Portfolio companies of Rosemary Ripley and Dr. Francine Fang go public, while Betty Hung has one portfolio company go public and another agree to merge with a SPAC

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing July 26, 2021

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A portfolio company of Vista Equity Partners’ Betty Hung is set to become publicly traded

Vista Equity PartnersBetty Hung has one portfolio company go public and another set to do so. PowerSchool Holdings, whose board includes Betty, is now traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PWSC after raising $710.5 million by pricing $39.5 million shares at $18 a share. Cvent, whose board also includes Betty, has agreed to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II, and, in turn, become public traded.

PowerSchool, based in Folsom, Calif., was acquired by Vista in 2015 from Pearson for $350 million. Founded in 1997, the company at one point was owned by Apple. In 2018, Vista merged PowerSchool with another of its portfolio companies, PeopleAdmin, and brought in Onex Corp as an investor. It serves more than 12,000 customers, including 93 of the top 100 school districts by student enrollment in the United States. PowerSchool’s board also includes Amy McIntosh, who is an independent education sector advisor.

Cvent’s merger with Dragoneer would value it at $5.3 billion and result in it raising $801 million. It would trade on Nasdaq under the symbol CVT. Vista took McLean, VA.-based Cvent private in 2016 in a $1.65 billion transaction. The private equity firm will roll over all its equity in Cvent into the publicly traded entity. The company offers software solutions for event planners and hoteliers and employs nearly 4,000 globally and has 200,000 users.

In addition to PowerSchool and Cvent, Betty also is on the boards of CentralSquare, Advanced, EAB, EagleView, Finastra, Infoblox, Pipedrive, Pluralsight, TIBCO and Xactly. A managing director, she has been with Vista since 2007 and is a past speaker at the Women’s Private Equity Summit.

A portfolio company of N*GEN’s Rosemary Ripley has gone public

A longtime portfolio company of N*GEN Managing Director Rosemary Ripley has gone public. Zevia, a maker of organic soft drinks, raised $150 million by pricing 10.7 million shares at $14 a share. It is now traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ZVIA. Zevia provides six product lines of zero calorie, zero sugar and naturally sweetened beverages in the United States and Canada.

Zevia’s board includes Amy Taylor, who just joined Zevia as president; Julie Garcia Ruehl, who is chief financial officer of Fly Leasing Limited; and Jackie Hayes, who is executive vice president and general counsel of Warner Media, LLC. Rosemary has served on Zevia’s board since February 2012.

Earlier this year, a special purpose acquisition company that Rosemary is CEO and chairman of, Better World Acquisition Corp., went public and is now focused on merging with a company in healthy living industries that benefit from strong environment, social and governance profiles.

Rosemary has been controlling shareholder of N*GEN since 2018 and leads the firm’s focus on consumer companies with differentiated products and services in food and beverage and personal and household care. Rosemary’s N*GEN portfolio also includes Revolution Foods, Enzymedica and Nlyte Software. Another of her companies, Hyla Mobile, agreed to be acquired last fall by publicly traded Assurant. Rosemary also serves on the board of Heineken N.V. Prior to joining N*GEN, Rosemary was responsible for corporate business development worldwide at Altria Group, previously Philip Morris Companies.

Rachel Haurwitz and Jennifer Doudna’s Caribou Biosciences goes public

Caribou Biosciences, Inc., a CRISPR genome editing company founded by Rachel Haurwitz and Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna, goes public. The Berkeley, Calif. company raised $304 million by pricing 19 million shares at $16 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol CRBU.

Caribou is using its CRISPR technology platform to develop genome-edited allogenic cell therapies for oncology. Its lead allogeneic CAR-T cell program is being evaluated in a Phase 1 clinical trial for patients with relapsed/refractory B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Rachel serves as president and CEO and is a member of the board as is Dr. Natalie Sacks, who is chief medical officer at Harpoon Therapeutics. Rachel is also a co-founder of Intellia Therapeutics, which Jennifer is also a founder of. Jennifer is on Caribou’s scientific advisory board. She is an investigator with Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a professor at U.C. Berkeley and won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on CRISPR. Jennifer has also helped found such other companies as Scribe Therapeutics, Inc. and Mammoth Biosciences.

