Thompson-led Amphista Therapeutics, Pulicharam's Harmonize Health, Nielsen's Secureframe and Gill's OZiva all raise new rounds

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing March 22, 2021

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Harvey's QoC Health has been acquired by Logibec

Venture-backed QoC Health, whose CEO and co-founder is Sarah Harvey, has been acquired by one of Canada’s largest health care technology companies. Terms of QoC Health’s purchase by Logibec, Inc. were not disclosed.

Based in Toronto, QoC focuses on improving access to care by connecting patients at home with their care team through mobile and web solutions. The company’s platform allows health care organizations to rapidly deploy patient-centered solutions across many different settings, from primary care and acute care to rehabilitation and chronic care. QoC has been backed by Epic Capital Management, Bayshore HealthCare and private investors. Sarah founded QoC with John Semple and Randy Ostojic.

Montreal-based Logibec deploys information systems that span the clinical, operational and business needs of complex health care organizations. Logibec is a portfolio company of Novacap and Investissement Quebec.

Amphista Therapeutics raises a $53M Series B round

A year after closing its $7.5 million Series A round, Amphista Therapeutics, which is led by Nicola Thompson, has raised a significantly larger Series B round. The Glasgow, Scotland oncology company secured $53 million from Forbion, Gilde Healthcare, Novartis Venture Fund, Eli Lilly and Co. and existing investors BioMotiv and Advent Life Sciences.

Amphista is creating cancer therapeutics that harness the body’s natural processes to selectively and efficiently degrade and remove disease-causing proteins. The company was spun-out of the University of Dundee.

Nicola was previously vice president and global head of external drug discovery at F. Hoffman-La Roche, Ltd. Her background also includes senior roles with CSK’s Centre of Excellence for External Drug Discovery, VirionHealth and Syntaxin, Ltd.

Pulicharam's Harmonize Health raises $10M in Series A funding

Investors provide capital to a company co-founded by Dr. Riya Pulicharam that has created a remote monitoring and care platform to help medical organizations better serve high-risk patients. Harmonize Health raised $10 million in Series A funding from Launchpad Digital Health, Stanford University, Gaingels and existing investors Trinity Ventures and Liquid 2 Ventures.

Based in San Francisco, Harmonize is focused on a large segment of the population. There are more than 40 million Americans over 65 years old with chronic illnesses, including Type 2 diabetes, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, depression and COPD. People falling into this population are hospitalized at nearly three times the rate of adults 45 to 65. Hospital visits, however, often exacerbate their health challenges, leaving them with an increased risk of subsequent hospitalization or discharge to assisted living and skilled care facilities.

Harmonize works to provide comprehensive high-risk elderly care. Patients use Harmonize-provided devices to measure their vitals from home, and the Harmonize app on their mobile device wirelessly captures and transmits them to their provider. Harmonize's AI-powered platform alerts medical staff at the provider organization of patients who are likely to require attention. This enables doctors to quickly and confidently make medical decisions when necessary, helping keep more patients safe and stable, at home, and away from the ER. Riya, who is president, founded the company in 2019 with Kevin Zhao.

Cerra sells JoJé Bar to RoadRunner Holdings

JoJé Bar Founder Jess Cerra sells the maker of energy bars to a private equity-backed company. Terms of JoJé Bar’s sale to RoadRunner Holdings, LLC were not disclosed.

Jess started JoJé Bar in 2016 with a mission to create a line of energy bars baked with real-food ingredients that strikes the perfect balance of taste and nutrition. As part of the transaction, Jess will become vice president of product and community development for RoadRunner, which is creating a portfolio of athlete-focused active nutrition brands.

Backed by American Pacific Group, RoadRunner also owns SaltStick, which makes electrolyte products that provide the right balance of ingredients that perfectly replace the electrolytes that athletes lose.

Nielsen's Secureframe raises $18M in Series A funding

Secureframe, a security compliance startup co-founded by Natasja Nielsen, raises Series A funding. The company landed $18 million from Kleiner Perkins, Gradient Ventures and Base10 Partners, according to TechCrunch.

