Felicis Ventures’ Treyger and Chen's Cormorant Asset Management are among those taking part in newsworthy deals this week

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing March 15, 2021

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Treyger guides Felicis Ventures into DataGrail’s $30M Series B round

Felicis VenturesVictoria Treyger invests in a company striving to help brands build customer trust and transparency – one previously backed by American Express VenturesDana Eli-Lorch; Basis Set Ventures, whose founder and managing partner is Lan Xuezhao; and Operator Collective, which is led by Mallun Yen and Leyla Seka. Felicis led DataGrail’s $30 million Series B round, which also included HubSpot, Okta, Next47 and the startup’s prior investors including Amex Ventures.

Based in San Francisco, DataGrail has created a privacy platform that enables brands to automate data subject requests, perform unified preference management and ensure accurate data discovery. The company’s customers include Dexcom, WWE, Databricks, Revolve and Overstock.

In a statement, Victoria said that "businesses are struggling to manage privacy requirements amidst increased regulation and the exponential growth in the volume of data that is shared via the growing app ecosystem." She said DataGrail's platform is “fully integrated with hundreds of widely used business systems to provide a no-code, 100 percent automated approach that dramatically simplifies privacy management for businesses. DataGrail is addressing a critical need that applies to every business across every sector and size.” In conjunction with the financing, Victoria joined DataGrail’s board.

A portfolio company of Victoria’s, Hippo Enterprises, Inc., is poised to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company Reinvent Technology Partners Z. Victoria’s investments include Nayya, Alloy, Sprout Therapy, Dovetail, Drum and SentiLink.

Felicis in 2020 closed its seventh fund at $510 million.

Berg involved in Equistone Partners Europe’s sale of Oikos Group

In January 2018, Tanja Berg participated in Equistone Partners Europe’s acquisition of Oikos Group. Now, a little over three years later, she is involved in the sale of the German provider of prefabricated houses. Terms of Equistone’s sale to a fund managed by Goldman Sachs – West Street Capital Partners VIII – were not disclosed.

Based in Schluchtern, Germany, Oikos sells products under the brand Bien-Zenker, Hanse Haus and Living Haus. It is active in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, generating 400 million euros in 2020. Oikos employs around 1,300.

Tanja, an investment director in Equistone’s Munich office, has also been involved in the firm’s purchase of Amadys NV, a provider of passive network equipment solutions; RENA, a manufacturer of machinery for wet-chemical surface treatments; and GALA Kerzen, a German candle maker. She joined Equistone in 2016 from goetzpartners.

Chen’s Cormorant takes part in Ventyx Biosciences’ $114M round and AgomAb Therapeutics’ $74M round

Cormorant Asset Management, which is led by Bihua Chen, takes part in large financings for two companies that are seeking to treat inflammatory diseases. The Boston firm took part in Ventyx Biosciences, Inc.’s $114 million financing and AgomAb Therapeutics’ $74 million Series B round.

Based in Encinitas, Calif., Ventyx is advancing a pipeline of immune modulators to treat inflammatory diseases and autoimmune disorders. Others taking part in the financing included venBio Partners, Third Point, RTW Investments, LP, Janus Henderson Investors, Wellington Management, OrbiMed, Surveyor Capital, Farallon Capital, Vivo Capital, Logos Capital, Qiming Venture Partners USA and founding investor New Science Ventures.

Ghent, Belgium-based AgomAb will use its capital to advance its lead program and support further growth of drug candidates designed to modulate regenerative pathways to induce functional organ recovery in acute and chronic diseases. In addition to Cormorant, others taking part in AgomAb’s round included Redmile Group, Advent France Biotechnology, Andera Partners, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Omnes Capital, Pontifax, and VBio Ventures.

Cormorant in 2021 has also backed such companies as Graphite Bio, a next-generation gene editing company whose scientific co-founders include Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo; Neurelis, Inc., which is focused on developing and commercializing product candidates for epilepsy; 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; Biomea Fusion, Inc., a precision oncology company, and Immuneering Corp., which seeking to create better medicines through insights from bioinformatics.

Cormorant also has at least two companies in registration to go public, Design Therapeutics and Edgewise Therapeutics, and has had at least two companies this year go public: Pharvaris, which Anne Lesage co-founded, and Prometheus Biosciences, Inc., which just went public.

