Portfolio companies of Rebecca Lynn and Bihua Chen’s Cormorant Asset Management go public

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing June 28, 2021

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Cherry AG, whose board includes Argand Partners’ Heather Faust, goes public

Cherry AG, whose board includes Argand PartnersHeather Faust, goes public – less than a year after it was acquired by the private equity firm. A designer and manufacturer of high-precision keyboard PC gaming mechanical switch technology, Cherry went public on the Frankfort Stock Exchange at 32 euros a share, giving it a market capitalization of approximately 778 million euros. It is trading under the symbol C3RY. The total volume of primary and secondary shares placed in the IPO amounted to approximately 416 million euros and Cherry received 138 million euros from the offering.

Argand acquired Cherry in September and supported its subsequent acquisitions of Active Key GmbH, a manufacturer of hygienic, washable keyboards and mice for medical and industrial end-markets, and Theobroma Systems Design and Consulting GmbH, a developer and manufacturer of embedded platform systems. Founded in 1953, the company employs approximately 500 in plants and corporate branches in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China, Austria and the United States.

In a statement, Heather said, “we are thrilled to support this significant milestone in Cherry’s history and realize significant value for our investors. Cherry is a world-class company and well positioned to advance and expand its position as a global brand and innovation leader. We are delighted by the strong institutional shareholder support the company received, and the extremely positive feedback from investors throughout the process. We look forward to continuing to support Cherry’s management team as they pursue further organic and inorganic growth.”

Heather, a partner and managing director, is also on the boards of Midwest Can, OASE Living Water, Sigma Electric Manufacturing, Tensar Corp. and publicly traded Concrete Pumping Holdings, Inc. She is a past speaker at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.

Argand was founded in 2015 by Heather and Castle Harlan colleagues, Howard D. Morgan and Tariq Osman. The firm has approximately $600 million under management.

A company that Rebecca Lynn led Morgenthaler Ventures into goes public

A company that Rebecca Lynn led Morgenthaler Ventures into and on whose board she previously served has gone public – a company co-founded by Shari Buck. Doximity, an online platform for physicians, raised $606 million by offering 23.3 million shares at $26 a share. It is trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DOCS.

Based in San Francisco, Doximity enables doctors to collaborate with colleagues, securely coordinate patient care, conduct virtual patients visits, read the latest medical news and research and manage their careers. It has more than 1.8 million members and booked $207 million in sales for the 12 months ended March 31.

Doximity’s board includes Kira Wampler, who is venture chair of Redesign Health, Inc., and Dr. Regina Benjamin, who served as U.S. Surgeon General between November 2009 and August 2013 and is the founder and CEO of BayouClinic, Inc.

Founded in 2010, Doximity has raised $81.8 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase. According to the company’s filing, the largest shareholder prior to the offering was the Tangney Schweikert Family Trust, which is controlled by CEO Jefferey Tangney and his wife, Claudia Schweikert. Shari’s holdings are not listed. Among the venture investors, Emergence Capital Partners was the largest shareholder with a 15.1 percent pre-IPO stake. InterWest Partners owned 13.4 percent while Morgenthaler held 10.7 percent.

Rebecca is now a co-founder and general partner of Canvas, which emerged from Morgenthaler. She and her Canvas co-founders have remained involved with their remaining Morgenthaler investments. Another of Rebecca’s portfolio companies, Luminar Technologies, Inc., went public in 2020 through a merger with Gores Metropoulos, Inc., a special purpose acquisition company. She recently led Canvas into Tilled.

A SPAC chaired by Betsy Cohen goes public

A special purpose acquisition company chaired by Betsy Z. Cohen has gone public. FinTech Acquisition Corp. VI raised $220 million by offering 22 million units at $10 each. It is now trading on Nasdaq under the symbol FTVIU and will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring that company public.

The SPAC is focused on targeting businesses providing technological services to the financial services industry, with particular emphasis on businesses that provide data processing, storage and transmission services, data bases and payment processing services. FinTech Acquisition VI’s board includes Madelyn Antoncic, who is CEO of Global Algorithmic Institute and the former treasurer of the World Bank; Laura Kohn, an independent investor and entrepreneur; Ellen Warren, who is founder and president of OutSource Communications; and Mona Aboelnaga Kanaan, who is managing partner of K6 Investments, LLC.

