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2020: A year of innovation and resilience

January 29th 2021

On both sides of the Atlantic, the past twelve months have been marked by turbulence, upheaval and uncertainty. There are not many years in living memory where we have been forced to contend with economic recession and political unrest at once, even without a pandemic included. To say it was a year with challenges would be an understatement.

And yet, we have been fortunate at Beringea to have had many bright spots to keep our gaze focused on the positive aspects of the year that ends and our brighter future ahead. From exciting new investments to innovative initiatives forged amid the constraints of lockdown, we are proud of the resolve and leadership shown throughout our team and our portfolio.

Adapting to a world of change: how we tackled the impact of the pandemic

As the pandemic began to unfold in March, both our U.S. and U.K. offices quickly shifted to remote working. Slack and Zoom have kept our teams connected throughout 2020, and we are thankful that we have been able to work alongside one another in spite of the widespread lockdowns.

We also were able to implement changes that enabled our portfolio companies to grapple with the immense commercial and operational headwinds created by the pandemic. This included complex scenario-planning at the outbreak of the virus, as well as hosting weekly huddles for our CEOs to discuss key issues such as government funding programs and unemployment assistance.

Despite the headwinds of a global pandemic and looming economic recession, several Beringea portfolio companies moved on to a new chapter in their growth through acquisition. After an initial announcement in January 2020, the acquisition of U.S. portfolio company InTouch Health by Teladoc Health, Inc. (NYSE: TDOC) was completed in July. The more than $1 billion acquisition transforms how high-quality healthcare is accessed and experienced, making virtual care available for patients with even the most critical care needs.

The sale represented Beringea’s largest exit valuation ever, with a more than 10X return on invested capital.

In August, U.S. portfolio company Rethink announced its acquisition by K1, allowing it to continue to rapidly scale its cloud-based tools for those supporting individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities in the behavioral health, managed care, education and employer markets.  We congratulate the management teams of both InTouch Health and Rethink for their diligence and determination to finalize these significant transactions.

Welcome to the Beringea portfolio: transforming global industries and driving social change

Despite the transition to remote work, we were able to actively invest throughout 2020, expanding our portfolio and harnessing the technological, social, and economic trends that were accelerated by the pandemic.

In total, we invested $41 million over twelve months, and backed eight new companies. While these investments represent a diverse group of entrepreneurs scaling businesses in industries ranging from luxury goods to satellite communications, there were a few consistent themes.

First, we have seen the rise of companies tackling the social issues of our era. Whether it is through measuring social impact, tackling the obesity crisis, or driving sustainability in the retail industry, our founders are addressing the challenges that will shape the next decade.

Additionally, many of our portfolio additions in 2020 harnessed the technological advancements powering rapid change in manufacturing and healthcare. We expect to see more of these types of companies scale and prosper in 2021.

Our new investments announced in 2020 include:

Second Nature: Beringea U.K. led a $10 million Series A, backing a pioneer in health-tech and helping to tackle the UK’s obesity crisis through its digital weight-loss program

EDITED: our U.K. funds co-led a $29 million investment alongside Wavecrest and Hermes GPE into a leader in retail data analytics

Luxury Promise: our U.K. funds led a £3 million investment into a rapidly growing marketplace for pre-owned luxury handbags and accessories, driving the circular economy

Social Value Portal: Beringea U.K. led a £3 million investment in one of the leading platforms for measuring, monitoring and maximising social impact

Commonplace: our U.K. funds led a £3 million Series A round, backing a business that is enabling communities to actively shape the urban spaces where they live, work and play

ATLAS Space Operations: Beringea U.S. led a $5 million investment round in this Michigan-based global provider of high-quality, mission-critical unified communications services. The capital was used to further advance ATLAS’s engineering efforts in the enhancement of its software platform and the development of new products.

CreativeX: Beringea U.K. led a £2.5 million Series A round, investing in a rapidly growing platform for creative analytics, harnessing AI to enable the likes of Google, Samsung, and Unilever to understand and improve the performance of creative assets.

Micro-LAM: Beringea U.S. led a $5.5 million Series B round in this Michigan-based advanced manufacturer. Its laser-assisted diamond cutting tool systems allow CNC-machining customers to cut ultra-hard materials with extreme precision.

Accelerating growth: the resilience and innovation of our portfolio

One of the defining characteristics of the past twelve months has been the resilience of the leaders throughout our portfolio. In the face of exceptional circumstances, they have adapted, innovated and accelerated.

There are, fortunately, tailwinds provided by the pandemic which have enabled some of the technology-led businesses in our portfolio to succeed. Clearly, there have been downs to balance the ups, but we feel as though there has been a resolve to look to the future which has enabled many companies to enter 2021 with one eye on the next chapter of growth.

Some portfolio highlights this year included:

The insights and leadership of our CEOs: Our portfolio companies were able to share some of the secrets of leading and motivating their teams during a pandemic and how their business pivoted or rose to serve their community: Complion, MPB, Avid Ratings, Thread, DeepCrawl and Popular Pays.

Supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs: Beringea U.S. held a start-up business plan competition for Michigan high school students, with each submission receiving guidance and advice from our investment team, and the top two teams (CocoBright Toothpaste and Life Plastics) earning $3,500 in prize money. Congratulations, all!

A flurry of merger and acquisition activity in the U.S. portfolio: U.S. portfolio company Arrive merged with FlashParking to create the first end-to-end digital mobility platform, while U.S. portfolio company Micro-LAM acquired 603OPTX, extending R&D, prototyping and preproduction capabilities to Micro-LAM customers, and further supporting them with optional production and fabrication expertise.

Fnatic smashing through its crowdfunding target: Following a successful $10 million fundraise, Fnatic took the bold decision to enable its global fanbase to buy a stake in its future growth – the subsequent £2 million crowdfunding round, as covered by the Evening Standard, more than doubled its original target and secured the backing of more than 4,000 investors.

Prestigious recognitions: Floyd, a Detroit-based e-commerce furniture company, was named to The Lead’s power list of high-growth D2C brands that are reinventing and redefining the future of fashion, retail and consumer. ATLAS Space Operations, based in Traverse City, Michigan, was named the “fastest-growing telecommunications provider in the world” by Teleport Health and the World Teleport Association, shortly after it earned the No. 102 ranking on Inc. Magazine’s annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. 

Beringea is a transatlantic venture capital investor that seeks to create lasting success for rapidly scaling entrepreneurial companies.

With 30+ employees across offices in Detroit (U.S.) and London (UK), we provide patient and intelligent capital and a global footprint to back founders throughout their journey, helping them overcome barriers to scale and build international success stories. 

Our track record of three decades of successful investing across a wide range of sectors has inspired our own entrepreneurial ethos; cultivated an exceptional community of entrepreneurs and investors; and fostered the experience required to create substantial businesses and deliver value for shareholders in our funds. 

The diversity of background, opinion, and expertise throughout our team reflects the community of founders and companies we support and enables us to collaborate effectively with portfolio founders to capitalize on opportunities to successfully reach their goals.

For information on our U.S. investment activities, email info@beringea.com or visit https://www.beringea.com/us-funds.   In the U.K., email info@beringea.co.uk or visit https://www.beringea.com/uk-funds.

In the United States of America, Beringea operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor, Beringea, LLC.  This communication is intended solely to provide information regarding Beringea’s potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies and does not constitute an offer of investment management or investment advisory services by Beringea or any of its affiliates.