Portfolio companies of Bihua Chen's Cormorant and Longitude Capital’s Juliet Tammenoms Bakker file to go public

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing July 12, 2021

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Planet Labs is poised to become publicly traded

Planet Labs, Inc. – whose board includes Threshold Ventures’ Heidi Roizen and whose investors include EDBI, whose CEO is Swee Yeok Chu; Felicis Ventures, which was led into it by former partner Renata Quintini; and 137 Ventures, which was led into it by former managing partner Alda Leu Dennis – is poised to become publicly traded company. Planet has agreed to merge with special purpose acquisition company dMY Technology Group, Inc. IV and, in turn, go public. It would be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PL. The transaction will provide the San Francisco company with $545 million and a valuation of $2.8 billion.

Planet is an Earth data and analytics company, producing 25 terabytes of data per day from approximately 200 satellites. It currently generates more than $100 million in revenue from more than 600 customers.

Heidi joined Planet’s board in 2018, taking a seat that had been held by former DFJ founder Steve Jurvetson prior to his departure from the firm. DFJ has rebranded as Threshold. Planet Labs’ board also includes Ita Brennan, senior vice president, chief financial officer of Arista Networks, and Ann Mather, the former executive vice president and CFO of Pixar, who is on a series of boards including Google, Bumble and AirBnB.

Planet, according to Crunchbase, raised $374 million in funding from a group which in addition to DFJ, EDBI, Felicis and 137 Ventures included Westly Group, DBL Partners and DCVC.

EDBI, the corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board, recently had another portfolio companies, Sprinklr, go public.

Renata is now the co-founder of Renegade Partners, while Alda is a general partner of Initialized Capital.

Bihua Chen's Cormorant Asset Management sees two portfolio companies file to go public

Cormorant Asset Management, which is led by Bihua Chen, sees two companies that its backed in 2021 file to go public. Both Icosavax, Inc. and Immuneering Corp. are seeking to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq.

Icosavax, which would take the ticker symbol ICVX, is developing vaccines against life-threatening respiratory viruses in older adults. The Seattle company’s board includes Heidi Kunz, who was previously executive vice president and chief financial officer of Blue Shield of California.

Qiming Venture Partners USA is the largest shareholder with a 13 percent pre-IPO stake. Adams Street Partners holds 12.8 percent, while RA Capital Management has 12.3 percent and Aventis, Inc. 12.2 percent. Cormorant’s stake was not disclosed. Cormorant took part in the $100 million Series B round that was completed during the spring.

Icosavax is developing a bivalent respiratory syncytial virus, better known as RSV, and human metapneumovirus, known as hMPV, vaccine program through initial clinical studies. It also is evaluating a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate and is looking to expand its pipeline of VLP vaccine candidates focused on protecting older adults from life-threatening respiratory diseases. There are currently no approved vaccines against RSV and hMPV, two respiratory viruses that are disproportionately life-threatening for the elderly.

Immuneering, which would trade under the symbol IMRX, is targeting signaling pathways to treat cancers and neurological diseases. The Cambridge, Mass. company’s programs target mutations of the MAPX and mTOR pathways, which run parallel to each other and are inappropriately activated in more than half of all cancers.

Its board includes Ann Berman, who previously held a variety of financial and risk management roles at Harvard University, and Laurie Keating, who is executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Cormorant led Immuneering’s $62 million Series B round, which was announced in early January. Cormorant and Citadel are listed as Immuneering’s largest shareholders, holding 8.6 percent prior to the IPO.

Cormorant now has at least four companies in registration. The others are Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc. and Erasca. All told, Cormorant has had at least 16 companies go public in 2021. They are: GH Research; Monte Rosa Therapeutics; Elevation Oncology; Aerovate Therapeutics, Inc.; 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; Graphite Bio, whose scientific co-founders include Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo; and Talaris Therapeutics, Inc., which was founded by Dr. Suzanne Ildstad.

Two of Longitude Capital’s Juliet Tammenoms Bakker’s portfolio companies file to go public

Two of Longitude Capital’s Juliet Tammenoms Bakker’s portfolio companies have filed to go public. Nalu Medical, Inc. and RxSight, Inc. are each seeking to raise $100 million and trade on Nasdaq.

Nalu, which would trade under the symbol NALU, is commercializing a nerve stimulation implant for chronic neuropathic pain. Juliet has served on the Carlsbad, Calif. company’s board since 2015. Longitude is the second largest shareholder with a 15.9 percent stake. Boston Scientific Corp. is the largest with a 32.4 percent pre-IPO stake.