FinTech Acquisition VI is the 10th blank check company that Betsy has been involved with. Two of them, FTAC Athena Acquisition Corp., whose CEO is Amanda Abrams, and FTAC Hera Acquisition Corp. went public this year. Another, FTAC Parnassus Acquisition Corp., is in registration to go public. Earlier this year, three other SPACs that she chairs disclosed merger agreements. FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp., agreed to combine with Payoneer, Inc., Fintech Acquisition Corp. V agreed to merge with eToro Group, Ltd. and FinTech Acquisition Corp. IV last week completed its merger with Perella Weinberg Partners. Three earlier SPACS that Betsy was involved with – FinTech I, FinTech II and Fintech III – all have previously combined with private companies.

Imago BioSciences, whose board includes Omega Funds Dina Chaya, files to go public

Imago BioSciences, whose board includes Omega Funds advisor Dina Chaya, files to go public. The South San Francisco, Calif. company is seeking to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol IMGO.

Imago is developing small molecules for bone marrow cancers and diseases. It is specifically focusing on product candidates that target lysine-specific demethylase 1, or LSD1, an enzyme that plays a central role in the production of blood cells in the blood marrow.

Dina has served on Imago’s board since March 2019. Omega is the third largest shareholder prior to the offering with a 12.3 percent stake. Clarus Partners is the largest shareholder with a 14.4 percent stake and Frazier Healthcare Partners holds 12.4 percent. Other investors in the company included BlackRock, Celgene Corp., Farallon Capital Management, T. Rowe Price and Amgen Ventures.

In 2020, another company on whose board Dina served, Spruce Biosciences, went public. In addition to her role with Omega, Dina is also a partner with NeoMed Management, which has a relationship with Omega. She is also on the board of Oxular, Ltd.

In 2019, Omega closed its sixth fund at $438 million. Based in Boston, Omega creates and invests in life science companies that target the most urgent medical needs.

A portfolio company of Perceptive Advisors’ Ellen Hukkelhoven files to go public

A company that Perceptive AdvisorsEllen Hukkelhoven backed last year has filed to go public. Dynacure is seeking to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol DYCU.

Based in Illkirch-Graffenstaden, France, Dynacure is a drug development company focused on improving the lives of patients with rare and orphan disorders. It is focused on using antisense therapy for the treatment of Myotubular and Centronuclear Myopathies – serious, rare, life-threatening disorders that affect skeletal muscles from birth. Centronuclear Myopathies affect between 4,000 and 5,000 patients in the European Union, United States, Japan and Australia.

The company’s board includes Jean Franchi, chief financial officer at Replimune. Dynacure’s filing does not list the share percentage owned by investors, but those who own greater than 5 percent include Perceptive, BpiFrance, Eurazeo Investment Management, Kurma Partners and Pontifax. Perceptive led the company’s 50 million euros Series C round that was done in the spring of 2020.

Ellen is not on Dynacure’s board. She is on the boards of Freenome; AavantiBio; Partner Therapeutics; MeiraGTx, which went public in 2018 and whose CEO and president is Alexandria Forbes; and Kindbody, a women’s health care start-up co-founded by Gina Bartasi and Joanne Schneider. A managing director, Ellen joined Perceptive in 2013 after receiving her doctorate in cancer biology from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Bihua Chen’s Cormorant Asset Management sees five more portfolio companies go public

Cormorant Asset Management, which is led by Bihua Chen, has now had at least 16 portfolio companies go public in 2021 – five of which have done so over the past week. The five are: Graphite Bio, whose scientific co-founders include Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo; GH Research; Monte Rosa Therapeutics; Elevation Oncology, whose board includes Vertex VenturesLori Hu; and Aerovate Therapeutics, Inc., whose board includes Sofinnova InvestmentsMaha Katabi

Graphite Bio raised $238 million by pricing 14 million shares at $17 a share. The South San Francisco, Calif. company is trading on Nasdaq under the symbol GRPH. Graphite Bio is focused on correcting defective genes by high-efficiency site-specific integration of new genetic sequences. It has received IND clearance from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to initiate its first Phase 1/2 clinical trial evaluating its lead candidate in sickle cell disease.

Maria is at Stanford University where she is a professor in stem cell and regenerative medicine, a professor of pediatrics and of medicine, the director of the Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine and the co-director of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Her earlier work at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan led to the first approved gene therapy, Strimvelis.

