Raghunathan does a new deal while Dragic, Bowden, Lyandvert, Chen and del Palacio have companies acquired

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing May 17, 2021

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Raghunathan leads SGE into LiveBarn

Aneesha Raghunathan takes part in her first investment since joining Susquehanna Growth Equity earlier this year. SGE made was what described as a “significant investment” in LiveBarn, Inc., a subscription-based streaming service for amateur and youth sports. The Montreal company has grown by 40 percent over the past year and now broadcasts from more than 1,000 sports venues in the United States and Canada.

Aneesha will join some of her fellow SGE team members on LiveBarn’s board in either a director or observer capacity. Aneesha is a vice president with the Bala Cynwyd, Pa. firm. She was most recently an operator-in-residence at AlleyCorp. Her background also includes roles with TA Associates and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Founded in 2006, SGE focuses on growth stage Internet, software and information services companies. The firm has invested over $1.6 billion in more than 50 companies. It receives all of its capital from Susquehanna International Group.

Béïque-led Fonds de solidarité FTQ takes part in the acquisition of Globe Electric 

Fonds de solidarité FTQ, whose president and CEO is Janie C. Béïque, takes part in the acquisition of a Montreal developer of consumer lighting and electrical products. FTQ is teaming up with Novacap and Fondaction to acquire Globe Electric Co. Terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 1932, Globe Electric has products available in more than 40,000 retail locations across North America and online across more than 20 e-commerce channels. In a statement, Janie said FTQ is “proud” to take part in a deal that “ensures that the company remains in Quebec hands.” She added that “investing in a better society means supporting the growth of local companies and good quality jobs for Québec workers. Thanks to a culture of innovation, Globe Electric is well positioned to maintain its market leadership.”

Janie earlier this year became the first female leader of FTQ, a development capital fund that channels the savings of Quebecers into investments. She has been with the organization since 2000 in a series of leadership roles, most recently as executive vice president, investments. As of Nov. 30, the organization had 15.6 billion Canadian in net assets and more than 700,000 shareholder-savers.

A portfolio company of 83North’s Bowden and Sapphire Ventures’ Dragic is set to be acquired

A mobile security company that 83North’s Laurel Bowden and Sapphire VenturesAnnalise Dragic were involved with is set to be acquired by a publicly traded company. Wandera has agreed to be purchased by Jamf for $400 million. Based in London, Wandera raised $53.5 million, according to Crunchbase. Its investors also included Bessemer Venture Partners.

Laurel led 83North into Wandera in 2015 and was for a time on its board. A partner with 83North, Laurel has also backed such companies as Critizr, Ebury, HungryPanda, Exotec, Lenses, Paddle, SellerX, Celonis, Mirakl, BlueVine, Lendbuzz, TIS, MotorK, Wolt, Form3 and Workable.

Annalise joined Sapphire in 2020 from Atomico and was promoted earlier this year to principal. Focused on Europe and Israel, she has also worked with such firm portfolio companies as Adverity, Cazoo, Contentful, Currencycloud and Matillion.

Bowden leads 83North into  Holidu’s 37M euro round 

83North’s Laurel Bowden also checked her firm into an online travel site. 83North led Holidu’s 37 million euro round which also included existing investors Prime Ventures, Coparion, Senovo, Kees Koolen, Lios Ventures and Claret Capital.

Based in Munich, Holidu is focused on making it easy to search and book holiday rentals. The company’s search engine combines more than 15 million holiday rental offers from more than a thousand travel sites and property managers. Founded in 2014, Holidu is active in 21 countries.

In a statement, Laurel said, “holiday rentals are a very competitive market and Holidu’s growth throughout the pandemic has been highly impressive. We are attracted by their strong operating efficiency and proven ability to grow market by market.”

Laurel, a partner, has also backed such companies as Critizr, Ebury, HungryPanda, Exotec, Lenses, Paddle, SellerX, Celonis, Mirakl, BlueVine, Lendbuzz, TIS, MotorK, Wolt, Form3 and Workable.

Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Wu seeds Hidden Leaf Games

A new studio founded by gaming industry veterans scores a seed round led by Lightspeed Venture PartnersAmy Wu. Hidden Leaf Games has launched after landing $3.2 million from Lightspeed, Vermillion Ventures, Logan Margulies, Eden Chen and Alex Paley.

