New funding for Amazon seller tech, digital fashion, 3PL robotics
Dealboard has the latest from Bundle x Joy, Kering Eyewear, Blank Street Coffee and more.
Dealboard has the latest from Bundle x Joy, Kering Eyewear, Blank Street Coffee and more.
Welcome to Dealboard. In this weekly feature, The Current is providing a look at the mergers, acquisitions and venture capital deals making waves in ecommerce, CPG and retail.
This week, brands including Leesa Sleep, Bundle x Joy and Khaite raised funding for retail expansion. Plus, there’s new funding for self-serve Amazon advertising, digital fashion and automated ecommerce logistics.
Here’s a look at the latest deals:
DressX, a digital fashion marketplace, raised $15 million in a Series A round.
The round was led by Greenfield Capital, with participation from Slow Ventures, Warner Music Group, Red DAO and other investors.
DressX is a multi-brand retailer of digital fashion items that are used to outfit avatars in gaming, social media and the metaverse. The company will use the funding to make upgrades to its app and NFT marketplace, as well as grow its community and partner with other platforms.
“Fashion has always been a core part of someone‘s identity and a way to express yourself. As we spend more and more time in virtual environments, this will equally translate beyond the physical sphere and NFTs and blockchain technology will enable true digital ownership to elevate one’s identity,” said Jascha Samadi, founding partner at Greenfield, in a statement. “We are very excited to see how this space will evolve over the next 5-10 years and we believe DRESSX will be at the forefront of shaping and driving change."
Autonomous logistics and AI company Nimble Roboticsraised $65 million in a Series B round.
Cedar Pine led the financing, with participation from existing investors including DNS Capital, GSR Ventures and Breyer Capital.
Led by a team of former Amazon executives, Nimble Robotics will put the funding toward building a network of autonomous 3PL fulfillment centers. The robotics-filled centers are designed to autonomously pick, pack and ship ecommerce orders. The company said it will be able to reduce warehouse size by 75%, and provide coverage of more than 96% of the U.S. population.
Bundle x Joy, a petcare subscription company, raised $1 million in new seed funding, TechCrunch reported.
The funding round was led by Leap Venture Studio, with additional backing from Mars Petcare Companion Fund, R/GA Ventures, Michelson Found Animals Foundation and Cloyes Ventures.
With the funding, the company plans to double its retail footprint from a current 450 stores. TechCrunch described the company’s digital customer acquisition model this way:
From a nutrition perspective, Bundle x Joy curates its boxes from 15 products and a proprietary “Pup Quiz” for customers to assess what products to offer and the personality of their dog. In fact, the company assigns fun personalities to each pet, including “Golden,” “Vibrant” and “Brave.”
In addition, the quiz enables the company to output the right bundle for the pet, including formulation, size and frequency of food and supplements, based on the specific needs of the pet.
Blank Street Coffee, which provides delivery from automated microcafes, raised $20 million in new funding, Fast Company reports.
The round included participation from Left Lane Capital, HOF Capital, General Catalyst and Tiger Global.
After expanding to more than 40 locations, the company is exploring a subscription program that will provide beverages every two hours, as well as the addition of breakfast.
Tyson Ventures, the VC arm of food giant Tyson, invested in Athian, a carbon credit marketplace focused on the livestock industry.
Participants in the financing also included Elanco Animal Health Incorporate and Newtrient LLC.
This funding will help propel the company toward the launch of a transactional carbon credit inset platform. This is designed to provide financial incentive to livestock farmers who engage in sustainable practices. In particular, the program aggregates, validates and certifies greenhouse gas reductions, then monetizes them through the sale of carbon credits. The idea is that farmers can earn revenue to fund the implementation of more programs.
"Our vision is to be the platform that enables the livestock industry to meet its sustainability goals by empowering producers to implement on-farm practice changes that will move the needle on climate change,” said Athian CEO Paul Myer, in a statement.
Mayan, which makes a platform providing optimization and automation for Amazon sellers, raised $5 million in a Series A funding round.
Bright Pixel led the financing, which comes in addition to a $2 million seed round from Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital, Alumni Ventures Group, ESAS Ventures and Alarko Ventures.
With the financing, Mayan is planning to launch a self-service platform for Amazon advertising, as well as an analytics and forecasting suite. It will also begin work in areas of Amazon selling such as inventory and working capital.
Khaite, a New York fashion brand, raised new funding from private equity firm Stripes. According to Vogue Business, the brand is planning to use the funding to fuel expansion in retail, with an aim of opening 10 stores in the next five years.
Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Leesa Sleep, a direct-to-consumer bed-in-a-box brand, was acquired by 3Z Brands, a distributor of sleep products.
With the acquisition, Leesa will remain a standalone brand, joining Helix Sleep, Brooklyn Bedding, Birch, Bear Mattress and Nolah.
"Leesa is an exceptional company built on the pillars of delivering better sleep for customers and creating a positive impact in communities,” said 3Z CEO John Merwin, in a statement. “With its advanced design expertise and high-quality products, we're looking forward to supporting Leesa's continued growth with our best-in-class manufacturing expertise and digital capabilities. This addition marks our third acquisition within the last year, demonstrating 3Z's commitment to building a leading DTC platform that meets each customer's tailored sleeping needs.”
Kering Eyewear acquired 100% of UNT, Usinage & Nouvelles Technologies, a French manufacturer of high-precision metal and mechanical components for the luxury eyewear sector.
It’s the latest move by Kering Eyewear to control its own supply chain. UNT is based in the Jura region, which is known historically as the focal point of the French eyewear industry.
"Being a long-term, high-quality supplier of Manufacture Kering Eyewear, this new acquisition represents the opportunity to create an integrated luxury eyewear platform with best-in-class manufacturing capabilities, facilities and talents, in addition to supporting and further elevating the Jura district,” said Kering Eyewear President and CEO Roberto Vedovotto.
Still, plans to buy big-ticket items ticked up.
Those were a couple of the words used to describe consumer confidence in May. The Conference Board reported that the index fell to a six-month low amid debt ceiling anxiety and increasing concerns about employment.
“Consumer confidence declined in May as consumers’ view of current conditions became somewhat less upbeat while their expectations remained gloomy,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economics at the Conference Board, in a statement. “...While consumer confidence has fallen across all age and income categories over the past three months, May’s decline reflects a particularly notable worsening in the outlook among consumers over 55 years of age.”
The dip among those over 55 came as Congress negotiated a deal over increasing the debt ceiling that included talk of cuts to programs such as social security and Medicare. While officials reached an agreement over Memorial Day weekend, the Conference Board’s survey was fielded prior to that date.
The job picture appears to be more anecdotally cloudy, as the number of consumers reporting jobs as “plentiful” fell to four percentage points to 43.5%. The job market has been consistently robust for nearly three years, as unemployment remains near historic lows. In April, the economy added 253,000 jobs, which remained a positive sign despite being below the gains of prior months. The confidence reading comes ahead of fresh data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.
Despite the declines, there were signs that consumers are not completely pulling back on big-ticket items. Plans to buy big-ticket items such as cars and appliances ticked up on a monthly basis. It’s worth watching whether this extends to providing resilience in other discretionary categories, which have seen a pullback in early 2023.
Nevertheless, the index offered another sign that the consumer mood is getting more pessimistic. It was the fourth time in five months that confidence fell. On Friday, the University of Michigan offered another with a consumer sentiment report that showed a 7% dip.
Brands and retailers must work to reach consumers that are increasingly in less of a buying mood than the month before.