Rachel, according to the filing, owned 9.33 percent of the company while Jennifer and her husband, James, owned 6.28 percent. F-Prime Capital Partners owned 9.32 percent while E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. had 8.60 percent.

Earlier this year, Caribou raised $115 million in funding from a group which included Farallon Capital Management, PFM Health Sciences, Ridgeback Capital , AbbVie Biotech Ventures, Adage Capital Management, Avego Bioscience Capital, Avidity Partners, Invus, Janus Henderson Investors, LifeSci Venture Partners, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Therapy Acceleration Program, Monashee Investment Management, LLC, Point72, Tekla Capital Management, LLC and existing investors Heritage Medical Systems, Maverick Ventures and Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund.

A company that Dr. Francine Fang led 3E Bioventures into goes public

A company that Dr. Francine Fang led 3E Bioventures into goes public – a company whose board includes Tess Cameron, principal, strategic finance at RA Capital Management. Cytek BioSciences raised $285 million by pricing 16.7 million shares at $17 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol CTKB.

Based in Fremont, Calif., Cytek provides cell analysis instruments for life science applications. As of March 31, the company had placed more than 750 instruments at more than 620 companies globally.

Cytek generated $99 million in sales for the 12 months ended March 31. Francine, a partner with 3E, guided the firm into Cytek’s Series C round in 2018 – the size of which was undisclosed. 3E, according to Cytek’s filing, owned 7.7 percent of the company prior to the offering. Northern Light Ventures, which co-led that round, owned 4.4 percent. RA Capital owned 5.6 percent.

Tess joined Cytek’s board in April. Prior to RA, she served as head of finance of Foghorn Therapeutics, Inc. and director of financial and business planning at WAVE Life Sciences, Ltd. Cytek’s board also includes Gisele Dion, who previously served as the chief accounting officer and corporate controller for Takeda Pharmaceutical, Ltd. and Shire Pharmaceuticals, LLC.

Jaxie Alt-led Stryve Foods merges with a SPAC to go public

Venture-backed Stryve Foods, LLC, whose co-CEO is Jaxie Alt, has gone public. The maker of healthy snack foods merged with a special purpose acquisition company, Andina Acquisition Corp. III, and is now traded on Nasdaq under the symbol SNAX. The transaction valued Stryve at $170 million. The Plano, Texas company raised a total of $17.6 million, according to Crunchbase. Its investors included Pendyne Capital, Meaningful Partners and Murano Group.

Jaxie is co-CEO of Stryve with Joe Oblas. She spent more than 17 years at Dr Pepper Snapple Group where she served as co-chief marketing officer, managing more than $10 billion in retail sales and more than $300 million in marketing spend.

Stryve’s product line consists of air-dried meat snack products marketed under the Stryve, Kalahari, Braaitime and Vacadillos brand names. Stryve expects to generate about $51 million in revenue in 2021.

A portfolio company of Daphne Zohar's PureTech Health and the family office of Karen Pritzker is set to become publicly traded

PureTech Health, whose founder & CEO is Daphne Zohar, and the family office of Karen Pritzker and her husband Michael Vlock, have a portfolio company set to become publicly traded – one that sought to go public six years ago. Gelesis, Inc. has agreed to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, Capstar Special Purpose Acquisition Corp., and, in turn trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GLS. The transaction would value the Boston-based company at $1.3 billion and provide it with up to $376 million in gross proceeds. The figure includes a $100 million PIPE financing that would be anchored by new and existing investors, including PureTech, the Pritzker Vlock Family Office and PIMCO. The company’s existing investors will roll their equity into the newly publicly traded company.

Gelesis has developed Plenity, which has been cleared by the FDA for weight management in adults with excess weight or obesity. The CEO of Gelesis is Yishai Zohar who is Daphne’s husband. Its board includes Jane Wildman, former CEO of Combe, Inc. Gelesis first filed to go public in 2015, but later withdrew the offering.

PureTech, a publicly traded, clinical-stage biotherapeutics company, founded Gelesis. Two other companies that PureTech also founded, Karuna Therapeutics and Vor Biopharma, are already publicly traded.

