Portfolio companies of Chen's Cormorant, NEA’s Chang and Gaocheng Capital’s Hong are among those going public this week

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing March 15, 2021

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Blau, Eilian and Ryu on management team of a SPAC formed by Able Partners

Lisa Blau, Amanda Eilian and Alison Ryu of Able Partners comprise the management team of a special purpose acquisition company formed by their firm that has an all-women board. Able Brands is seeking to raise $225 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol ABCOU. Once public, the SPAC will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. The SPAC will target “better-for-you” consumer-facing businesses.

New York-based Able Partners focuses on backing visionary early-stage brands in the positive, healthy living space. Lisa and Amanda founded the investment firm in 2016 and added Alison in 2019.

Lisa is chair of the SPAC. A longtime angel investor, she co-founded VitalJuice.com, a healthy living newsletter that was acquired by Tasting Table. She also helped build and launch Portero, an online luxury goods auction platform sold to Richemont.

Amanda, the SPAC’s CEO, co-founded Videolicious, an enterprise mobile video creation platform. Her background also includes roles with Capital Acquisition Corp., Merrill Lynch, Falconhead Capital and Chilton Investments.

Prior to joining Able Partners, Alison was a managing director with CircleUp. She also served as a vice president of TSG Consumer Partners. Alison is the SPAC’s chief financial officer.

Able Brands’ board would include Michelle (“Meka”) Millstone-Shroff, who is a senior advisor to McKinsey & Co., and Anu Subramanian, who is chief financial officer of Bumble, Inc.

Leonard Green & Partners’ Chang sees longtime firm portfolio company go public

Lily Chang, chief portfolio services officer for Leonard Green & Partners, is on the board of a longtime firm portfolio company that has gone public. JOANN, Inc., the fabric and crafts retailer, raised $131 million by pricing 13.1 million shares at $10 a share. The company is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol JOAN.

Leonard Green took the Hudson, Ohio company private in 2011 in a deal that valued the company at $1.6 billion. JOANN has 860 stores and generated $2.6 billion in sales for the 12 months ended Oct. 31.

Lily, who has been on JOANN’s board since 2018, has been with Leonard Green since 2004. In her role, she leads the firm’s collaborative efforts with portfolio company management teams.

JOANN’s board also includes Marybeth Hays, a former executive with Walmart, and Anne Mehlman, executive vice president and chief financial officer with Crocs, Inc.

A SPAC formed by Alexandria Real Estate Equities is seeking to raise $250M

Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ executives Jackie Clem, Monica Rivera Beam and Sarah Cohen are part of the management team of a new special purpose acquisition company formed by their firm – one whose board would include Leshika Samarasinghe, who is a venture partner at Future Positive. Alexandria Agtech/Climate Innovation Acquisition is seeking to raise $250 million in an initial public offering and trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AACE.U. Once public, the SPAC would look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring that company public. Alexandria Agtech/Climate Innovation Acquisition would target agtech and climate innovation.

Jackie, who is the SPAC’s executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, is general counsel and secretary of Alexandria Real Estate. She has been with the firm since 2006.

Monica, who is Alexandria Agtech/Climate’s chief investment officer, has served as Alexandria Real Estate’s senior vice president – science and technology since January 2018. She co-leads the firm’s science and technology team, which includes Alexandria Venture Investments.

Sarah is the SPAC’s chief administration/operations. She is the executive director of strategic operations & proprietary products at Alexandria Real Estate. Sarah joined Alexandria in 2017 and has contributed to Alexandria Venture Investments’ strategic vision and execution.

The SPAC’s management team also includes Lynne Zydowsky, who is chief scientific officer. She is president of Zydowsky Consultants, which offers services to emerging companies working at the intersection of life sciences and agriculture.

Leshika joined Future Positive last year after being a managing partner at The Production Board, an Alphabet-backed venture studio.

Bain Capital Credit’s Dornaus is CFO of a new SPAC

Sally Dornaus, a managing director with Bain Capital Credit, is part of a special purpose acquisition company formed by her firm. BCC Investment has filed to raise up to $300 million in an initial public offering and list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BCIC.U. Once public, the SPAC will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. BCC Investment will focus on companies with an established business model, a defensible market position and sustainable long-term growth drivers.

Sally is serving as the SPAC’s chief financial officer. She has been with Bain Capital Credit since 2006 and is a member of its risk and oversight committee. Sally also serves as chief financial officer of Bain Capital Specialty Finance, Inc.