RxSight, which would trade under the symbol RXST, has developed an intraocular lens that can be adjusted after cataract surgery. The Aliso Viejo, Calif. company was founded in 1997 and generated $15 million in sales for the 12 months ended March 31. Longitude owns 9.97 percent of the company prior to the offering. H.I.G. BioVentures holds 7.53 percent while RA Capital has 6.2 percent.

In 2020, another of Juliet’s portfolio companies, Eargo, went public. Earlier this year, Juliet led Longitude into Ceribell, Inc., which is seeking to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients at risk for seizures and whose co-founder and CEO is Jane Chao. Juliet joined Ceribell’s board, and is also on the board of Endogenex, Inc.

A Isabelle Freidheim and Phyllis Newhouse-led SPAC has agreed to merge with Heliogen and go public

A special purpose acquisition company led by Isabelle Freidheim and Phyllis Newhouse has found a company to merge with and, in turn, bring public. Athena Technology Acquisition Corp. has agreed to combine with Heliogen, Inc., a provider of AI-enabled concentrated solar energy. Heliogen, in turn, would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The transaction would result in up to $415 million for Heliogen, which would be valued at $2 billion.

Athena Technology Acquisition went public earlier this year, raising $200 million. Isabelle, who is chairman, is co-founder and managing partner of Starwood VC. She also co-founded Magnifi, an investment platform that was acquired in December by the Tifin Group. Phyllis, who is Athena’s CEO, is the founder of XtremeSolutions, Inc., a cybersecurity company. She previously spent more than 22 years in the United States Army and will join Heliogen’s board following completion of the transaction.

Athena’s executive team also includes Grace Vandecruze, who is chief financial officer. She is the founder and managing director of Grace Global Capital, LLC, an M&A consulting firm. Athena’s board consists of Kay Koplovitz, co-founder and chairman of Springboard Enterprises; Annette Nazareth, who is a senior counsel at Davis Polk and Wardell; Judith Rodin, who previously was president of the Rockefeller Foundation; and Janice Bryant Howroyd, who is founder and CEO of ActOne Group. The SPAC’s advisors include Nina Vaca, who is chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources; Minneola Ingersoll, a partner at venture firm TenOneTen; Ciara Anne Burnham, who previously was a partner of QED Investors; and Kristen Dickey, who is managing partner of Seaview Capital.

Patricia Trompeter forms a space transport-focused SPAC that she hopes to fly onto Nasdaq

Patricia Trompeter forms a space transport-focused special purpose acquisition company that she hopes to fly onto Nasdaq. Parsec Capital Acquisition Corp. filed to raise $50 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol PCXU. Once public, Parsec will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. It will target businesses with enterprise values between $100 million and $300 million in the space economy, transport and technology industries. Patricia, who is CEO and chair of the SPAC, is the former chief financial officer of GE Capital. She is currently CEO and director of Astro Aerospace, Ltd., which is sponsoring the SPAC.

The Column Group’s JJ Kang is on the board of a biotech company that has filed to go public 

JJ Kang, a venture partner with The Column Group, is on the board of a biotech company that has filed to go public – a company that she previously served as the founding president of. Tenaya Therapeutics filed to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol TNYA.

Based in South San Francisco, Calif., Tenaya is developing multiple therapies to treat heart disease. Its board also includes Dr. Catherine Stehman-Breen, who is CEO of Chroma Medicine.

The Column Group is Tenaya’s largest shareholder, holding a 34.4 percent pre-IPO stake. Casdin Group holds 10 percent.

JJ has been on Tenaya’s board since 2016. She served as president, treasurer and secretary of the company from August 2016 to June 2018. JJ joined The Column Group as an associate in 2016, was a partner from 2019 to 2020 and has been a venture partner since last year. She is also CEO of Appia Bio, Inc., which raised a $52 million Series A round earlier this year.

In 2019, another company on whose board JJ served, Exonics Therapeutics, Inc., was acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals for an upfront payment of $245 million. Shareholders, however, could receive as much as $1 billion based on Exonics achieving specified development and regulatory milestones.

BDT & Company’s Kelly Rainko will be hoping that Weber’s IPO is well done

BDT & Company’s Kelly Rainko will be hoping that outdoor grill maker Weber, Inc.’s IPO is well done. Weber, whose board Kelly chairs, filed to raise $100 million and list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WEBR. Based in Palatine, Ill., Weber reported net income of $89 million on revenue of $1.5 billion in 2020.

Kelly has served on Weber’s board since 2010. She is a partner with BDT, which she joined at its founding in 2009. Kelly is also a director of Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Caribou Coffee and a board member of SAFE Project. BDT is listed as owning more than 5 percent of Weber, but neither its stake nor the stake of any of the other investors are disclosed in the filing.

Weber’s board also includes Melinda Rich, who is vice chairman of Rich Products Corp.

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