Shakir, Wojcicki, Ying and Gopinath among those involved in new investments this week
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing April 5, 2021
Lux Capital’s Shakir and 23andMe’s Wojcicki dial into SteadyMD’s $25M Series B round
Lux Capital’s Deena Shakir and 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki dial into a telehealth company. Lux led SteadyMD’s $25 million Series B round, which in addition to Anne also included Sound Ventures, Draper Associates and Acrew Capital.
Based in St. Louis, SteadyMD offers individuals and families unlimited, direct access to a primary care physician uniquely matched to their health and lifestyle. In a statement, Deena said, “I have witnessed the transformation of virtual care over the last decade — as an operator and now as an investor — and I could not be more excited about the potential of telehealth to transform how care is delivered, research is conducted, and ultimately how health equity and health justice are achieved. The industry has only begun to scratch the surface, and the pressures of the pandemic have propelled telehealth into permanence.”
In conjunction with the financing, Deena joined SteadyMD’s board. A partner, Deena has also invested in Neo.Tax, which helps startups secure R&D research credits from the federal government; Mos, which is seeking to make college more affordable; and Shiru, which leverages computational design to create enhanced proteins. She also is an observer on the board of RDMD, a data platform for rare disease drug development.
Deena joined Lux in 2019 from GV where she was a partner. Lux is currently investing out of a $500 million early-stage fund and a $550 million growth stage fund. Both funds were raised in 2019.
Graham and McGrath involved in Riverside’s investment in Cerdant
The Riverside Company’s Nancy Graham and Caitlin McGrath are involved in yet another add-on acquisition for the firm’s Logically platform. Terms of Riverside’s investment in Cerdant were not disclosed.
Cerdant is a provider of outsourced managed security services. Logically provides comprehensive outsourced IT and security services. Cerdant is the fourth add-on that Riverside has done for Logically over the past four months.
Nancy, an associate, and Caitlin, an analyst, were involved earlier this year in one of those add-ons: Personal Computer Resources. In 2020, Nancy also took part in two other add-ons for Logically: IQ Technology Solutions, Inc. and Carolinas IT, Inc. In addition, she participated earlier this year in an add-on acquisition for the firm’s Buildout, Inc. platform.
Caitlin, who joined Riverside last year, has also taken part in add-on investments for the firm’s fire and life safety platform.
Xiao Schadeck leads Northzone into Gro’s $7.1M round
Northzone’s Wendy Xiao Schadeck seeds a company striving to make decentralized finance more accessible. Northzone participated in Gro’s $7.1 million round that also included Galaxy Digital, Framework Ventures, Variant, Nascent and A.Capital.
Based in London, Gro is out to provide the tools that users need to create wealth through the combination of decentralized and legacy finance. Users are able to digitalize their capital to gain a yield from emerging financial services without cryptocurrency volatility.
In a statement to Crunchbase News, Wendy said that the company’s CEO, Hannes Graah, “is a seasoned operator who knows, upside down, the consumer financial apps ecosystem and has a clarity of vision and deep knowledge of the crypto-native community needed to build a leader in the space.”
Wendy, who joined Northzone in 2015, was promoted to partner earlier this year. Her portfolio includes Spring Health, Livepeer, 3Box Labs and OpenZepplin.
Ying leads ClearVue Partners into self-driving truck developer Plus
ClearVue Partners’ Kathleen Ying drives her firm into a provider of self-driving truck technology. ClearVue and FountainVest Partners co-led Plus’s $220 million round, which also included participation from Quanta Computer, Inc., Phi Zoyi Capital, Millennium Technology Value Partners and existing investors Sequoia Capital China, SAIC Capital and Full Truck Alliance.
Based in Cupertino, Calif., Plus is in the final stages of certifying its autonomous driving solution for commercial operation in China. Mass production of automated trucks jointly developed with FAW, the world’s largest heavy truck maker, is set to start this summer. Plus will use the funds to expand its global operation and commercial deployment across the United States, China, Europe and other parts of Asia.
In a statement, Kathleen said that “autonomous driving is going to revolutionize the world, across consumer and commercial applications,” and that ClearVue is “confident in Plus and its ability to deliver, and excited to help accelerate its growth plans.”