Based in Los Angeles, Hidden Leaf is an indie game development studio founded with the mission of delivering an experience that focuses on competition, progression and social play. The company is creating FANGS, a 3-on-3 multiplayer online battle arena, in its new studio with these funds. In a statement, Amy said the designers of the studio “challenged convention, moved fast and created a truly fun game in just months of development.”

Amy joined Lightspeed in 2019 after being CFO and senior vice president of Discovery, Inc.’s global digital division. Lightspeed is a multi-stage venture capital firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the enterprise, consumer and health sectors.

BGV’s Benhamou backs Cryptosense 

BGV’s Sarah Benhamou backs a cryptography lifecycle management platform aimed at protecting sensitive data. Cryptosense raised $4.8 million in a funding round led by Amadeus Capital Partners with participation from BGV and Elaia Partners, bringing the total funding amount to $5.6 million. The funds will be used to hire senior-level staff across the product and engineering teams, develop the company’s partner program and further expand the company’s operations across the U.S.

Paris-based Cryptosense provides visibility and insights that enable security professionals to protect against data breaches and ensure they remain compliant with the regulations in their industry. Cryptosense’s platform combines automated analysis across infrastructure and applications to provide powerful insight into how cryptography is protecting sensitive data.

In a statement, Sarah explained that the “quantum computing sector continues to evolve faster than anyone could anticipate, today’s encryption standards will soon no longer suffice. Cryptography management is a relatively new yet clearly necessary category, and we believe Cryptosense has the unique ability to solve a problem that’s becoming increasingly evident within large organizations.”

An investment of  PeakSpan Capital’s Lyandvert is being acquired by Cisco

A company that PeakSpan Capital’s Shayna Lyandvert lists among her investments and which Dafina Toncheva brought former firm Venrock into is being acquired by Cisco. The amount that Cisco is paying for Kenna Security, Inc. was not disclosed. Based in Santa Clara, Calif., Kenna is a vulnerability management platform. The company raised $98 million, according to Crunchbase. Its backers also include Costanoa Ventures, Sorenson Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Shayna, an associate, joined PeakSpan in 2019. Her portfolio also includes Cloudbeds, Ecwid, Mindtouch and Qwil.

Dafina backed Kenna during her two years at Venrock and served as an observer on the company’s board. She then joined Tugboat Ventures before joining USVP in 2012 where she is a general partner.

Weber and Francis’ Brilliant Ventures has a portfolio company set to be acquired by PayPal

Brilliant Ventures, which was founded by Kara Weber and Lizzie Francis, has a portfolio company set to be acquired by PayPal Holdings, Inc. Paypal did not say how much it intends to pay for Happy Returns, which focuses on improving the process for e-commerce returns. Happy Returns, according to Crunchbase, raised a total of $25 million from a group that also included PayPal, U.S. Venture Partners and Upfront Ventures.

Kara and Lizzie founded Los Angeles-based Brilliant in 2016 and invested until 2018. The firm’s investments included Tamara Mellon’s Tamera Mellon; Parachute Home; RevCascade; Beam Impact; Vela; Camera IQ, which was founded by Allison Wood and Sonia Tsao; and Haute Hijab, whose co-founder and CEO is Melanie Elturk.

Kara is now president of startup Brud, an investment partner with The Community Fund VC, and a venture partner with NextGen Venture Partners. Lizzie now is a partner with venture firm M13.

Ramnath-led Multiples Alternative Asset Management involved in the purchase on an animal health care business

Multiples Alternative Asset Management, whose founder and CEO is Renuka Ramnath, is leading a consortium that is buying an animal health care business. The Multiples-led group will pay nearly R3,000 crore ($450 million) for a unit of Zydus Animal Health and Investments, which is a subsidiary of Cadila Healthcare. Multiples is doing the deal with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and RARE Enterprises.

In a statement, Renuka said that Multiples looks forward to working with CPPIB and Rare “and helping the company unlock its full potential and create value for all stakeholders.” Renuka founded Multiples in 2009.

