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Sunday, May 26 Business

Cohen’s Point72 Ventures announces eight-figure investments

STAMFORD — Point72 Ventures, billionaire hedge fund investor Steven Cohen’s venture capital business, announced Tuesday it was spearheading investments totaling nearly $60 million in electronics-manufacturing and financial-technology firms.

Ventures is leading a $45 million “Series C” funding round in San Francisco-based Tempo Automation, which specializes in assembling printed circuit boards, using artificial intelligence-based robotics and software automation, for clients that include NASA, Lockheed Martin and GE Healthcare. At the same, Ventures is jointly leading $13 million in “Series B” financing for Minneapolis-based ClickSwitch, which automates changes in direct deposits and recurring payments for financial institutions’ account holders.

“Tempo is reinventing electronics manufacturing by putting software automation at the center of what they do,” Ventures partner Sri Chandrasekar and a Tempo board member, said in a statement. “Tempo’s interconnected ‘smart’ factory is modernizing the manufacturing process, which allows them to deliver a far superior customer experience. We see considerable market opportunity for Tempo, and we are pleased to support their continued growth.”

Last year, Tempo opened the 42,000-square-foot factory referenced by Chandrasekar, in San Francisco’s Design District, and released a number of software updates that it said will allow electrical engineers to significantly expedite the design, testing and roll-out of their products.

“Our customers have told us that they view our software-first approach to manufacturing as transformative for their ability to bring products to market faster,” Tempo CEO Jeff McAlvay said in a statement. “This investment will help us drive software development and accelerate the growth of our team to deliver greater benefits to our customers and advance the future of manufacturing.”

Related to the investment, Point72 Ventures head Matthew Granade will join the Tempo board.

ClickSwitch said that it will use its funding to accelerate its product “roadmap,” expand executive leadership and add more people to its software development and sales teams.

“One of the biggest pain points around opening a new bank account is switching your direct deposit, which requires paperwork and involving your HR department,” Point72 partner Tripp Shriner said in a statement. “ClickSwitch has solved a true problem for consumers and financial services providers by seamlessly enabling people to redirect their paycheck to a new bank, improving customer economics and dramatically reducing friction and increasing choice for customers.”

Last month, Ventures announced that it was co-leading an $11 million investment in Manhattan-based financial-technology firm Extend.

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Ventures was founded in May 2016, about two-and-a-half years after Cohen founded the main investment firm that he runs today, Stamford-based Point72 Asset Management. Ventures’ launch responded to the large volume of deals pitched to Cohen.

“In the U.S., there are a lot of venture capital firms, so you have to think carefully about how you differentiate yourself,” Granade said in an interview last year. “Of all the venture capital firms in the world, we probably have the best set of relationships into the financial sector of anyone.”

In total, Ventures has made more than 30 investments.

Ventures has offices at Point72 Asset Management’s headquarters at 72 Cummings Point Road, but it operates separately. Its insights, however, are shared with Asset Management.

Point72 Asset Management moved into hedge fund management last year.

In January 2016, Cohen was banned for two years from supervising hedge funds as part of a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission connected to allegations that he failed to properly monitor a former portfolio manager convicted of insider trading.

pschott@stamfordadvocate.com; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott

Paul Schott|Staff reporter

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