Kathleen, a partner with the private equity firm, has also invested in Ping An Good Doctor, Uxin, Changing Edu, Akasakatei, Intercos and Yao Wang. Kathleen joined ClearVue in 2013 from Far East Horizon.
Nextech’s McCracken and Chen’s Cormorant invest in Tyra Biosciences
Nextech Invest’s Melissa McCracken and Cormorant Asset Management, which is led by Bihua Chen, invest in a portfolio company of Canaan Partners’ Nina Kjellson that is focused on developing compounds targeting drug resistant cancer cells. Nextech Invest led Tyra Biosciences’ $106 million Series B round, which in addition to Cormorant also included BVF Partners, Janus Henderson Investors, Logos and returning investors Canaan, Alta Partners, RA Capital Management and Boxer Capital of Tavistock Group. The new round comes a little over a year after Canaan led Tyra’s $50 million Series A round – a round which saw Nina join the company’s board.
Based in Carlsbad, Calif., Tyra is looking to discover and develop new small molecule therapies targeting acquired resistance in oncology. The company is seeking to address a major issue in fighting cancer: the fact that patients often become drug resistant to targeted therapies. It will use the new capital to accelerate and expand its in-house drug discovery platform and advance its pipeline of novel, small molecule therapies into the clinic.
In a statement, Melissa said that Tyra “has assembled a dynamic and experienced team that is bringing unprecedented speed, clarity and focus to structure-based drug discovery through purposeful process optimization and prioritization of real-world, empirical data.” In conjunction with the financing, Melissa joined Tyra’s board. Also on the board is Gilla Kaplan, who was formerly at the Gates Foundation, Rockefeller University and Celgene.
A principal with Nextech, Melissa is an observer on the board of IconOVir Bio. She joined Nextech from Third Rock Ventures in 2019.
Cormorant’s investments in 2021 include 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; Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc., an oncology company; 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; and Immuneering Corp., which seeking to create better medicines through insights from bioinformatics.
Cormorant also has at least four companies go public in 2021: Design Therapeutics; Edgewise Therapeutics; Pharvaris, which Anne Lesage co-founded; and Prometheus Biosciences, Inc., which just went public. It has at least two other companies in registration to go public: VectivBio Holding and Biomea Fusion.
Maguire guides Sandbox Industries’ Blue Venture Fund into CirrusMD’s $20M Series C round
Sandbox Industries’ Kelsey Maguire guides the firm’s Blue Venture Fund into a provider of on-demand virtual care services. The fund – which is supported by 35 Blue Cross & Blue Shield organizations – led CirrusMD’s $20 million Series C round, which also included 7wireVentures, Drive Capital and the Colorado Impact Fund.
Based in Denver, CirrusMD has created a text-first virtual care platform that enables consumers to connect with a provider when they wish to do so. The company’s platform enables patients to connect with a board-certified physician in less than a minute. In a statement, Kelsey said, “the last year has highlighted the importance of enabling fast, efficient communication between patients and providers, and CirrusMD has proven its ability to provide a solution that connects eligible members with a licensed doctor 24/7."
Kelsey helps manages Blue Venture’s investments in PWNHealth, Abacus, emids, Ideal Option, Lumiata and axialHealthcare. She joined Chicago-based Sandbox in 2019 from Collective Health and was promoted earlier this year to managing director. She is part of the health care team that manages the Blue Venture Fund.
Sandbox Industries connects corporate strategic investors with the innovators/ entrepreneurs working to disrupt and change areas of critical importance. In addition to health care, Sandbox also has funds focused on insurtech and food and agriculture.
de Baubigny joins the board of Otrium after BOND co-leads $120M Series C round
BOND Partner Juliet de Baubigny joins the board of Otrium after the growth-stage firm invests in the Dutch online fashion marketplace. BOND and Index Ventures led Otrium’s $120 million Series C round, which also included Eight Road Ventures.
Amsterdam-based Otrium’s site features hundreds of designers who are selling last seasons’ collections. Among the 300 stores on the site are Karl Lagerfeld, Anine Bing, Belstaff and ASICS. Otrium currently has 3 million members and operates in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and Germany. The company will use the capital to accelerate U.S. expansion and develop its technology platform. In a statement, Juliet said she believes the platform “is well-positioned to bring dynamic and affordable solutions to the apparel market.”