A portfolio company of M/C Partners’ Senior has made an acquisition

A portfolio company of M/C PartnersJulia Senior has made an acquisition. Carbon60, on whose board Julia sits, purchased OpsGuru. Terms were not disclosed.

Toronto-based Carbon60 is a managed cloud hosting service provider while Vancouver, BC-based OpsGuru is a multi-cloud and DevOps consultancy. The combined company will employ more than 160 people. It is Carbon60’s third investment since M/C invested in the company in 2019.

Julia, who joined Boston-based M/C in 2016, was promoted to partner earlier this year. She is also on the board of SoniqWave and is an observer on the board of Involta. She also works with Omega Partners.

M/C invests in small and mid-sized businesses in the communications and technology services sectors.

A portfolio company of Foundation Capital’s Chen and Notion’s del Palacio has been acquired

A portfolio company of Foundation Capital’s Joanne Chen and Notion’s Itxaso del Palacio has been acquired by a German company. Terms of Mya Systems’ purchase by StepStone were not disclosed.

San Francisco-based Mya is focused on automating job recruiting. The company utilizes natural language processing and machine learning techniques to automate outreach and communications with job candidates throughout the end-to-end recruiting process. It also shortlists large applicant pools and automatically schedules interviews and keeps databases engaged in order to attract candidates to open roles. StepStone, a job marketplace, will incorporate Mya’s technology into its autonomous matching platform. Mya, according to Crunchbase, raised $51.2 million.

Foundation led Mya’s $18 million Series B round in 2017 with Emergence Capital, with Joanne telling Women’s PE Briefs at the time that she saw “the upside opportunity for Mya as massive.” Joanne was on Mya’s board and is also on the boards of TubiTV, Tonkean, SafelyYou and FoxEye. She will speak at the Women’s Private Equity Summit.

Itxaso led Notion into Mya’s 2019 round. She joined the London venture firm in 2018 and has backed Forest Admin and yulife.

Chiang involved in American Securities’ purchase of Conair

Helen Chiang helps American Securities dice up a deal for Cuisinart’s owner. Terms of American Securities purchase of Conair Corp. from the founding Rizzuto family were not disclosed.

Based in Stamford, Conn., Conair produces kitchen electrics appliances, non-electric kitchenware, personal care grooming and health and beauty products. In addition to Cuisinart, its brands include Conair, Babyliss, Scunci and Waring. Founded in 1959 by Leandro Rizzuto, the company sells its products in more than 120 countries. In a statement, Helen said, “Conair’s success is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of the company’s employees. Our new partnership and extensive experience will help the team drive substantial additional growth.”

In conjunction with the purchase, Helen joined Conair’s board. She is also on the boards of Learning Care Group, Milk Specialties Global and United PF. Helen, a managing director, has been with American Securities since 2012. She has previously spoken at the Women’s Private Equity Summit.

American Securities is a sponsor of the Summit. The firm has approximately $23 billion under management and invests in companies with revenues generally ranging from $200 million to $2 billion.

A portfolio company of M12’s Steffens is set to be acquired for $850M

A portfolio company of M12 Managing Director Tamara Steffens is set to be acquired for $850 million – a company that Ariel Winton was involved with during her time at OpenView Venture Partners. Zipwhip, a business-texting startup, has agreed to be acquired by publicly traded Twilio in a deal involving cash and stock.

Zipwhip’s technology enables business landlines to receive and send text messages – thus enabling companies to text customers from landline phones, VoIP services and toll-free numbers.

Zipwhip’s board included Carol Meyers, a tech marketing veteran who last year joined Glasswing Ventures as a venture partner.

Seattle-based Zipwhip raised $91.1 million in funding from a group that in addition to OpenView and M12 included Voyager Capital and Goldman Sachs.

Tamara served as an observer on Zipwhip’s board. She joined M12 – Microsoft’s venture fund – in 2019 after being general manager of business development for Microsoft. Tamara is on the boards of Databook, Skedulo, FortressIQ, Synack, Incorta and SpyCloud and is an observer on the boards of CognitiveScale, Prevedere, PandaDoc, Huue and WorkSpan.

Ariel listed Zipwhip as part of her portfolio during her nearly five years at OpenView. She left the firm earlier this year to become a principal at True Ventures.