Isabelle Freidheim, Jane Park and Jennifer Carr-Smith see Athena Consumer Acquisition Corp. file to go public

Earlier this month, a special purpose acquisition company that Isabelle Freidheim chairs found a company to merge with and, in turn, bring it public. Now a new SPAC that Isabelle is chair of and that Jane Park is CEO of and Jennifer Carr-Smith is president of has filed to go public. Athena Consumer Acquisition Corp. is seeking to raise $200 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol ACAQ.U. Once public, it will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. It will target technology-enabled consumer products and services.

Isabelle was a co-founder and managing partner of Castle VC, formerly Starwood VC. Jane is founder and CEO of Tokki and founder and former CEO of Julep Beauty. Jennifer is founder and president of JCS Advisory and former CEO of Peapod.

Athena Consumer Acquisition’s board includes Doris Robinson, founder of Robinson Hill, and Kay Koplovitz, co-founder and chairman of Springboard Enterprises. Kay is also on the board of the other SPAC that Isabelle is chair of, Athena Technology Acquisition. That SPAC has agreed to combine with Heliogen, Inc., a provider of concentrated solar energy. The transaction values Heliogen at $2 billion. Athena Technology went public in March, raising $200 million. The CEO of Athena Technology is Phyllis Newhouse, while the CFO is Grace Vandercruze. In addition to Kay, its board is comprised of 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.

A portfolio company of Northpond Ventures’ Sharon Kedar files to go public

For the second time in 2021, a portfolio company of Northpond VenturesSharon Kedar has filed to go public – one which also received backing from Ironwood Capital, whose president and chief investment officer is Carolyn Galiette. IsoPlexis is seeking to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol ISO.

Based in Branford, Conn., IsoPlexis provides a single cell proteomics platform for drug development. Since its launch in 2018, the platform has been adopted by the top 15 global biopharmaceutical companies and half of the comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. IsoPlexis’ initial focus has been on developing applications for cancer immunology and cell and gene therapy, but it is now expanding its capabilities to include applications for infectious diseases, inflammatory conditions and neurological diseases.

IsoPlexis generated $12 million of revenue for the 12 months ended March 31. It raised $205 million in venture funding from a group which, in addition to Northpond and Ironwood, also included Connecticut Innovations, Danaher, BlackRock, Perceptive Advisors and Spring Mountain Capital.

Sharon was a member of Isoplexis’ board, but recently stepped off. She also stepped off the board of Codex DNA prior to its IPO earlier this year. Andrea Jackson, a colleague at Northpond, replaced her. Sharon is also on the boards of Artisan Bio, Emulate, Encodia and Hawthorne Effect, which was founded by Jodi Akin.

Sharon founded Northpond in 2018 with Dr. Michael Rubin. The firm has offices in Cambridge, Mass.; Bethesda, Md.; and San Francisco, and has more than $1 billion of committed capital.

Kim Schaefer is CEO of a SPAC that has filed to go public 

Kim Schaefer is CEO of a special purpose acquisition company that has filed to go public. Alpine Acquisition Corp. is seeking to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol REVEU. Once public, the SPAC will combine with Two Bit Circus, an experiential entertainment company, that Kim is CEO of. However, Alpine Acquisition will also look target other companies in the hotel, digital entertainment and gaming and lodging technology sectors. Prior to Two Bit Circus, Kim served as CEO of Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. The SPAC’s board also includes Alissa “Nikki” Nolan, who is principal of Nolan Consulting Services.

Olive Venture Holdings is set to merge with a SPAC and trade on the NYSE

A provider of vehicle payment and protection plan solutions that will be led by Rebecca Howard is on course to become publicly traded. Olive Venture Holdings, Inc. is merging with a special purpose acquisition company, MDH Acquisition Corp., and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol OLV. The transaction values Olive at $960 million. To be known as Olive.com, the company will consist of PayLink Direct, a vehicle payments services provider, and Olive.com, a digital vehicle protection plan platform. The combined business generated 2020 adjusted EBITDA of $35.5 million and net income of $13.5 million. The company’s backers include Fortress Investment Group and Milestone Partners, both of whom will roll their equity into the new company. Rebecca founded PayLink Direct in 2006.