Chen’s Cormorant takes part in Neurelis’ $114M Series D round

Cormorant Asset Management, which is led by Bihua Chen, backed a company that has launched an epilepsy treatment – a company whose board includes HBM PartnersPriyanka Belawat. Cormorant took part in Neurelis, Inc.’s $114 million Series D round, which also included Decheng Capital and existing investors HBM and LYZZ Capital.

The San Diego company is focused on developing and commercializing product candidates for epilepsy and the broader central nervous system market. In January 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s lead product, VALTOCO, as an acute treatment of intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity that are distinct from an individual’s usual seizure pattern in adult and pediatric patients 6 years of age and older. Neurelis is also developing treatments for panic attacks and symptoms associated with schizophrenia and bipolar 1 mania. The company will use the capital to enhance the growth and commercial penetration of its lead orphan drug candidate and continue development and expansion of its neuroscience pipeline.

Cormorant in 2021 has also backed such companies as Graphite Bio, a next-generation gene editing company whose scientific co-founders include Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo; 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; Biomea Fusion, Inc., a precision oncology company; and Immuneering Corp., which seeking to create better medicines through insights from bioinformatics.

Cormorant also has at least two companies in registration to go public, Design Therapeutics and Edgewise Therapeutics, and has had at least two companies this year go public: Pharvaris, which Anne Lesage co-founded, and Prometheus Biosciences, Inc., which just went public.

Dickinson’s District Ventures Capital invests in Vertiball

District Ventures Capital, which was founded by Arlene Dickinson, provides capital to the developer of personal muscular care device that treats muscle tension and back pain. The amount invested by District in Vertiball was not disclosed.

Based in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Vertiball utilizes trigger point therapy to treat tension and back pain through suction cup technology and the 360 degree movement of a rotating precision ball. The deal originated from a pitch on Season 15 of “Dragons’ Den”, a Canadian TV show, which like the “Shark Tank” show in the United States, features entrepreneurs seeking capital. Arlene has been a regular participant on the show.

In a statement, Arlene said, “at one point in our lives, we’ve all felt the unfortunate effects of muscle and back pain – and Vertiball brings to market an effective, portable tool to treat this common ailment. We are impressed not only with the innovative product that Vertiball has created, but with the sheer passion behind the concept and its development.”

District’s 2021 investments include Outcast Foods, which diverts food waste from landfills and turns discarded fruits and vegetables into sustainable food products, and Lower Valley Beverage Co., an organic sparking tree water company co-founded by Nancy Chapman.

District, a consumer-goods focused firm, in 2020 closed its debut fund at 100 million Canadian. Arlene founded Calgary, Alberta-based District in 2015.

Malik helps plug Partners Group into one of the Baltics’ largest heating platforms

Shreya Malik, a senior vice president on Partners Group’s infrastructure team, helps plug the firm into a one of the largest district heating platforms in the Baltics. Terms of Partners’ acquisition of the platform from Fortum Corp. were not disclosed.

The acquired entity operates across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and has 74 generation assets, which generate a heat capacity of 881 megawatts and power capacity of 130 megawatts across 387 kilometers of district heating networks. The platform’s fuel is largely derived from renewable or recycled sources, mainly biomass. Partners said it will work with the management team on a value creation platform that will seek to transform the company from a portfolio of attractive district heating assets into an independent customer-centric residential and industrial energy solutions provider.

In a statement, Shreya said, “We think this investment opportunity operates in an industry with high barriers to entry, offers strong infrastructure characteristics, such as stable, visible cash flows, and faces limited concession renewal risk. Our thematic research shows that the district heating market benefits from secular tailwinds as the technology remains the most efficient and sustainable solution to providing heating and cooling, which are the largest uses of energy in Europe."

Shreya has been with Partners since 2011.

Van Pelt leads Intel Capital into  Centrical’s $32M round

Intel Capital’s Trina Van Pelt leads the chipmaker’s venture arm into the developer of an employee-centric success platform. Intel Capital took part in Centrical’s $32 million round that also included C4 Ventures, Citi Ventures and existing investors JVP, Aleph, CE Ventures, La Maison Compagnie d’Investissment and 2B Angels.

