Funding Flash: a new firm in town, and $500 million available for biotech

In case Silicon Valley’s venture pool wasn’t frothy enough for you, there’s a new VC firm in town.

PointGuard Ventures, started by VC veterans Krish Panu and Pete Thomas, announced on Thursday their new fund and first investment. The winner? Movius, an Atlanta-based company that sells wireless and landline voicemail services to telecom giants such as AT&T and Verizon. PointGuard invested $13 million into Movius, and the company said it plans to use the cash to expand its app development.

PointGuard, which opened an office on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, is also leading an investment into Deem, a San Francisco cloud and mobile commerce company that helps companies lower their cost of doing business.

The VCs said they are looking to make investments in “software, networking, and hardware” – or, most anything under the Bay Area sun – and will offer both Series A and B as well as later-stage investments for more established tech companies.

Thomas also co-founded ATA Ventures in 2004, a firm that has raised three funds with capital of $440M during the last 10 years. Panu worked as a VC and entrepreneur and founded a mobile software startup.

And just down Sand Hill Road, Sofinnova Ventures announced this week it had closed a new fund of $500 million to invest in biotech companies. The firm said most of the money will help fund later-stage clinical programs, with some investments for biotech startups.

Biotech companies are on a hot streak this year, both in terms of venture funding and big-dollar IPOs. The biotech industry was the second-largest sector for VC dollars invested during the second quarter this year, with $1.8 billion going into 122 deals, up 69 percent in dollar amount and up 7 percent in number of deals from the prior quarter. In Silicon Valley, biotech investments in the second quarter more than doubled from the first quarter, exceeding $631 million.

In the Bay Area alone, 16 health research and tech companies went public from January to June. According to Renaissance Capital, 9 of the 14 IPOs scheduled for the second half of the year are health or biotech companies.

However, a comment earlier this month from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen dealt a blow to the industry; Yellen told Congress that biotech and social media stocks were overvalued. Two days later, CareDX, a Brisbane company that had developed a test to determine the risk of rejection among heart transplant recipients, priced shares at least $5 below its IPO filing and watched its stock tank on its first day of trading Thursday.

 

 

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