Secureframe helps businesses maintain two important cybersecurity certifications: SOC 2 and ISO 27001. Natasja, who is the chief technology officer, founded the company with Shrav Mehta in early 2020.

ENEOS Holdings makes an $8M investment in Ubiquitous Energy

An Asian energy company provides capital to a solar energy technology company whose CEO is Susan Stone. ENEOS Holdings made an $8 million investment in Ubiquitous Energy. The capital represents an initial close of UE’s Series B round.

Based in Redwood City, Calif., UE is focused on developing new ways to reduce humanity’s carbon footprint by seamlessly integrating solar technology into everyday products and surfaces, without aesthetic compromises. The company was originally spun-out of MIT. Susan served on UE’s board before becoming CEO. She founded and led Sierra Wasatch Capital, an early-stage venture firm.

Investors seed Morgan's Even

Investors seed a company co-founded and led by Sarah Morgan that has developed a solution for medication-induced nutrient depletions. Even raised $1.5 million in seed funding from Align Ventures, Spring Street Group and GAN Ventures.

Based in Denver, Even produces what it says is the first commercially available nutrition repletion therapy. It has products currently aimed at providing those who are on birth control, antidepressants and statins with the nutrients that such medications may deplete. It is thought that negative symptoms from these medications – like nausea, fatigue, mood swings, headaches, weight gain and breakouts – may be the result of depleted nutrients. Even is available via subscription for qualifying users on a monthly or quarterly basis, starting at $35. Sarah founded the company with Grant Hosking.

NewSpring Capital invests in Blo Blow Dry Bar

A blow dry bar franchise led by Vanessa Yakobson is set to style after receiving private equity support. The amount invested by NewSpring Capital in Blo Blow Dry Bar was not disclosed. The investment is the first by NewSpring’s newest strategy: NewSpring Franchise.

Specializing in blow outs as well as other signature hair and makeup services, Blo currently operates more than 100 units with more in development across the United States and Canada. It was founded in 2007. In a statement, Vanessa said that “with this partnership, we are positioned for major expansion in both existing and new markets, while we make strategic investments to bolster our brand and systems.”

Wosskow and Jones' AllBright acquires Driskill's EvolveHer

AllBright, which was founded by Debbie Wosskow and Anna Jones to support women at all stages of their careers, acquires EvolveHer, a digital hub founded and led by Alicia Driskill. Terms were not disclosed, but AllBright said it was an asset-based deal and that Alicia will oversee its U.S. growth from Chicago. AllBright said the deal will help it build out its existing network, which launched with the opening of a brick-and-mortar club in Los Angeles in 2019.

Alicia launched EvolveHer in 2018 after pivoting from a two-decade career in entertainment and media. Over the past three and a half years, the company hosted more than 750 events. AllBright, which was founded in 2017, is global careers network for women. In addition to Los Angeles, it has two physical clubs in London. The company launched a digital community in 2020. Debbie is the former CEO of Love Home Swap, which was sold for $53 million in 2017 to Wyndham Destination Networks. Anna is the former CEO of Hearst Magazine, UK.

AllBright also recently acquired The Grace Tales, an Australian female lifestyle platform. It is also set to expand into India and Canada. AllBright has received $42 million in three rounds of funding from Cain International. The London-based company has also received support from angels, including Gail Mandel and Stephanie Daily Smith.

Gill's OZiva raises $12M in Series B funding 

Investors sprinkle additional capital on an Indian plant-based nutrition brand co-founded by Aarti Gill. OZiva raised $12 million in Series B funding from Eight Roads Ventures, F-Prime Capital and existing investor Matrix Partners India. Last June, the company raised a $5 million Series A round led by Matrix Partners India.

OZiva has a portfolio of plant-based products and also offers diet and fitness recommendations, nutritional and fitness content and community-based events. The company will use the capital to build out its team, enter new product categories and scale its technology platform to provide more value-added services. Aarti founded OZiva in 2016 with Mihir Gadani. The two had previously co-founded FitCircle.