Juliet is also involved with BOND’s investments in Brex, Cockroach Labs, FabFitFun, Omio, Revolut and Spotahome. BOND recently closed its second fund at $2 billion. Juliet and other members of Kleiner Perkins’ Digital Growth Fund – including Mary Meeker – formed BOND in 2018.
Lynx Equity Limited acquires Yding Gruppen
Ashley Manis, vice president of M&A Scandinavia at Lynx Equity Limited, will be looking for her newest company to clean up – literally. Terms of Lynx’s acquisition of Yding Gruppen A/S were not disclosed.
Based in Jutland, Denmark, Yding is a commercial cleaning company offering a wide range of cleaning and sanitization services to office, retail and residential customers. It has been in business for 40 years and has more than 100 employees. Lynx will look for Yding to work with another Danish cleaning company that it acquired in 2017, PartnerService ApS. In a statement, Ashley said that Yding has “a fantastic reputation in the industry” and that “we look forward to getting our hands dirty together for many years to come.”
Ashley began working with Lynx in 2012 and is involved in sourcing and analyzing acquisition opportunities across Northern Europe. Lynx is a Toronto-based diversified private equity firm focused on acquiring small and medium-sized businesses from owners looking to retire. Lynx targets acquisitions of companies with EBITDA between $750k – $2.5M and utilizes a buy and hold strategy.
Blehle oversees Ambina Partners’ sale of Washify
Ambina Partners’ Christine Blehle oversees the private equity firm’s sale of portfolio company Washify to a private equity-backed company. Terms of Washify’s purchase by DRB Systems were not disclosed.
Based in West Roxbury, Mass., Washify is a provider of point-of-sale and marketing software for car washes. During Ambina’s five years of ownership, Washify’s revenue increased by 22 times on a purely organic basis. DRB is a portfolio company of New Mountain Capital and provides point-of-sale and wash optimization software, hardware and services to the car wash industry.
In a statement, Christine said that “it been a privilege to support Washify in its exceptional growth journey and work hand in hand with a driven, innovative and industrious team to build an outstanding company with a leading product suite and market position.” Christine, a partner with Ambina, served on Washify’s board. She joined Ambina in 2016 from XPV Partners.
Wright’s Hull Street Energy is set to acquire another power generation station
Hull Street Energy, whose founder and managing partner is Sarah Wright, is set to acquire yet another power generation station. Terms of Hull Street’s purchase of a Waterbury, Conn. facility from a subsidiary of ENGIE North America were not disclosed. The facility provides 96 megawatts of natural gas power generation capacity.
Upon closing, Hull Street will own 53 power generation stations providing more than 1,000 megawatts of renewable, gas-fired and dual-fueled generation capacity to support grid operations throughout the United States. Hull Street acquired 32 hydroelectric facilities in 2020 from EGPNA Renewable Energy Partners, a joint venture between Enel Green Power North America and GE Energy Financial Services.
The firm in 2019 closed its first institutional fund with more than $500 million of capital commitments.
Sarah is a past speaker at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit. Prior to Hull Street, Sarah helped establish Energy Capital Partners. Her background also includes serving in the senior management team of Constellation Power Source, which she helped develop while at Goldman Sachs.
Ward leads Gresham House Ventures’ investment in Metrion Biosciences
Gresham House Ventures’ Maya Ward leads the firm’s investment in a contract research organization. Gresham House invested 2.25 million pounds in Metrion Biosciences’ 2.75-million-pound round.
Metrion provides drug discovery services to the global pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Specifically, the company focuses on ion channel biology and works with life science companies to assess the activity of new compounds on human ion channels associated with disease as well as to screen potential new drugs for off-target effects. Metrion will use the capital to increase its capacity through enlarged laboratory facilities and specialist equipment.
In a statement, Maya said Metrion is “providing a high specialist service into a structurally growing market.” She added that the company “commands an impressive reputation in the ion channel contract research space.”