Chen’s Cormorant Asset Management co-leads Interius BioTherapeutics’ $76M Series A round

Cormorant Asset Management, which is led by Bihua Chen, invests in a preclinical stage gene therapy company. Cormorant and Fairmount Funds co-led Interius BioTherapeutics’ $76 million Series A round that also included Bain Capital Life Sciences, Pfizer Ventures, RA Capital Management, Longwood Fund, Logos Capital, Osage University Partners, Quan Capital and existing investors Tellus BioVentures, the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Medicine, Agent Capital, the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, Knollwood, BrightEdge, and the American Cancer Society’s impact investment fund.

Based in Philadelphia, Interius is developing what it describes as a paradigm-shifting platform for vivo cell-specific gene delivery. The company is initially focused on treating hematologic malignancies by leveraging its novel gene delivery platform to generate chimeric antigen receptor, or CAT T cells directly in vivo. This unique therapeutic approach bypasses the need for ex vivo cell manipulations and the potentially toxic pre-conditioning chemotherapy required for standard CAR T-cell treatments. Exploiting its versatile platform, Interius is also developing applications beyond immuno-oncology that address diseases not amenable to current gene therapy modalities.

Cormorant’s investments in 2021 include Tyra Biosciences, which is developing compounds targeting drug resistant cancer cells; Pyxis Oncology, which is led by Dr. Lara Sullivan and which is focused on developing therapies aimed at defeating difficult-to-treat cancers; EpimAb Biotherapeutics, Inc., which specializes in bispecific antibody development; Graphite Bio, a next-generation gene editing company whose scientific co-founders include Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo; Neurelis, Inc., which has launched an epilepsy treatment; Ventyx Biosciences, Inc., which is advancing a pipeline of immune modulators to treat inflammatory diseases and autoimmune disorders; AgomAb Therapeutics, which is developing drug candidates to modulate regenerative pathways to induce functional organ recovery in acute and chronic diseases; BlossomHill Therapeutics, Inc., an oncology company founded by Jingrong Jean Cui; FogPharma, a precision medicine company co-founded by WeiQing Zhou; DTx Pharma, Inc., which is creating RNA-based therapeutics to treat the genetic drivers of disease; Ensoma, which is developing an in vivo approach to delivering off-the-shelf genomic medicines; Verve Therapeutics, which is developing gene editing therapies to permanently reduce risk of coronary artery disease in adults; Affinivax, Inc., which is developing vaccines utilizing its Multiple Antigen Presenting System platform; Immuneering Corp., which seeking to create better medicines through insights from bioinformatics; GH Research Ireland, Ltd., which is developing a drug for treatment-resistant depression; and Icosavax, Inc., which is seeking to develop vaccines against life-threatening respiratory viruses in older adults.

Cormorant has also had at least eight companies go public in 2021: Rain Therapeutics, Inc.; VectivBio Holding; Biomea Fusion; Prometheus Biosciences, Inc.; Design Therapeutics; Edgewise Therapeutics; Pharvaris, which Anne Lesage co-founded; and Talaris Therapeutics, Inc., which was founded by Dr. Suzanne Ildstad.

The firm also has one company in registration, Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc., and 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.

Rao guides Generation Investment Management into Back Market’s $335M Series D round

Generation Investment Management’s Shalini Rao charges into a refurbished electronics marketplace. Generation took part in Back Market’s $335 million Series D round, which also included General Atlantic and existing investors Goldman Sachs Growth Equity, Aglaé Ventures, Eurazeo and daphni. The round valued Back Market at $3.2 billion.

Back Market now has nearly 5 million customers. In a statement, Shalini said, “Back Market’s transparent and trusted approach empowers consumers to change their purchasing behavior by making it easier, safer and more affordable to buy refurbished goods. We look forward to supporting Back Market as it doubles down in the US and elsewhere globally. The world generates over 50 million tonnes of electronic waste each year. Back Market offers an alternative that has the potential to radically shift unsustainable consumption patterns.”

Shalini, a director, guided Generation last year into Guideline, a provider of 401(k) plans for small businesses. Generation Investment Management is an independent, private, owner-managed partnership established in 2004 and headquartered in London, with a U.S. office in San Francisco. It was co-founded by Al Gore.

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