Whang Rosenband is CEO of a Gaas Labs-sponsored SPAC that files to go public

Jihye Whang Rosenband is CEO of a special purpose acquisition company that has filed to go public. SPGL Acquisition is seeking to raise $250 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol SPGLU. Once public, the SPAC will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. The SPAC will target semiconductors.

Jihye is head of transaction related activity at Gaas Labs, which is sponsoring the SPAC. She previously led corporate strategy and M&A at MACOM.

Cormorant-backed Prometheus Biosciences goes public

A company that Bihua Chen’s Cormorant Asset Management only backed last fall has gone public. Prometheus Biosciences, Inc. raised $190 million by offering 10 million shares at $19 a share. It is trading on Nasdaq under the symbol RXDX.

Based in San Diego, Prometheus is taking a precision medicine approach to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutic and companion diagnostic products for the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Cormorant owned 6.8 percent of the company prior to the offering. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was the largest shareholder with an 18.4 percent pre-IPO stake. Nestle S.A. held 13.7 percent while Cowen Healthcare Investments, Eventide Asset Management, Perceptive Advisors and RTW Investments all held 9 percent. All of those firms took part in Prometheus’ most recent round, a $130 million financing that was announced in November.

Prometheus’ board includes Helen Adams, who previously was the San Diego Area managing partner for accounting firm Haskell & White; Dr. Judith Swain, who is chief medical officer of Physiowave, Inc.; and Mary Szela, who is CEO and president of TriSalus Life Sciences, Inc.

At least one other Cormorant-backed company has gone public in 2021: Pharvaris, which Anne Lesage co-founded. It also has at least two companies in registration to go public: Design Therapeutics and Edgewise Therapeutics.

A portfolio company of 11.2 Capital’s Zhuang goes public

A portfolio company of 11.2 Capital founder Shelley Zhuang has gone public. Aeva Technologies, Inc. is now trading on the New York Stock Exchange after merging with InterPrivate Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company. The transaction valued Aeva at $2.1 billion and generated $560 million in gross proceeds.

Based in Mountain View, Calif., Aeva is developing sensing and perception technology for autonomous vehicles. It is trading under the symbol AEVA. According to Crunchbase, it raised nearly $250 million in venture funding from a group, which in addition to 11.2, included Adage Capital, Porsche SE, Lux Capital and Canaan Partners.

Two other companies that Shelley backed were acquired last year. White Ops was purchased by Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division in partnership with ClearSky Security and NightDragon, while CryptoNumerics, which was co-founded by Monica Holboke, was acquired in 2020 by Snowflake. White Ops is focused on protecting enterprises and Internet platforms from digital fraud and abuse.

Shelley’s investments also include Cruise Automation, Ginkgo Bioworks, Forter, Covariant.AI and Hinge Health. She founded 11.2 after being an executive at Ecoplast Technologies.

A SPAC led by former Xerox CEO Burns goes public

A special purpose acquisition company led by former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns goes public. Plum Acquisition Corp. I raised $300 million by offering 30 million units at $10 a share. It is trading on Nasdaq under the symbol PLMIU. The SPAC will now look to merge with and, in turn, bring public a private company. The SPAC is focused on companies utilizing enterprise software, SMB software and infrastructure or disruptive marketplace models in such verticals as business automation, health and wellbeing, fintech and insurtech.

Ursula served as CEO of Xerox from 2010 to 2016 and is the first and, still only, African-American woman to have led an S&P 500 company. She most recently was chairman and CEO of VEON, Ltd.

Plum’s board also includes Kelly Breslin Wright, a former executive at Tableau Software; Jennifer Ceran, CFO Emeritus at Smartsheet; and Vin Murria, founder of Advanced Computer Software plc which was acquired by Vista Equity Partners in 2019.

Cohen's FinTech Acquisition Corp. V agrees to merge with eToro and trade on Nasdaq

For the third time in 2021, a special purpose acquisition company chaired by Betsy Z. Cohen has found a company to bring public – a company whose backers include Bracket Capital, which was co-founded by Yalda Aoukar, and Anthemis, whose co-founder and CEO is Amy Nauiokas. FinTech Acquisition Corp. V has agreed to merge with eToro Group, Ltd., a no-fee trading app. The deal, which includes a $650 million financing, values London-based eToro at $10.4 billion. It will trade on Nasdaq once the deal is complete and receive $800 million from the transaction. The company raised around $150 million from a group, which in addition to Bracket and Anthemis, also included Spark Capital, SBI Holdings, Korea Investment Partners, China Minsheng Financial and CommerzVentures.

