagner. CVC Capital Partners is acquiring a majority stake in ExamWorks, LLC from LGP and Singapore’s GIC. LGP and GIC, however, are remaining investors in the Atlanta company. Terms were not disclosed, but PE Hub said the transaction values the company at between $4 billion and $4.5 billion. LGP took ExamWorks private in a $2.2 billion transaction in 2016.
ExamWorks provides independent medical examinations, peer reviews, bill reviews, Medicare compliance services and case management services.
In addition to ExamWorks, Alyse is on the boards of Aspen Dental Management, CHG Healthcare Services, MDVIP, RestorixHealth and AerSale, which went public late last year through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. Alyse also is involved in the firm’s investments in MultiPlan, North American Partners in Anesthesia and Prospect Medical. Alyse, a partner, has been with LGP since 2003 and spoke at this year’s Virtual Women’s Private Equity Summit.
Los Angeles-based LGP was founded in 1989 and has invested in more than 95 companies.