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Editor’s Note

“Names sell papers.” That was a common refrain of one of my editors, while covering high school sports. I think it’s safe to say that he would be happy with this week’s Women’s PE Briefs, in which we mention more than 20 of the women involved with the Broadway Angels. Though, I would suggest that you check out the entity’s sharp new website to see the entire group of 31. Aside from names, we also have news on new deals involving Jodi Hubler of Lemhi Ventures, Kelly Cornelis of LaSalle Capital, Shermaine Tilley of CTI Life Sciences, and Anne Lo of Horizons Ventures, as well as details on an IPO filing for Camille Samuels of Venrock, and an exit for Beth Houghton of Palatine Private Equity. It was also a big week for sizable financings for women-led companies, including The Honest Company, founded by actress Jessica Alba.

– David G. Barry


Video Voices

Kathleen Browne_Headshot_resized
Our August Video Feature

Kathleen Browne, managing director of Wellesley College’s Investment Office, hears pitches from a number of alternative investment firms. To all who are thinking of speaking to her, she has one simple piece of advice: "Show everything, warts and all."

Tune in for the full interview.

A Falk Marques Group Publication
August 21, 2015

In the Spotlight ...

Need to quickly put together a list of Silicon Valley’s top women in technology and venture capital? A good start would be to log onto the Broadway Angels website, especially given the venture capitalists who have joined the female investment group in 2015.

The list of recent additions includes: Amy Banse, managing director and head of funds at Comcast Ventures, and senior vice president for Comcast Corp.; Karen Boezi, former CEO of Redwood Bioscience and former partner at Thomas, McNerney & Partners; Mary Jane Elmore, a general partner in seven IVP funds; Maha Ibrahim, general partner with Canaan Partners; Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures, and senior advisor to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Kate Mitchell, a partner with Scale Venture Partners; Patricia Nakache, a general partner with Trinity Ventures; Sharon Weinbar, also a partner with Scale Venture Partners; and Margit Wennmachers, a partner with Andreessen Horowitz.

They join a group that includes: Theresia Gouw, a former partner at Accel Ventures and co-founder of Aspect Ventures; Emily Melton, a partner at DFJ; Ellen Levy, managing director of Silicon Valley Connect; Jennifer Carolan, former managing director of the NewSchools Venture Fund and co-founder of Reach Capital; Wayee Chu, a founder of the NewSchools Venture Fund, and a co-founder of Reach Capital; Kim Polese, a veteran tech entrepreneur; Leslie Blodgett, former CEO of Bare Escentuals; Julia Popowitz, a former Facebook executive; Joanna Drake Earl, former chief strategy and chief operating officer of Current TV, and co-founder of Core Ventures Group; Allison Thoreson Bhusri, a former eBay executive and current angel investor; Paula Brooks, a software industry veteran; and Laurie Yoler, senior vice president of business development and president of Qualcomm Lab; as well as the founders of Broadway Angels: Sonja Hoel Perkins, a managing director in five Menlo Ventures funds; and Jennifer Fonstad, a former longtime partner at DFJ and co-founder of Aspect Ventures. All told, there are now 31 women listed as Broadway Angels.

As Broadway Angels, the women see companies and perform due diligence together, but invest as individuals. Scale’s Sharon Weinbar, who joined about six months ago, told Women’s PE Briefs, “I think a lot of us participate for similar reasons — it’s liberating to deliberate with other women AND we see interesting companies.” Sharon’s involvement in the group came out of a longtime friendship with Sonja Hoel Perkins, and a desire to see more women involved in venture capital and entrepreneurship.

Canaan’s Maha Ibrahim gave a similar explanation for her involvement, saying, “We want to make sure we are supporting female entrepreneurs and giving them access to seed capital and VC capital down the road.”

Trinity Ventures’ Patricia Nakache commented that the founding members have assembled “a truly great group of people who are highly experienced investors and operators with experience. It’s a group I knew I’d spend time with if I could.”

Sonja tells Women’s PE Briefs that Broadway Angels was created in 2010, with the aim of having “the top women in technology and venture capital working together to find the best people and the best companies.” That message, she said, has “resonated” with many of the individuals who joined the group. Sonja said that the additions have been a “gradual thing,” driven by top individuals hearing about the group and wanting to be a member.” Those wanting to join have to be nominated and, then, invited. “The caliber and quality is incredibly high,” she continued.

Sonja is quick to reiterate that the women involved in Broadway Angels invest as individuals, not as a group, and that the number of members who invest in a particular company can vary from a few to a dozen or, sometimes, more. “What we do is share deals and co-invest,” Sonja said. There are no plans, she added, to raise a dedicated fund, in part, because so many of those involved with Broadway Angels are involved with current or past venture funds.

Once upon a time, limited partners in funds frowned on the idea of their general partners spending their time on non-fund deals. But over time, the LPs have realized that it is important for their VCs to be involved in the action, and, perhaps, find deals that may later be investments for their funds.

Broadway Angels, said Scale’s Sharon, gives her a chance to “see companies that are getting ready to scale, so it’s a win, both for me and for my ‘home team,’ ScaleVP.”

It is worth noting that, at least in the case of Trinity Ventures, the firm, rather than Patricia as an individual, will invest in the deals coming out of Broadway Angels.

Six times a year the angels meet to hear from four companies that have been nominated by their members, meaning that the women in Broadway Angels have an opportunity to make at least 24 investments, should they choose to do so. But, the deals do not stop there. Often, members will bring forth investments with which they are involved. A recent case-in-point occurred when Maha let the group know that there was an opportunity to invest in one of her portfolio companies: The RealReal, whose founder and CEO is Julie Wainwright. Sonja declines to say how much the investment was, but said that between the time the investment was offered at night, and the next morning, six Broadway Angels had stepped up to do the deal.

