The Rising Tide Pilot Fund sees its first portfolio company go public

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing August 30, 2021

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The Rising Tide Pilot Fund, a $1 million-plus micro fund that was backed by 97 women in 2016, sees its first portfolio company go public – a company whose backers also include two angel groups that invest in women-led companies: Golden Seeds and Astia Angels. RenovoRx, which is developing a drug-device for treatment of solid tumors, specifically those due to pancreatic cancer, raised $17 million by offering 1.85 million shares at $9 a share. The Los Altos, Calif. company is trading on Nasdaq under the symbol RNXT.

A key reason why the Rising Tide Pilot Fund, Golden Seeds and Astia Angels originally invested is that RenovoRx’s founding CEO was Marta-Gaia Zanchi. She stepped down from that role in 2014 and stayed involved as a strategic advisor until 2018. Marta is now founder and managing partner of Nina Capital, a Barcelona, Spain venture firm.

Una Ryan, who is managing director of Golden Seeds for Silicon Valley, has served on RenovoRx’s board since 2013. “We are thrilled that this has come to pass,” Loretta McCarthy, co-CEO and managing partner with Golden Seeds, tells Women’s PE Briefs. “It is a major milestone. They are tackling a real serious health issue. We are simply thrilled it turned out well for them.” Golden Seeds, which has 310 investors, has now had two companies go public. The Lovesac Co. went public in 2018. RenovoRx’s board also includes Dr. Maky Zanganeh, who is chief operating officer of Summit Therapeutics, and K. Angela Macfarlane, who is CEO of Voyant Biotherapeutics, LLC. Others that backed RenovoRx include The Angels Forum, Halo Fund, Sand Hill Angels and Amidzad Partners.

The Rising Tide Pilot Fund was co-founded and co-managed by Next Wave Impact and Portfolia. The fund’s general partners are Alicia Robb, founder of Next Wave, and Trish Costello, CEO of Portfolia. The fund was established to enable women to invest in entrepreneurial companies for the first time or who sought to expand their investment focus. Investors put $10,000 into the fund, which was split among a series of 10 deals. RenovoRX was the Rising Tide Pilot Fund’s first investment. RenovoRx, Trish tells Women’s PE Briefs, “is extending the lives of pancreatic cancer patients from what is often a six-month death sentence to additional years of life. It’s true to our mission of posting top returns while delivering meaningful impact to the world.”

RenovoRx is the Rising Tide Pilot Fund’s second exit as OtoSense was acquired by Analog Devices in 2018. In addition to RenovoRx and OtoSense, the fund has backed such companies as Tenacity, Poshly, Sandstone Diagnostics, UnaliWear, Envoy, Parrable, Try the World and Beneath the Ink.

Another company that Portfolia, Golden Seeds and Astia backed, Tivic Health Systems, is in registration to go public. Co-founded and led by Jennifer Ernst, Tivic is a medical device company tackling chronic sinus pain.

Golden Seeds also has another company in registration, Cognition Therapeutics. Focused on developing small molecule therapeutics for Alzheimer’s and other CNS diseases, Cognition was co-founded by Susan Catalano and is led by Lisa Ricciardi.

Astia Angels, whose CEO is Sharon Vosmek, also in 2021 had another company, Alydia Health, acquired by Organon for up to $240 million. Co-founded by Jesse Becker Alexander, Alydia is focused on making childbirth safer.

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