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VC Daily: How Tia Uses Telehealth to Prep Bricks-and-Mortar Expansion

Good day. Blending virtual and in-person healthcare is becoming more popular among patients. It's also making for far better business models, says Carolyn Witte, co-founder and chief executive of Tia Inc., which operates a network of clinics for women. Tia announced a $100 million Series B financing led by Lone Pine Capital today.

The company has been using telehealth as a means to explore and prime new markets for its future physical locations, Ms. Witte says.

Before opening a new clinic in Los Angeles this year, for example, Tia signed up hundreds of customers locally for its telehealth services. About 70% of its L.A. members have had a virtual visit by the time the clinic opened, Ms. Witte says. That allowed Tia to generate demand and revenue while collecting building permits and coping with the rest of the slog that opening a new health facility requires.

"Brick and mortar is slow. It's expensive, and it's slow," Ms. Witte says, adding the process of getting a clinic off the ground can take nine to 12 months. "It's a huge barrier to growth," she adds.

Yet, Tia needs to operate such locations because they are key to the care it provides -- the company offers primary care, gynecology, acupuncture and mental health services. "You can't get your blood drawn on the Internet, you can't get an [intrauterine device] on the internet, " Ms. Witte says.

Today, Tia has clinics in New York and L.A. Its Phoenix-area clinic is due to open in November. Meantime, local customers can sign up for virtual care. It also plans to launch telehealth for San Francisco customers this year, ahead of opening a clinic in the city in 2022.

And now on to the news...

Top News

Healthcare venture fund. Lightstone Ventures has raised $375 million for its largest venture-capital fund, a pool that will enable it to place bigger bets on biotechnology and medical-technology startups, WSJ Pro's Brian Gormley reports.

Lightstone beat its $350 million fundraising goal. Several Lightstone portfolio companies have gone public or been acquired, which helped the firm attract investors. They include cancer drugmaker ALX Oncology Holdings Inc., which went public in 2020, and neurology-focused biotech Disarm Therapeutics Inc., purchased by Eli Lilly & Co. last year.

Neurological diseases are one area of focus because of the need for new drugs and promising startups the team is seeing.

Lightstone's new vehicle is one of several healthcare venture-capital funds closed this year. Other medical investors raising new funds recently include Vida Ventures and venBio.

'We believe that's where the opportunity is, to take on those hard diseases.'

-- Jason Lettmann, general partner at Lightstone Ventures, which has focused on neurological diseases

Pre-IPO Marketplace Forge Global to Go Public in $2 Billion SPAC Deal

Forge Global Inc., an online marketplace for buying and selling shares of private firms, plans to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company, The Wall Street Journal's Alexander Osipovich reports. The deal with Motive Capital Corp. values the resulting company at $2 billion, the companies said. If completed, the transaction would make Forge the first dedicated trading platform for private shares to become a public company. Trading in private shares has heated up in recent years as startups have waited longer to hold initial public offerings. Such trading allows employees to cash out of their shares and lets some investors get early access to potentially fast-growing technology startups.

SpaceX Seeks Next Space Milestone With Launch This Week

Elon Musk's SpaceX is aiming to cement its position as a leading space enterprise with a mission this week that seeks to deliver four civilians to orbit for several days and then return them to Earth, WSJ reports. The Inspiration4 flight, which could launch as soon as Wednesday, is a more ambitious and technically difficult one than those conducted over the summer by space companies founded by Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, according to industry executives and consultants. It is the first taking only commercial astronauts, or those flying without government backing, to orbit, SpaceX has said.

Why Rivian's Electric R1T Pickup (And Its IPO) Are Making Waves

Electric-truck maker Rivian plans to go public in the fall and is seeking a valuation in the tens of billions. But why are investors excited for this IPO and what makes their offering different from other EV startups? WSJ's George Downs explains.

Industry News


San Francisco-based Piva Capital, which invests in sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, chemicals, transportation and energy, appointed Mark Gudiksen as managing partner and Roxanne Tully as an investor. Mr. Gudiksen was most recently a co-founder and partner of Circularis Partners. Before Piva, Ms. Tully spent four years with BioLite.