Companies that members of the Broadway Angels have invested in include BitSight, Ditto, GridGain, UniKey, SupportPay by Ittavi,, EdSurge, Urban Sitter and Other Machine Co. One of its companies, MeeGenius, was recently acquired by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (see story in Women Investing in Women section below). Another, GemShare, was acquired earlier this year by Nextdoor.

Sonja mentioned that, because all of the investors in Broadway Angels are women, there is a misperception that the organization only backs women entrepreneurs. To date, roughly 35 to 45 percent of the companies that have received investments from the group were founded by women, meaning roughly 60 percent were founded by men. That, she said, is a byproduct of the group’s mission: “We are focused on identifying the best deals.”

Next Acts: Women on the Move

Amara Suebsaeng rejoins TA Associates as a vice president. Read more...

Women Investing in Women

Jodi Hubler, a managing director with Lemhi Ventures, helps lead the firm in backing a company that emerged from Lisa Maki’s efforts to treat a spinal injury.Read more...

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquires a company that was co-founded and led by Wandy Yeah Hoh and backed by Broadway Angels, the Silicon Valley-based angel group comprised of successful women investors and entrepreneurs. Read more...

The Dish on the Deal

LaSalle Capital Partner Kelly Cornelis helps lead the firm’s efforts to create a new foods platform, telling Women’s PE Briefs it is utilizing veteran leadership to do so. Read more of the interview with Kelly...

A portfolio company of KKR Director Brittany Bagley has made an acquisition. Read more...

Beth Houghton, an investment director with Palatine Private Equity, sees a portfolio company generate a solid return. Read more...

Getting a massage in one’s own home just got easier thanks to an investment involving The Riverside Company Senior Associate Elaine Ho. Read more...

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, whose co-founder and CEO is Lauren Leichtman, had a busy week, exiting from one investment and making another. Read more...

Niki McKenzie, an investment executive with Archangels Investors, and Kerry Sharp, who heads the Scottish Investment Bank, have a portfolio company acquired. Read more...

CTI Life Sciences Managing Partner Shermaine Tilley leads the venture firm into a company seeking to help organizations more easily access and utilize data. Read more...

Anne Lo of Horizons Ventures leads the firm in backing a company developing solutions to resolve digestive problems in babies. Read more...

Backstory: Industry Data and Analysis

New KKR Perks Designed to Attract Women Take Flight
KKR, a sponsor of the Women’s Private Equity Summit, is being progressive in helping new working mothers. Read more about the firm’s newest perks, and more, in this Bloomberg Business article.

F Cubed Article Highlights Increase in Series A Funding for Women-Founded Companies
Anu Duggal
and Claire Burke of the Female Founders Fund share some interesting data about the increase in funding for women-founded companies in New York City and San Francisco. Click here to access the F Cubed website and read their article.

TSG Tailor-Made to Disrupt Fashion Industry
Bloomberg Business delves into TSG Consumer Partners’ fashion-minded financing, which is being led by managing director Jennifer Baxter Moser and operating partner Paula Sutter. Click here to read the article.

If you have data and analysis relevant to women in the private equity industry that you would like to share, please feel free to forward it to David Barry, Editor.

Stepping Out in Public

Regenxbio, Inc., whose board includes Venrock Partner Camille Samuels, files to go public. Read more...

AHAlife Holdings, Ltd., an online curated luxury marketplace whose founder and CEO is Shauna Mei, goes public Down Under. Read more...

A private equity-backed mining company, whose CEO is Catharine Farrow, completes its initial public offering. Read more...

It's a Wrap: Fund Closures

No items this week.

If you have news about fund closures in the private equity industry, please feel free to forward it to David Barry, Editor.

Leading Ladies: Women-Run Companies in the News

The Honest Company, which actress Jessica Alba founded to sell natural, non-toxic products, secures additional capital at an impressive valuation. Read more...

A private equity firm has acquired a specialty pharmacy company whose founding partners include Catherine Cloudman. Read more...

Sue Downes sees green lights ahead, after the vision care company she founded, and leads, lands significant financing. Read more...

A company co-founded by Victoria Livschitz is acquiring another company that she founded and leads. Read more...

A private equity-backed company has acquired Insight Strategy Group, whose co-founder and co-CEO is Stacey Matthias. Read more...

Tiff’s Treats, a cookie delivery company co-founded by Tiffany Chen, has received a financial treat. Read more...

Lisa Falzone’s effort to change the way retailers handle payments and manage their business has received additional support. Read more...

Venture capitalists have provided additional financing to a startup co-founded by Madhura Maskasky that has developed a way for companies to turn their existing IT infrastructure into a private cloud. Read more...

Sprout Pharmaceuticals, whose co-founder and CEO is Cindy Whitehead, agrees to be acquired by Valent Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. — just days after receiving U.S. FDA approval for its female libido pill. Read more...

Bravo! And the Award Goes to ...

Gwill York, co-founder and managing director of Lighthouse Capital Partners, was recently elected chair of the board of trustees for the Museum of Science, Boston. She is the first woman to lead the museum’s trustees in 50 years, and only the second in its 185-year history. Gwill has been a museum trustee since 1998, and finance committee chair since 2007. The museum is Boston’s most-attended cultural institution, receiving 1.4 million visitors a year. It was founded in 1830, and was the first to embrace all the sciences under one roof.

If you have news about awards presented to women for their work in the private equity industry, please feel free to forward it to David Barry, Editor.

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