In 2020, eToro added more than 5 million new users and generated gross revenues of $605 million. In January, it added 1.2 million new registered users and executed more than 75 million trades. All told, eToro has 20 million registered users.

In a statement, Betsy said, “in the last few years, eToro has solidified its position as the leading online social trading platform outside the U.S., outlined its plans for the U.S. market, and diversified its income streams. It is now at an inflection point of growth, and we believe eToro is exceptionally positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.”

FinTech Acquisition Corp. V went public in December, raising $218 million. Its board also includes Laura Kohn, who is an independent investor and former executive with Charles Schwab and Wells Fargo; Jan Rock Zubrow, who is chair of Women for Women International and is the former president of venture capital firm MedCapital, LLC; and Brittain Ezzes, who is an executive vice president and portfolio manager for Small Cap Value and Mid Cap Value funds at Mutual of America.

Earlier this year, two other SPACs that Betsy chairs disclosed merger agreements. FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp., agreed to combine with Payoneer, Inc. while FinTech Acquisition Corp. IV said it would merge with Perella Weinberg Partners.

Betsy also chairs two other SPACs that have gone public this year: FTAC Hera Acquisition Corp. and FTAC Athena Acquisition Corp., whose CEO is Amanda Abrams. Betsy is also chair of two other SPACs that are in registration to go public: FinTech Acquisition Corp. VI and FTAC Parnassus Acquisition Corp. Three earlier SPACS that Betsy was involved with – FinTech I, FinTech II and FinTech III – all have previously combined with private companies.

DoubleVerify Holdings files to go public

Lucy Stamell Dobrin, a Providence Equity Partners’ principal, is on the board of a firm portfolio company that has filed to go public. DoubleVerify Holdings, Inc. is seeking to raise $100 million and trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DV.

Based in New York, DoubleVerify produces a software platform for digital media measurement and analytics. In 2020, it booked $244 million in revenue. Lucy has been on DoubleVerify’s board since September 2017 when Providence acquired a majority stake in the company.

Laura Desmond has also served on DoubleVerify’s board since that time and even served last year as the company’s interim CEO. Laura is the founder and CEO of Eagle Vista Partners, a strategic advisory firm focused on marketing and digital technology. Her background also includes serving as chief revenue officer of Publicis Groupe and CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group.

DoubleVerify’s board also includes Teri List-Stoll, who previously served as executive vice president and chief financial officer at Gap.

DoubleVerify has also received backing from Tiger Global, Fidelity, BlackRock and Neuberger Berman.

Lucy is also on the board of Smartly.io. She previously was director of EdgeConneX, which Providence sold to another private equity firm, EQT, for a reported $2.5 billion last year, and OEConnection, which was acquired by Genstar Capital in 2019. Lucy joined Providence in 2011 after working as an analyst in the financial sponsors investment banking group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

A portfolio company of NEA’s Chang and Gaocheng Capital’s Hong goes public

Carmen Chang of New Enterprise Associates and Jing Hong of Gaocheng Capital have a portfolio company go public. Tuya, a developer of an Internet of Things cloud platform, raised $915 million by pricing 43.59 million American depositary shares at $21 each. Tuya is trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TUYA. Based in Hangzhou, China, Tuya generated $180 million revenue in 2020. Its customers include Philips and Schneider Electric. It raised more than $230 million in venture funding. NEA was the largest shareholder prior to the offering with a 23.9 percent pre-IPO stake. Tencent Mobility Limited held a 10.8 percent stake while Unileo Limited and Tenet Group, Ltd. owned 5.3 percent and 5.2 percent respectively.

Carmen has been on Tuya’s board since December 2014 – the year the company was founded. Carmen, who has been with NEA since 2012, serves as a general partner and chairman and head in Asia. She is also on the boards of Woebot, Moqi, Cista and Simple Psychology.

Jing will become a director following Tuya’s IPO. She founded Gaocheng after being a partner and head of private equity of Hillhouse Capital Group. Gaocheng is a growth fund focusing on the innovation and software sectors. According to the filing, Gaocheng held a 2.4 percent pre-IPO stake.

Also joining the board in conjunction with the offering is Qing Gao of China International Capital Corp., Ltd. She has served as an observer on Tuya’s board since August 2017. A managing director at CICC, Qing is the founding partner and manager of several private equity funds.

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