Centrical utilizes advanced gamification, personalized microlearning and real-time employee performance management to help companies motivate employees. Its customers include Microsoft, British Telecom, Novartis and Synchrony Financial. The company has offices in London, New York and Ra'anana, Israel and will use the capital to accelerate market engagement, enter new markets and create additional solutions attuned to the needs of organizations and their employees. Centrical experienced a six times growth in its usage by customer employees during 2020.

In a statement, Trina said Intel Capital invested in Centrical “because we believe the company's innovative augmented people intelligence platform addresses the needs of companies and employees operating in today's global, hybrid workplace. Through on-going innovation and expansion of its employee-centric success platform, Centrical can disrupt many of the world's largest enterprises and help drive successful business outcomes."

Trina is a vice president and senior managing director. In 2020, she helped lead Intel Capital into Gro Intelligence, an agricultural data analytics company whose co-founders include CEO Sara Menker and chief operating officer Sewit Ahderom. Trina is on the boards of Mighty Networks, GoodData and CognitiveScale and is an observer on the board of Moovit.

During its 30 years of existence, Intel Capital has invested $13.3 billion in nearly 1,600 companies.

Icertis adds PSP Partners’ Pritzker to its board after Series F fundraising round

Penny Pritzker, founder and chairman of PSP Partners, joins Icertis’ board after one of the firm’s affiliates re-invests in the contract intelligence company. PSP Growth took part in Icertis’s $80 million Series F round along with B Capital Group, Greycroft, Meritech Capital Partners, Premji Invest and e.ventures. The Bellevue, Wash. company is now valued at more than $2.8 billion.

Icertis will use the funding to accelerate its AI and blockchain development, expand its sales and marketing footprint and build out its global partner network. In a statement, Penny said she has a “deep appreciation for how Icertis is addressing a critical business priority – contract intelligence.” She said being exposed to the Icertis advisory board during the past several years “has reinforced to me Icertis’ market leadership in a massive and growing global market, as well as its stellar team of smart, dedicated leaders who possess an enduring commitment to strong values and building a great culture.”

PSP first backed Icertis during the company’s 2018 $50 million Series D round.

In addition to Penny, Icertis also added Karyn Smith, general counsel of Twilio, Inc., to the board.

Penny founded PSP after serving as U.S. Commerce Secretary under President Obama.

A portfolio company of McRock Capital’s Rockley has been acquired

A portfolio company of McRock Capital’s Whitney Rockley has been acquired. Serious Integrated, Inc. was acquired by e2ip Technologies. Terms were not disclosed, but as part of the acquisition McRock has taken a minority ownership position in e2ip.

Based in Chandler, Ariz., Serious enables original equipment manufacturers to transform their products into smarter, highly-connected digital age devices. The company provides industrial, medical and commercial touch screen human-machine interface-industrial Internet of Things solutions. e2iP is a Montreal-based human machine interface and smart surface solutions provider. McRock invested in Serious in 2016 with Whitney and her McRock co-founder Scott MacDonald joining the board.

Serious Integrated is the fourth company that McRock has had acquired. In 2019, Decisive Farming was acquired by Telus and Mnubo, Inc. was purchased by Aspen Technology, Inc. In 2018, RtTech Software was acquired by AspenTech.

Whitney in 2020 led her firm into Clearpath Robotics, a maker of autonomous robots. Her investments also include Praemo, which is focused on optimizing industrial operations; Miovision, a developer of smart traffic intersection technology and mobile and cloud-based software tools; and Invixium, a maker of biometric security products.

McRock last year said its second fund reached 112 million Canadian. McRock invests in companies in Canada, the United States and Europe that are combining next generation data analytics through artificial intelligence with the data from field devices, machines and equipment in industrial and urban environments.

Gao leads Sapphire Ventures into SafeGraph’s $45M Series B round

Sapphire VenturesCathy Gao backs a company focused on being the source of truth for data on physical places. Sapphire led SafeGraph’s $45 million Series B round, which also included DNX Ventures, Alex Rosen and Peter Thiel.

Based in Denver, SafeGraph provides geospatial data that has helped organizations over the past year understand how local landscapes are changing and how this impacted behaviors such as travel, leisure and shopping. During 2020, SafeGraph saw its year-over-year revenue double. It also created a community of more than 7,000 data scientists. The company’s customers include Ares Management, Sysco and Choice Hotels.

In a statement, Cathy said, "what stands out about SafeGraph is how they've been able to quickly position themselves into a major player in the geospatial data industry. By singularly focusing on providing the highest-quality places data to data science teams, they've earned the trust of some of the largest public and private institutions. The efficient growth to-date is a strong indicator of where we think the company is going.”