H1 Inc., which provides a database of healthcare professionals to drug and medtech companies, added Karen Moran as chief financial officer and Mayur Thakur as chief data officer. Ms. Moran was most recently senior vice president of strategic finance at Alteryx. Mr. Thakur was previously head of surveillance engineering at Goldman Sachs. Last year, New York-based H1 raised a $58 million Series B round led by IVP and Menlo Ventures.

Life insurance startup Ethos promoted Vipul Sharma to chief technology officer and named co-founder Lingke Wang to the post of president. Mr. Sharma previously held engineering leadership positions at Indeed and Eventbrite. Ethos has raised over $400 million to date from Softbank Vision Fund 2, Sequoia Capital, Accel, GV, General Catalyst, Jay-Z's Roc Nation and others.

Alternative protein producer Calysta Inc. appointed Keysha Bailey as chief financial officer. She was most recently CFO at Rocketship Education. San Mateo, Calif.-based Calysta is backed by investors including BP Ventures.


Cyber-exposure company Tenable Inc. agreed to purchase Accurics Inc., which delivers cloud-native security to both DevOps and security teams, for about $160 million in cash. Pleasanton, Calif.-based Accurics is backed by Intel Capital and ClearSky.

United Parcel Service Inc. is buying Roadie Inc., a platform that uses gig workers to deliver items from retailers and other shippers quickly, according to The Wall Street Journal. Terms weren't disclosed. In 2019, Roadie raised a $37 million funding round from investors including Home Depot Inc. and TomorrowVentures.

New Money

SpotOn, a San Francisco startup offering payments software for restaurants and retail businesses, grabbed $300 million in Series E funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, increasing the company's valuation to $3.15 billion. Returning backers including DST Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Franklin Templeton and Mubadala Investment Co. also contributed to the round, along with new investors Wellington Management and Coatue Management. The new funding will be used to acquire Appetize, a digital and mobile commerce platform for enterprise businesses including sports and entertainment venues, theme parks, zoos and college campuses. Appetize is backed by investors including Elysian Park Ventures, Shamrock Capital Advisors and Silicon Valley Bank.

BitSight, a Boston-based cybersecurity startup, received a $250 million investment from Moody's Corp. The company also agreed to acquire VisibleRisk, a cyber risk ratings joint venture created by Moody's and Team8, a global venture group. Terms of the purchase weren't disclosed. BitSight previously raised funding from investors including Warburg Pincus, Menlo Ventures, GGV Capital and Singtel Innov8.

Papaya Global, a Tel Aviv-based payroll and payment management platform, scored $250 million in Series D funding, bringing the company's valuation to $3.7 billion. Insight Partners led the round, which included participation from Tiger Global Management, Greenoaks Capital, IVP, Scale Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Alkeon Capital, Workday Ventures, Access Industries and Group 11.

SellersFunding, a financial platform helping ecommerce sellers to grow and scale their businesses, secured $166.5 million in equity and debt funding. Northzone led the round, which included additional support from Endeavor Catalyst and Fasanara Capital. The company has offices in New York, London and Weston, Fla.

JumpCloud Inc., a Louisville, Colo.-based cloud directory platform, raised $159 million in Series F funding led by Sapphire Ventures. New investors Owl Rock Capital, Whale Rock Capital, Sands Capital and Endeavor Catalyst also contributed to the round, along with existing backers General Atlantic, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and H.I.G. Growth Partners. The new investment triples JumpCloud's valuation to $2.56 billion since the company's Series E round early this year.

Commercetools, a Munich-based enterprise commerce technology provider, picked up $140 million in Series C financing. Lead investor Accel was joined by Insight Partners and REWE Group in the round.

Copado, a DevOps platform, raised $140 million in Series C funding, bringing the company's valuation up to nearly $1.2 billion. Insight Partners led the investment, which included participation from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Declaration Partners, DG Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, ISAI Cap Venture, Lead Edge Capital, Perpetual Investors and IBM Ventures.

Pacaso, a San Francisco-based real estate platform that helps people buy and co-own a second home, scored a $125 million Series C round, giving the company a valuation of $1.5 billion. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the funding, which included participation from Fifth Wall, Greycroft, Global Founders Capital, Crosscut, 75 & Sunny Ventures and Gaingels.

Grow Credit Inc., a Santa Monica, Calif.-based credit building service, secured more than $90 million in seed funding, which included debt financing. Investors in the round included Mucker Capital and Commerce Ventures.

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

September 14, 2021 09:00 ET (13:00 GMT)

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