The other scientific co-founder of Graphite Bio is another Stanford professor, Dr. Matthew Porteus. Graphite Bio’s board includes Dr. Kristen Hege, a senior vice president at Bristol Myers Squibb; Smital Shah, chief business and financial officer at ProQR Therapeutics NV; and Jo Viney, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Pandon Therapeutics, Inc. 

GH Research raised $160 million by offering 10 million shares at $16 a share. It is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol GHRS. GH is developing a drug for treatment-resistant depression. 

Monte Rosa raised $222 million by pricing 11.7 million shares at $19 a share. The Boston-based company is now trading on Nasdaq under the symbol GLUE. Monte Rosa develops precision medicines that degrade disease-causing proteins. According to the SEC filing, Cormorant owned 7.8 percent of Monte Rosa prior to the offering. Versant Ventures was the largest shareholder with a 26.2 percent stake prior to the offering. NEA owned 19.97 percent. Monte Rosa’s board includes Christine Siu, who is chief operating officer in residence at BridgeBio Pharma, Inc., and Dr. Kimberly Blackwell, who is chief medical officer of Tempus Labs, Inc. 

Elevation Oncology, meanwhile, raised $100 million by pricing 6.3 million shares at $16 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol ELEV. Based in New York, Elevation is developing monoclonal antibodies for genetically defined cancers. Lori, a managing director with Vertex, has served on Elevation’s board since July 2019. She is also on the boards of Palleon Pharmaceuticals, BlackThorn Therapeutics and Kona Medical, Inc. and an observer on the boards of Ivantis, Inc. and Moximed. Vertex owned 12.4 percent prior to the offering as did Qiming Venture Partners. Cormorant owned 12 percent as did venBio. The largest shareholder prior to the offering was Aisling Capital, which had a 16 percent stake. 

And finally, Aerovate raised $122 million by offering 8.7 million shares at $14 per share. It is trading on Nasdaq under the symbol AVTE. Based in Boston, Aerovate is focused on developing drugs that will improve the lives of patients with rare cardiopulmonary disease. Its lead product is an inhaled dry powder aerosol version of imatinib to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. The company said that an oral version of imatinib showed significant efficacy in a phase 3 trial as a disease-modifying therapy for PAH but was poorly tolerated by patients because of systemic side effects. Aerovate expects its version – which delivers medicine directly to the lungs – to decrease the systemic adverse effects.

Sofinnova, in August 2020, led Aerovate’s $72.6 Series A round which, in addition to Cormorant, included Atlas Venture, Surveyor Capital, Osage University Partners and RA Capital Management, which founded and incubated the Boston company. RA was the largest shareholder prior to the offering with a 38 percent pre-IPO stake, while Sofinnova owned 23.6 percent, Atlas had 17.8 percent and Cormorant 10.6 percent.

Maha, who joined Sofinnova in April 2019, had another portfolio company, Vera Therapeutics, go public earlier this year. Another of her companies, Gyroscope Therapeutics, Ltd., also filed to go public, but then withdrew. Maha also is on the boards of NorthSea Therapeutics B.V., Quanta Therapeutics, Inc. and Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which earlier this year was acquired by Pfizer Inc. Maha spoke during a Perspectives Webinar last year.

The other companies that Cormorant is known to have backed that have gone public this year are: 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 also has at least two companies in registration: Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc. and Erasca.

A portfolio company of ARCH Venture Partners’ Kristina Burow and Cormorant’s Bihua Chen files to go public

A company that ARCH Venture PartnersKristina Burow and Cormorant Asset Management’s Bihua Chen helped lead their firms into files to go public. Erasca is seeking to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol ERAS.

Based in San Diego, Erasca is dedicated to advancing new scientific approaches to erase cancer. The company has developed an artificial intelligence platform that was created to drive the discovery and development of a new generation of oncology drugs designed to not just treat, but cure cancer.

Cormorant and ARCH both took part in Erasca’s Series A round that included closings in late 2018 and in early 2019. In making that investment, Kristina said that she felt “confident in Erasca’s potential to make a significant impact on patient outcomes with their corporate development capabilities, cutting-edge drug discovery platform and highly capable team.” ARCH and Cormorant then led the company’s $200 million Series B round a year ago.

ARCH owns 11.2 percent of Erasca, prior to the offering while Cormorant owns 9.7 percent. City Hill, LLC is the largest shareholder with a 12.1 percent stake.

