The Current, delivered daily.
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, high profile athletes are investing in hydration and sneaker resale, while beverage giants are making bets on up-and-coming brands. Plus, platforms designed for the next generation of beauty and fashion commerce raised funds.
Check out the latest deals funding and M&A activity in commerce:
Wallapop, a peer-to-peer marketplace that prioritizes sustainability through resale and route optimization, raised $87 million in a Series G financing. Led by South Korean internet giant Naver and its European partner Korelya Capital, the round valued the company at $832 million, TechCrunch reported. Accel, 14W and Insight also participated. Based in Spain, the company is seeking to expand to nearby Southern European countries.
Makeup by Mario, a cosmetics brand, raised $40 million in a minority investment from investment firms Provenance and Silas Capital. Founded by Mario Dedivanovic in 2020, Makeup by Mario recently launched its first foundation line. The brand will seek to expand its assortment at Sephora, in North America and beyond.
ThriveCart, which creates ecommerce content, cart pages, funnels and affiliate campaigns for companies that sell digital products such as lessons and tutorials, raised $35 million from LTV SaaS Growth Fund. The company also named Kevin McKeand as CEO. With the capital raise, ThriveCart plans to invest in its technology, and expand its team to further serve the creator economy.
Waterdrop, a flavored water brand focused on hydration, received investment from tennis star Novak Djokovic. With the deal, Djokovic will become an ambassador for the brand, and is wearing the logo on his sleeve at the Australian Open tournament. Founded in 2016, Waterdrop recently entered the sports drink market.
Hye, a flavored functional water brand, received investment from German brewery company Warsteiner Group. Enriched with vitamins, minerals and natural extracts, Hye aims to fill a market gap between vitamin waters and energy drinks.
Evigence, a food technology company that provides freshness data, raised $18 million in a Series B round. The round was led by Cleveland Avenue, with participation from Landa Ventures, Planet Capital and Food Retail Ventures. Evigence uses sensors and data analytics to measure remaining freshness of food in real time. The company recently launched its system with Marley Spoon by Martha Stewart.
Chord, a commerce platform for DTC companies and omnichannel brands, raised $15 million in a Series A extension. The round was led by Bright Pixel Capital and Eclipse, with participation from GC1 Ventures, TechNexus Venture Collaborative, Anti Fund VC, Imaginary Ventures, Foundation Capital and White Star Capital. Chord’s platform combines headless commerce and data infrastructure that provides data collection, modeling and insights.
Oro, which offers open source applications for B2B digital commerce, raised $13 million. The round was led by Zubr Capital, with participation from Highland Europe. Decade-old Oro recently debuted a marketplace platform. It is looking to invest in product and community.
Sensible Hot Dogs, a maker of plant-based hot dogs, raised $12 million in non-brokered private financings. The company went public on the NEO Exchange in December. “We've taken out all the not-so-great ingredients from the hot dog that are infamously mysterious and created a healthier and tastier frank,” said CEO Shawn Balaghi.
Syky, a web3 fashion platform founded by former Ralph Lauren and Burberry digital executive Alice Delahunt, raised $9.5 million in a Series A round. The financing was led by Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six Capital, with participation from Brevan Howard Digital, Leadout Capital, First Light Capital Group and Polygon Ventures.
thirteen Lune, a beauty ecommerce platform, raised $8 million in a seed plus round. The financing included new participation from The BrainTrust Fund, which is the venture fund of a platform that supports Black beauty and wellness founders. Founded by Nyakio Grieco and Patrick Herning, thirteen Lune is seeking to continue retail expansion after the launch of a private label brand and in-store partnerships with JC Penney in 2022.
House of Blueberry, a digital fashion house for the metaverse, raised $6 million in seed funding, VentureBeat reported. The round was led by Makers Fund, with participation from Everblue Management. Founded in 2012 by Mishi McDuff, the company has sold digital assets on Roblox, The Sims, and Second Life.