Cathy was promoted earlier this year to partner at Sapphire. In 2020, she worked on the firm’s investments in CircleCI, Gorgias, Medable, Moveworks and UJET.

Gosher oversees Insight Partners’ investment in Clarify Health

Insight PartnersHilary Gosher oversees the firm’s investment in an analytics company delivering insights to health care organizations. Insight led Clarify Health’s $115 million Series C round, which also included Spark Capital, Concord Health Partners, HWVP, KKR, Rivas Capital and Sigmas Group.

Based in San Francisco, Clarify has created a data set that links government and commercial claims, electronic health records, prescription and social and behavioral data on more than 300 million unique patient lives. The company’s platform features a set of applications that enable health care organizations to drive growth, optimize networks, improve care delivery, manage population health, maximize value-based care performance and bring therapies to market.

In a statement, Hilary said that Clarify “brings to life the latent potential of deep health care analytics through its ability to quickly answer critical questions about patient journeys, clinical outcomes, and care coordination. The platform’s unique methods of enriching and sequencing health care data in the cloud, coupled with extensive machine learning, leads to precise insights at an unprecedented scale. We believe that Clarify has a huge opportunity to maximize the intersection of patient, clinical, and financial outcomes.”

In conjunction with the financing, Hilary joined Clarify’s board. A company on whose board Hilary has sat, Hustle, recently agreed to be acquired by HubSpot. In 2020, another company on whose board she sat, Freshly, Inc., was purchased by Nestle in what could end up being more than $1 billion. Her portfolio also includes Delivery Hero. A managing director with Insight, Hilary is a past speaker at the Women’s Private Equity Summit and the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.

Insight in 2020 raised its largest ever fund, closing on $9.5 billion.

Quark Venture’s Avnur joins the board of Variantyx after GHS leads Variantyx’s Series C financing

Quark Venture LP’s Zafrira Avnur joins the board of Variantyx after the Global Health Sciences Fund – established by Quark and GF Securities – invests in the high complexity hereditary disease testing company. GHS led Variantyx’s $20 million round, which also included IBM Ventures and current investors Pitango Venture Capital, New Era Capital Partners and 20/20 HealthCare Partners.

Based in Boston, Variantyx has developed an advanced genetic testing method to diagnose rare inherited and neurological disorders. The company’s system examines the entire genome that provides physicians with insights into current and future medical puzzles related to genetics. Variantyx will use the capital to expand its testing into oncology.

In a statement, Karimah Es Sabar, Quark’s CEO, said, “there is a significant unmet medical need in tumor diagnostics that Variantyx will address by providing a rapid personalized approach for each patient that will support medical professionals and greatly augment patients’ wellbeing.”

Zafrira also recently joined the board of CalciMedica, Inc. after GHS and Quark invested in the developer of treatments for severe acute and chronic inflammatory diseases whose CEO is A. Rachel Leheny. Zafrira, who is Quark’s chief scientific officer, is also on the boards of EnClear Therapies, Volastra Therapeutics, Inc., Raziel Therapeutics, Lyndra Therapeutics, Pi Therapeutics and PhysIQ.

Thielen leads SRIW into ExeVir Bio’s 42M euros Series A round

Caroline Thielen, an investment manager at SRIW, leads the firm into a company developing therapies against viral infections that UCB Ventures head Erica Whittaker and V-Bio Ventures Partner Katja Rosenkranz backed last year. SRIW joined UCB and V-Bio in ExeVir Bio’s 42 million euros Series A round that also included Fund+, SFPI-FPIM, Noshaq, Vives, IUF and SambrInvest. UCB and V-Bio had been among those who helped ExeVir Bio raise an initial 22.7 million euros in Series A financing last summer.

ExeVir Bio was spun out of VIB, the Belgium-based life sciences research institute. ExeVir Bio is harnessing its Llama-derived antibody technology platform to generate robust antiviral therapies that will protect against viruses. The company’s approach allows for it to be used as both a therapeutic and prophylactic. In a statement, Caroline said SRIW is “very excited to invest in an innovative project with such a high societal impact.”

In conjunction with the financing, Caroline joined ExeVir Bio’s board, which also includes Erica. Katja is a board observer.

 

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