Rachel Geller and Marian Nakada leads their firms into new investments

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing August 9, 2021

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Rachel Geller leads Insight Partners into LawVu’s $11.8M Series A round

Having already helped lead Insight Partners into investments in Germany and Australia in 2021, Rachel Geller has now backed a company in New Zealand. Insight led LawVu’s 17 million New Zealand ($11.8 million U.S.) Series A round that also included AirTree Ventures.

Based in Tauranga, New Zealand, LawVu has developed a platform for corporate in-house legal teams. Companies using it include Expedia, PwC and Instacart. The company will use the capital to, among other things, hire key leadership roles in the United States to drive global go-to-market and open U.S. offices.

In a statement, Rachel said, LawVu’s “global growth speaks volumes to its future as a business and ability to provide high-value outcomes to legal teams. Its combination of intuitive user experience and excellent customer feedback make LawVu a standout in the legal tech industry.”

In conjunction with the financing, Rachel joined LawVu’s board. Earlier this year, Rachel helped guide Insight into Choco, a Berlin, Germany company that has created a digital ordering workflow and communication tool for restaurants and suppliers, and Employment Hero, a Sydney company that automates human resources, payroll and benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises. A managing director, Rachel joined Insight in 2008. Her current investments also include Jedox, BlueOcean, QuotaPath, Conga, Udemy, Sift, Caremerge, FloQast, Ritual and YOOBIC.

Founded in 1995, Insight has raised more than $30 billion in capital commitments and invested in more than 400 companies globally.

Marian Nakada leads Johnson & Johnson’s venture arm into Iterative Scopes’ $30M Series A round

Marian Nakada leads Johnson & Johnson’s venture arm into a company seeking to bring cutting-edge precision medicine to gastroenterology. Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. took part in Iterative Scopes’ $30 million Series A round, which also included Obvious Ventures, Eli Lilly, Breyer Capital and Seae Ventures.

Based in Cambridge, Mass., Iterative Scopes will use the capital to further develop its core algorithm innovations and advance its growing life sciences businesses. The company was founded in 2017 as a spin-out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The initial products and services offered by Iterative Scopes aim to improve and standardize insights from endoscopic videos used for detection and monitoring of colorectal cancers and inflammatory bowel disease. Longer term, the company is building predictive models that can augment clinical trial endpoints and individualized therapeutic selection processes, with the potential to create novel endpoints that are better predictors of therapeutic response and disease outcomes. To do this, it is creating longitudinal patient datasets based on the aggregation of endoscopic data and genomic, molecular and phenotypic information from electronic health records, registries and other sources.

Marian, a vice president, also has led Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC into ONL Therapeutics, Inc.; Aetion, a health care technology company whose CEO is Carolyn Magill; CoStim Pharmaceuticals; Padlock Therapeutics; Navitor Pharmaceuticals; Artizan Biosciences, Inc.; Ribon Therapeutics, whose CEO and president is Victoria Richon; and Twentyeight-Seven Therapeutics, whose founding president and CEO is longtime VC Kazumi Shiosaki. Marian is a past speaker at both the Women’s Private Equity Summit and Women’s Alternative Investment Summit and spoke at this year’s Virtual Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.

QED Investors’ Laura Bock invests in Wildfire Systems

QED InvestorsLaura Bock sparks a funding round for Wildfire Systems, Inc., a financial technology platform that powers reward and loyalty programs. QED and TTV co-led Wildfire’s $15 million Series A round, which also included B Capital, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Daher Capital and existing investors Mucker Capital, Bonfire Ventures, Moonshots Capital and BAM Ventures.

Based in Solana Beach, Calif., Wildfire provides an enterprise platform which enables partners to embed social commerce, reward and cashback offerings within their existing services. Wildfire’s patented suite of technologies rewards online shopping and harnesses digital word-of-mouth, delivering enhanced user experiences, consumer loyalty and new revenue streams for partners.

In a statement, Laura said, “Wildfire makes it possible for any financial institution to monetize and reward users’ organic shopping across desktop and mobile, making it one of the game-changers driving financial services innovation, and the perfect organization to join our portfolio.”

Previously this year, Laura took part in QED’s investments in Trellis Technologies, Inc. and Spinwheel. Based in Alexandria, Va., QED has invested in more than 120 companies since its founding in 2007.

Gurnet Point’s Sophie Kornowski and JAZZ Venture Partners’ Meghan Reynolds provide capital Mahana Therapeutics

Gurnet Point Capital’s Sophie Kornowski and JAZZ Venture PartnersMeghan Reynolds provide capital to a company that will launch the first FDA-cleared prescription digital therapeutic for irritable bowel syndrome. Gurnet and JAZZ led Mahana Therapeutics’ $61 million Series B round, which also included Main Street Advisors, KKCG and Lux Capital.

Based in San Francisco, Mahana is focused on developing prescription digital therapeutics to empower patients with chronic health conditions. Its lead product is an FDA-cleared, prescription-only digital therapeutic device that is indicated as a three-month treatment providing cognitive behavioral therapy to adults with IBS through an app. The product helps IBS patients learn to change their behaviors and thoughts in ways that empower them to lessen the severity of symptoms. In conjunction with the financing, both Sophie and Meghan joined Mahana’s board.

Sophie, a senior partner, joined Gurnet Point in 2018. Her investments include Naveris, Inc., which is dedicated to improving patient care through early detection of virus-related cancers, and Alladapt Immunotherapeutics, Inc., which is developing prescription therapeutics to address food allergies that was co-founded by Dr. Kari Nadeau and Ashley Dombkowski.

Meghan joined JAZZ last year and is an observer on the board of Woebot Health, which was founded by Alison Darcy and has created a mental health chatbot.

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