A SPAC whose CEO and chairman is Jennifer Deason goes public

A special purpose acquisition company whose CEO and chairman is Jennifer Deason, a one-time executive vice president with Bain Capital, goes public. Belong Acquisition Corp. raised $150 million by offering 15 million units at $10 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol BLNGU. Belong Acquisition will seek to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. It will target high-growth tech and tech-enabled businesses.

Jennifer was, until earlier this year, chief financial officer and chief business officer of the dtx company and Flowcode. The dtx company is a holding company while Flowcode offers technology solutions to enable direct connections between consumer and brands. Previously, Jennifer was executive vice president, head of strategy and business development for Sotheby’s and CFO of the Weather Channel. Jennifer was with Bain Capital between 2008 and 2014 serving in several interim roles at portfolio companies.

Belong Acquisition’s board also includes Miyuki Matsumoto, who has been the U.S. managing partner of Aglaé Ventures; Amy Cappellazzo, who is chair of the fine art division of Sotheby’s; and Jennifer Turner, who is Sony Pictures Television’s senior vice president of scripted programming.

Verizon Ventures’ Michelle McCarthy has a portfolio company that is set to become publicly traded 

Verizon VenturesMichelle McCarthy has a portfolio company that is set to become publicly traded. AdTheorent, Inc. has agreed to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, MCAP Acquisition Corp., and, in turn, go public on Nasdaq. The transaction values the company at a $775 million enterprise value. AdTheorent has developed a digital advertising platform that uses machine learning models fueled by non-individualized statistics to drive superior campaign performance. Verizon Ventures and H.I.G. Growth Partners were AdTheorent’s main investors, according to Crunchbase. The company only raised $5.2 million.

Michelle, a managing director, has been an observer on AdTheorent’s board since 2013. She is also an observer on the boards of Origin Wireless, Inc., ShotTracker, Inc., sfara and Bug Labs.

Christy Cardenas is vice president and chief strategy officer of a SPAC that goes public

Christy Cardenas, who holds roles with venture firms Mercury Fund and Grit Ventures, is vice president and chief strategy officer of a special purpose acquisition company that goes public. Mercury Ecommerce Acquisition Corp. raised $175 million by offering 17.5 million units at $10 a unit. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol MEACU and will look to merge with a private company and, in turn, bring it public. The SPAC is focused on the e-commerce sector, specifically businesses offering SaaS products and services to enterprise customers globally.

Christy serves as head of research and data at Mercury and is a managing part with Grit. Previously, she held roles with Ecliptic Capital and First Reserve. Mercury Ecommerce’s executive team also includes Chairman Blair Garrou, who is co-founder and managing director of Mercury Fund, and Andrew White, who is a special limited partner for Mercury Fund.

The SPAC’s board includes Mia Mends, who is chief administrative officer of Sodexo North America, and Carolyn Rodz, co-founder and CEO of Hello Alice.

A portfolio company of CapitalG’s Laela Sturdy goes public

CapitalG’s Laela Sturdy has now had two portfolio companies go public in 2021. Duolingo, which Laela first backed in 2015, raised $521 million by offering 5.1 million shares at $102 a share. It is trading 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 owed 13.5 percent of the company prior to the offering. NewView Capital was the largest shareholder with a 20.1 percent pre-IPO stake. Union Square Ventures held 14.1 percent while Kleiner Perkins had 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.

Annmarie Neal is on the board of a Hellman & Friedman portfolio company that goes public

Annmarie Neal, a partner and chief talent officer at Hellman & Friedman, is on the board of a firm portfolio company that goes public. Snap One Holdings raised $249 million by offering 13.85 million shares at $18 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol SNPO.

Based in Charlotte, N.C., Snap One provides a suite of smart home products and services to professional integrators. As of March 26, integrators using the company’s remote management software platform reached approximately 345,000 active homes and businesses. Snap One booked $862 million in sales for the 12 months ended March 31.

Hellman & Friedman acquired the company – then known as SnapAV – in 2017 from General Atlantic. Annmarie joined the company’s board in January. She has been with Hellman & Friedman since 2015. Previously, Annmarie ran her own consulting firm and held the chief talent officer roles at Cisco Systems and at First Data.

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