Evok Innovations invests $20M in Allonnia

Allonnia, LLC, a bioremediation company led by Nicole Richards, secures additional capital. Evok Innovations, a cleantech-focused investment firm, put $20 million into the Boston company. Allonnia will also acquire the assets of Metabolik Technologies, an Evok portfolio company that develops efficient and scalable bioremediation technologies.

Last fall, Allonnia launched with $40 million in Series A funding from a group that included Ginkgo Bioworks, Battelle Memorial Institute, General Atlantic, Cascade Investment and Viking Global Investors. Nicole became CEO of the company at around that same time. She had most recently been growth, strategy and M&A director – water solutions at DuPont.

Allonnia is engineering enzymes and microbes to degrade environmental contaminants. It will tackle some of the most pressing waste pollution challenges, including industrial wastewater treatment, soil remediation and solid waste management and upcycling. One of its first areas of focus will be on per- and poly-fluorinated compounds, known as forever chemicals.

de los Pinos’ Aura Biosciences secures $80M in financing

Investors have put additional capital behind Elisabet de los Pinos’ effort to develop therapies for rare cancers. Aura Biosciences, which Elisabet founded and runs as CEO, secured $80 million in financing from Matrix Capital Management, Surveyor Capital, Rock Springs Capital, Adage Capital Management LP and existing investors Medicxi, Advent Life Sciences, Arix Bioscience, Columbus Venture Partners, Chiesi Ventures, Ysios Capital and Lundbeckfonden Ventures. The round comes two years after Aura raised $40 million in funding.

The Cambridge, Mass. company will use the capital to support a pivotal program for its lead asset as a first line treatment of choroidal melanoma. Choroidal melanoma is a rare and aggressive type of eye cancer. Aura’s platform is based on viral nanoparticles, which harness the potential of a unique cell targeting for the treatment of cancer. The company will also use the capital to expand its virus-like drug conjugate platform in additional ocular oncology indications and solid tumors.

Prior to founding Aura, Elisabet worked at Eli Lilly’s Oncology Business Unit where she was part of the leadership team responsible for Alimta’s market launch in Europe, a new drug for the treatment of lung cancer.

Blackstone Growth and Atairos invest in Sainsbury's GeoComply Solutions

Ten years after Anna Sainsbury founded GeoComply Solutions, Inc., the Vancouver, BC cybersecurity company has taken its first institutional capital. The amount invested by Blackstone Growth and Atairos was not disclosed.

GeoComply provides compliance-grade geolocation data which helps companies to make better risk-based decisions. Its customers include Amazon Video, BBC, Roku, Draft Kings, Akamai, FanDuel and MGM. GeoComply will use the capital to grow in its core markets and accelerate expansion in new verticals.

Anna, who is now chairman, said in a statement that the company has received “countless investment enquiries over the past years but was in the fortunate position to wait until the right opportunity came along.” She said that the company’s mission “is to empower the future of digital trust” and with the new investors “we are taking a material leap forward to make it a reality.” Anna’s husband, David Briggs, serves as CEO.

Nordic Capital invests 450M euros in LEO Pharma

Nordic Capital make a sizable investment in a Danish dermatology-focused company whose CEO and president is Catherine Mazzacco. Nordic, a global health care private equity firm, will invest 450 million euros in LEO Pharma and will, according to LEO, become an active minority investor. The LEO Foundation will remain the company’s majority owner.

Based in Copenhagen, LEO Pharma is focused on becoming a global leader in medical dermatology by 2030 through expansion of its branded topical dermatology franchise. Founded in 1908, the company has 6,000 employees and serves 93 million patients in more than 130 countries.

Catherine become CEO in August 2019, replacing Gitte Aabo. Catherine’s background includes being head of global commercial operations for GE Healthcare’s BioPharma division and serving in leadership roles at Abbott.

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