Economy

Funding for Manscaped & Casper, Estée Lauder acquires Tom Ford

Plus, new funding for an ecommerce SaaS aggregator and an gray hair prevention brand.

Funding for Manscaped & Casper, Estée Lauder acquires Tom Ford

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, digitally native brands Manscaped and Casper get cash infusions, while Tom Ford finds a home with Estée Lauder. Plus, new funding for an ecommerce SaaS aggregator, Better Trucks and a haircare formula addressing gray hair.

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

​Estée Lauder acquires Tom Ford

The Estée Lauder Companies announced an agreement to acquire Tom Ford for $2.3 billion, ending a long courtship that reportedly included a variety of suitors after the luxury brand put itself up for sale earlier this year.

The brands are familiar to each other, as Estée Lauder already owns the license for Tom Ford Beauty. The deal will also expand Tom Ford’s longstanding licensing deal with Italian luxury house Ermenegildo Zegna N.V. to include men’s and women’s fashion, accessories and underwear, with Zegna acquiring operations necessary for this licensee role. Tom Ford also has a license with eyewear brand Marcolin that will be extended.

Founder Tom Ford is set to remain with the brand as the “creative visionary” through the end of 2023, while Domenico De Sole will remain as a consultant through that time.

​Dropshipping Direct acquires Empire Ecommerce

Dropshipping Direct, which manages over 1000 ecommerce stores for clients, acquired Empire Ecommerce. Terms were not disclosed.

The move will strengthen four-year-old Dropshipping Direct’s systems and customer base, while while simultaneously opening doors for new strategic partnerships. Through an automated system, Dropshipping Direct manages product sourcing, selling, buying, shipping and returns for sellers.

FUNDING

​Manscaped raises Series B

Manscaped, the male grooming brand, raised a Series B round co-led by Banner Ventures and Smash Ventures. Terms were not disclosed.

Since raising a Series A in 2020, the six-year-old brand has grown from $65 million in revenue to $300 million. This year, it signed on with celebrity partner Pete Davidson, and expanded its retail partnership with chains such as Walgreens.

“This new capital allows us to continue our trajectory and to accelerate our global omnichannel expansion and product development as we strengthen our position as the leading men's grooming and lifestyle brand,” said Paul Tran, Manscaped CEO, in a statement. "The investment also strategically strengthens our position as we ramp up for an exciting holiday season in 2022 and look forward to a robust product roadmap in 2023 and beyond.”

Casper secures $80M credit facility

Side view of the breathable and ergnomic Casper mattress i… | Flickr (www.flickr.com)

Digitally native mattress brand Casper secured an $80 million credit facility that will provide working capital, and allow the company to retire an existing credit facility. The financing was arranged by Second Avenue Capital Partners, LLC, with support from Tiger Finance. It comes after Casper was taken private a year ago in an acquisition deal with Durational Capital Management earlier this year. The brand initially went public in February 2020.

Relay Commerce raises $27M for acquisitions

Relay Commerce, which acquires ecommerce-focused SaaS businesses, raised $27 million in equity and debt funding, Axios reported.

The funding was led by Primary Venture Partners, Twelve Below, AlleyCorp, Max Ventures and TriplePoint Capital. It will be used to acquire more businesses, as the company seeks to apply the aggregator used to roll up ecommerce brands for software business.

“We’re building for the SMB ecommerce merchant that wants enterprise-grade functionality made accessible to the sorts of teams that wear many hats,” wrote CEO Ricardo Hinds. “We’re also pairing our team’s knowledge of scaling software businesses with our appetite for acquiring bootstrapped software businesses.”

So far, the company operates three software businesses: Fomo, Pop and SmartrMail.

Robot-powered microfulfillment center company raises $72M

Attabotics, a 3D robotics supply chain company, raised $71.7 million in a Series C-1 round. The financing was led by Export Development Canada, with participation from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board through Teachers’ Venture Growth.

The company condenses fulfillment warehouses into a single storage structure, with robotic shuttles called Attabots inside picking goods, and presenting them to workers outside. The aim is to allow warehouses to be located in densely-populated areas, where they will be closer to customers.

Better Trucks raises $15M for last-mile delivery

Better Trucks. (Courtesy photo)

Last-mile delivery carrier Better Trucks raised $15 million in a funding round led by Lobby Capital, with participation from Corazon Capital and Venture 53.

It’s the first outside investment for the company, which was founded by Andy Whiting and Weston Webb in 2019. Better Trucks provides next-day and same-day residential delivery, serving brands in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Texas, as well as delivery companies like ShipBob. WIth the funding, it is planning to double a coverage area that currently extends to 25 metro areas across 17 states, and invest in additional warehouse capacity. It will be hiring in technology, operations and corporate functions, as well as building a flexible driver workforce.

Zest raises $4.2M for gifting platform

Zest, a platform that allows ecommerce brands to create a gifting model, raised $4.2 million in a seed round led by Google Ventures (GV). Participating in the funding were BoxGroup, Character, Operator Partners, Bungalow Capital and Company Ventures.

Zest’s platform places a “Send as a Gift” button on product or cart pages. Gifters can then choose to send a digital greeting card, add their own message and instantly deliver the gift to the recipient via text or email.

“The app not only makes the act of digital gifting easy and meaningful, but we go a step further and make it possible for brands to turn that purchase into a real relationship with recipients," said Alex Ingram, Zest's CEO, in a statement.

Arey raises $4.15M for anti-gray formula

Arey. (Courtesy photo)

Arey, a haircare brand that sells through ecommerce, closed an oversubscribed seed round at $4.15M – well above its $2 million target. The round was led by Female Founders Fund and Greycroft.

Founded by Allison Conrad and Jay Small, Arey focuses on restoring gray hair, offering a supplement and hair serum known as The System that is available through one-time or subscription purchase. The brand saw 975% growth in subscription in the last year, making up over 70% of their revenue. The funding will assist with R&D and distribution expansion.

Here are a few more deals we spotted this week thanks to the reporting of Techcrunch:

  • Sumner International, which launches new beauty brands by harnessing social media data, raised $5 million in a seed round. Investors included GDP Ventures, Teja Ventures, Gushcloud International and angel investors Koh Boon Hwee and Shirley Crystal Tan. NYX founder and Bespoke Beauty Brands CEO Toni Ko is also joining.
  • Impacked, a marketplace for green packaging, raised $2.5 million in a seed round led by TenOneTen Ventures. The platform allows brands to search, filter, sample and quote packaging from suppliers.
  • Pickle Robot Company, which makes robots to unload trucks, raised a $26 million Series A led by Ranpak, JS Capital, Schusterman Family Investments, Soros Capital and Catapult Ventures.


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