Bihua joined Erasca’s board earlier this year as did Dr. Julie Hambleton, the interim president and CEO of Arch Therapeutics, Inc. Erasca’s board also includes Val Harding, principal and advisor at Start Pharma Consulting, LLC.

Kristina is not on Erasca’s board. She is on the boards of Vividion Therapeutics, Boundless Bio, Autobahn Therapeutics, ROME Therapeutics, Boragen, AgBiome and five companies that are publicly traded: Beam Therapeutics, Gossamer Bio, Metacrine, Scholar Rock and Unity Biotechnology.

Cormorant now has at least two companies in registration. The other is Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc. It has also had at least 16 companies go public this year: Aerovate Therapeutics, Inc.; Graphite Bio, which was co-founded by Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo; Elevation Oncology; GH Research; Monte Rosa Therapeutics; 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. 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.

Braemar Energy Ventures’ Jiong Ma is CEO and president of a SPAC that files to go public

Braemar Energy Ventures’ Jiong Ma is CEO and president of a special purpose acquisition company that has filed to go public – a SPAC whose board will include Exposition Ventures founder Karen Kerr. Chavant Capital Acquisition Corp. will seek to raise $100 million by offering 10 million units at $10 per unit and trade on Nasdaq under the symbol CLAYU. Once public, Chavant will look to merge with and, in turn, bring public a private company. It will focus on businesses in the advanced manufacturing and advanced materials technology sector with enterprise values of $600 million or more.

Jiong has been with Braemar since 2008. In October, she transitioned from being a senior partner to becoming a venture partner. Her investments at Braemar include Powervation, which was acquired by ROHM Semiconductor, Ltd.; Convey Computer, which was acquired by Micron Technology, Inc.; MC10, which was acquired by Medidata; and Carbonite, which went public and was later acquired by OpenText for $1.45 billion. Jiong is currently on the board of Anavex Life Sciences Corp., which is publicly traded. She is a past speaker at both the Women’s Private Equity Summit and the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.

Karen will join Chavant’s board following the completion of the SPAC’s offering. She founded Exposition in 2019 after serving as executive managing director at GE Ventures.

Caryn Seidman Becker’s CLEAR goes public

CLEAR Secure, the secure identity company founded and led by Caryn Seidman Becker, goes public – a company that has been backed by BOND’s Mary Meeker and the Partnership Fund for New York City, whose president and CEO is Maria Gotsch. The New York-based company raised $409 million by offering 13.2 million shares at $31 a share. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol YOU.

CLEAR is perhaps best known for its check points at airports that allow members to get through security in a more-timely manner. Its network includes 38 airports, 26 sports and entertainment partners and 67 Health Pass-enabled partners.

For the 12 months ended March 31, it had $220 million in sales. Earlier this year, CLEAR raised $100 million in funding from a group which included BOND, The Partnership Fund for New York City and such other investors as Enlightened Hospitality Investments, 32 Equity, Liberty Media, LionTree Partners, Michael Jordan’s family office, Durable Capital Partners, General Atlantic and Revolution Growth. The company, according to Crunchbase, has raised $135 million in funding.

CLEAR’s board includes Kathryn A. Hollister, who previously served as the chief strategy officer of Deloitte’s global tax and legal practice.

Mary serves on the boards of Plaid, Square, Genies and Nextdoor, Inc., the social network for neighbors whose co-founders include Sarah Leary and Madison Bell. She has also supported BOND’s investments in Ironclad; Material Bank; On Running; BYJU’S; Checkr; Hipcamp, which was created by Alyssa Ravasio to enable people to find and book privately-owned campsites; and Canva, whose co-founder and CEO is Melanie Perkins. BOND closed its second fund earlier this year at $2 billion.

Jean Qing Liu’s DiDi goes public

DiDi Global, China’s largest taxi app operator whose co-founder and president is Jean Qing Liu, goes public. Known formerly as Xiaoju Kuaizhi, DiDi raised $4.4 billion by offering 316.8 million American Depository Shares at $14 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol DIDI. For the 12 months ended March 31, DiDi reported a loss of $1.7 billion on $25.6 billion in revenue. It currently operates in nearly 4,000 cities, counties and towns across 15 countries.

SoftBank was the largest shareholder prior to the offering with a 21.5 percent pre-IPO stake while Uber owned 12.8 percent and Tencent 6.8 percent.