Maya, an associate director, is joining Metrion’s board. In 2020, she was involved in Gresham House’s investment in eConsult Health, a digital consultation provider. Maya joined Gresham House in 2019 after four years at Octopus Investments where she invested in real estate-backed health care companies and entrepreneurs.
Gopinath guides B Capital Group into Phenom’s $100M Series D round
B Capital Group’s Rashmi Gopinath guides her firm into a company whose aim is help a billion people find the right job. B Capital led Phenom’s $100 million Series D round, which also included Dragoneer Investment Group, OMERS Growth Equity and Golden Arc Capital.
Based in Ambler, Penn., Phenom is an AI-powered talent experience platform. Its platform is used by more than 400 companies to find the right candidates, including Southwest Airlines, Newell Brands, Land O’Lakes and AXA.
In a statement, Rashmi said that Phenom “keeps their customers several steps ahead of a workforce in rapid transformation and well-positioned to win the battle for attracting and retaining top talent. With artificial intelligence and a modern, data-driven approach, Phenom’s TXM platform enables hundreds of enterprises to bridge the gap between people, processes and systems.”
Rashmi, a general partner joined B Capital in 2020 from M12, Microsoft’s venture arm. At B Capital, she has taken part in the firm’s investments in Synack and Armory.
B Capital in 2020 closed its second fund at $820 million to invest in growth-stage startups. The firm was founded in 2014 by Raj Ganguly and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
Miller’s CureDuchenne Ventures invests in Entrada Therapeutics
CureDuchenne Ventures, whose CEO is Debra Miller, invests in a company focused on using intracellular biologics to transform the treatment of devasting diseases – a company whose board includes Carole Nuechterlein, head of the Roche Venture Fund. CureDuchenne Ventures took part in Entrada Therapeutics, Inc.’s $116 million Series B round, which also included Wellington Management Company, Redmile Group, TCG Crossover, Greenspring Associates, Point72, Qatar Investment Authority, Moore Strategic Ventures, Goldman Sachs and such existing investors as Roche Venture Fund, 5AM Ventures, MPM Capital, MRL Ventures Fund and Agent Capital, whose founder and managing partner is Geeta Vemuri.
Boston-based Entrada will use the capital to advance its diverse pipeline to the clinic. Included in this pipeline are several of Entrada’s oligonucleotide programs for the treatment of multiple neuromuscular diseases, led by Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In addition, Entrada is applying its proprietary Endosomal Escape Vehicle (EEV)TM platform to expand beyond neuromuscular diseases into additional therapeutic areas.
CureDuchenne Ventures recently had a portfolio company – Edgewise Therapeutics – go public. In 2020 another of its companies, Avidity Biosciences, Inc., also went public. Its investments also include PepGen, which is developing treatments for severe neuromuscular diseases and is led by Caroline Godfrey, who is CEO.
CureDuchenne is a nonprofit focused on a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne is a devastating muscle disease that impacts young boys, most of whom end up in wheelchairs by age 12 and do not live beyond their mid-20s. There are some 15,000 such individuals in the United States and an estimated 300,000 globally who have the disease for which there is no current cure. Debra and her husband, Paul Miller, co-founded CureDuchenne in 2003 after their only son was diagnosed with the disease. The organization is supported through philanthropy.
Archangels seeds BioCaptiva
Archangels, whose head of new investments is director Sarah Hardy, seeds a Scottish company that is developing a device to enable earlier detection and monitoring of difficult-to-detect cancers. Archangels, an Edinburgh, Scotland-based angel syndicate, and Scottish Enterprise provided 1 million pounds to BioCaptiva.
BioCaptiva was spun-out of the University of Edinburgh. Its device captures circulating free DNA from the blood of patients in much greater quantities than the current standard of a single blood draw – a current and significant limitation of cancer liquid biopsy testing. The device has the potential to detect early-stage cancers in patients without the need for a surgical biopsy.
In a statement, Sarah said BioCaptiva “has the potential to provide pharma companies and clinicians with high levels of (circulating free DNA) from individual patients that could revolutionize the way some cancers are detected. This has the potential to vastly increase the sensitivity and applicability of liquid biopsy for detection of cancerous tumors which are often diagnosed too late to enable specific treatment options to improve outcomes.”