Sophia Amurso, the entrepreneur behind Nasty Gal and Girlboss, is launching a venture fund. Trust Fund is setting a $5 million target, and will invest in digital consumer companies, according to TechCrunch. Investors include a16z partners Marc Andreessen, Andrew Chen and Chris Dixon, entrepreneur Ev Williams and Paris Hilton.
The Edit LDN, a sneaker resale marketplace, raised $4.8 million in seed funding. The round was led by Regah Ventures, with participation from athletes including the NFL’s Xavier McKinney, the NBA’s PJ Tucker and Manchester United star Jesse Lingard. With 200% revenue growth over the last two years, The Edit LDN will aim to scale in the U.S. and Middle East North Africa.
Grounded People, a sustainable footwear brand, raised $2.5 million from Right Season Investments Corp. Founded in 2020, Right Season manufactures footwear in a vegan factory based in Brazil. “This investment will enable us to grow our team further, expand our retail and online presence, target international markets and continue building a robust product portfolio that simply and cost-effectively protects our customers and the planet on which we reside,” said CEO Maximilian Justus.
Wyandot Snacks, a contract manufacturer of snacks and cereals, scored an investment from private equity firm Astara Capital Partners. Founded in 1936, Wyandot works with CPGs, emerging brands and private label providers. “As a result of Astara's investment, Wyandot will benefit from being debt-free and having access to significant strategic, operational, and financial resources of Astara,” said Lindsey Tannenbaum, partner at Astara. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
Rivalz, a snack startup that will debut a line of savory filled bites, closed a round of angel funding from venture capital firm The March Group and other private investors. Rivalz is set to position itself as a healthy alternative to Combos, and will launch through its website and select retail channels, according to Food Business News. The amount of the seed round was not disclosed.
Hella Cocktail Co. received investment from Pronghorn, which invests in Black founders building spirits companies. With the move, Hella founder Jomaree Pinkard will become CEO of Pronghorn, while stepping into a role of chairman at Hella.
Don Papa, a super-premium Filipino rum brand, was acquired by the spirits giant Diageo. Founded by Stephen Carroll, Don Papa combines local sugar cane from the island of Sugarlandia and aging in American oak barrels. It is available in 30 countries. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Trending in Brand News
LadderUp is aiming for 50% LGBTQ+ and BIPOC participation. Shopify will provide access to its platform.
Shipt is launching a new accelerator program designed to provide ecommerce tools for local retailers.Called LadderUp, the program is centered on equity. Target-owned delivery owned Shipt said conversations with business owners have revealed that local entrepreneurs face “gaps” in technology, but they also want to participate in ecommerce platforms. The COVID-19 pandemic was especially difficult for Black business owners, who saw earnings drop between 11-28% in 2019-2020, as compared to the earnings decrease of 5-17% for the rest of the population.
With the new program, the company’s goal is to reach at least 50% LGBTQ+ and BIPOC participation in the program.
Shipt is aiming to serve businesses in Atlanta, Birmingham, Alabama, Detroit, Houston and Washington, D.C.
Target categories include: grocery/beverage, health, beauty, and floral/gifts retailers.
“Working with small businesses to build up their capabilities is a key part of our commitment to help create healthier, more resilient and equitable communities,” said CEO Kamau Witherspoon. “We recognize the unique role that we can play in both combating hunger in under-resourced communities and boosting small, local retailers that are so vital to communities across our country.”
What will entrepreneurs receive?
Education: Business owners who are selected will receive an 8-week course with industry leaders that covers business-building topics including finances, efficiency, marketing, ecommerce 101, the basics of using Shipt, and legal knowledge.
Funding: Upon completion, retailers will provide $5,000 for businesses to invest in ecommerce.
Shopify access: Shopify, which is partnering with Shipt, is also providing to its access for a limited amount of time to help business owners build an online storefront and manage inventory. The program will also provide technical assistance.Applications are open Feb. 6- March 6.