In DiDi’s filing with the SEC, Jean and company co-founder Will Wei Cheng were credited with making the company the world’s largest mobility technology platform. Prior to joining the company, Jean was a managing director in the principal investment area at Goldman Sachs in Beijing where she was responsible for private equity investment, portfolio management and investor relationships in China.

Liza Utzschneider-led Integral Ad Science goes public

Integral Ad Science, whose CEO is Liza Utzschneider and whose board includes Vista Equity PartnersBrooke Nakatsukasa, goes public. The New York digital advertising measurement and verification platform raised $270 million by offering 15 million shares at $18 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol IAS. In addition to Vista, Integral has also received backing from Atlas Venture and Sapphire Ventures. Founded in 2009, Integral Ad produced $254 million in sales for the 12 months ended March 31.

Liza has been CEO since January 2019. She previously was chief revenue officer and senior vice president at Yahoo. Liza’s background includes executive roles with Amazon and Microsoft.

Brooke has served on Integral’s board since December 2020. She joined Vista in 2016 and is a vice president on the private equity Flagship team. She currently works with the firm’s investments in Gainsight, Inc., iCIMS, Inc., Ping Identity Holding Corp. and Zapproved, LLC.

Another member of Vista’s team, Christina Lema, joined the board just prior to the IPO. A managing director, Christina is Vista’s general counsel. In 2020, another Vista portfolio company on whose board she served, Datto Holding Corp., went public.

Integral’s board also includes Jill Putman, who is chief financial officer of Jamf Holding Corp., and Bridgette Heller, who is founder and CEO of the Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation.

LegalZoom raises $535M and goes public

LegalZoom.com, a company that Mary Meeker led former firm Kleiner Perkins into and whose board includes Francisco PartnersChristine Wang goes public. The Glendale, Calif. company raised $535 million by pricing 19.1 million shares at $28 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol LZ.

LegalZoom provides legal and compliance solutions, including ongoing compliance, tax advice and filings, trademark filings, and estate plans. It had $499 million in revenue for the 12 months ended March 31.

Christine, a principal with Francisco Partners, joined LegalZoom’s board in September 2019. She also is on the boards of Quest Software, LogMeIn and MyFitnessPal, whose CEO is Tricia Han.

In addition to Francisco and Kleiner Perkins, other investors in the company include Institutional Venture Partners and TCV. Mary left Kleiner Perkins in 2018 to form BOND.

A portfolio company of CapitalG’s Laela Sturdy goes public

CapitalG’s Laela Sturdy is positioned to have a second portfolio company go public in 2021. Duolingo, which Laela first backed in 2015, filed to raise $100 million and trade on Nasdaq under the symbol DUOL.

Based in Pittsburgh, Pa., Duolingo offers courses in 40 languages to approximately 40 million monthly active users through its mobile platform. It has been downloaded more than 500 million times and is the top-grossing app in the education category on both Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Duolingo generated $189 million in revenue for the 12 months ended Mar. 31. CapitalG owns 13.5 percent of the company. NewView Capital is the largest shareholder with a 20.1 percent pre-IPO stake. Union Square Ventures holds 14.1 percent while Kleiner Perkins has 10.3 percent.

Although she has been involved with Duolingo for the past six years, Laela did not join its board until last year. Earlier this year, another of her portfolio companies, UiPath, went public. UiPath provides software for robotic process automation. Last year, another of Laela’s companies, MultiPlan, went public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. Her investments also include Webflow, Unqork, Stripe and Gusto. Laela is a past speaker at the Women’s Private Equity Summit.

Duolingo’s board includes Amy Bohutinsky, who most recently was chief operating officer at Zillow Group, Inc.; Sara Clemens, who is chief operating officer at Twitch; and Gillian Munson, who is chief financial officer of Iora Health, Inc. and a venture partner at Union Square Ventures.

A Vicki Palmer-led SPAC files to go public

A special purpose acquisition company whose CEO is Vicki Palmer files to go public. Navigation Capital Acquisition IX is seeking to raise $150 million and list on the New York Stock Exchange. Once public, the SPAC will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. Navigation Capital is focused on business services.

Vicki is the president of The Palmer Group, a general management consulting company. She previously served as the executive vice president, finance and administration at Coca-Cola Enterprises.

The SPAC’s board will also include Johanna Ellis-Reisinger, who is co-founder of ActionECO, and Kimberly Johnson, vice president of technical operations at Nestle Professional.

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