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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
On the Move has the latest from Amazon, Lovesac and more.
This week, leadership is changing at GameStop, Sorel and Beautycounter. Meanwhile, key executives are departing at Amazon, Wayfair and Lovesac.
Here’s a look at the latest shuffles:
GameStop CEO fired
GameStop announced the termination of Matthew Furlong as CEO on Wednesday. A brief statement did not provide a reason for the firing.
With the move, Chewy founder and activist investor Ryan Cohen was named executive chairman of the video game retailer. Cohen will be responsible for capital allocation and overseeing management.
It came as the company reported a 10% year-over-year decline in net sales for the first quarter. Meanwhile, the company’s net loss improved by 62%.
In an SEC filing, GameStop further added this “We believe the combination of these efforts to stabilize and optimize our core business and achieve sustained profitability while also focusing on capital allocation under Mr. Cohen’s leadership will further unlock long-term value creation for our stockholders.”
Cohen was revealed as GameStop's largest shareholder when he disclosed a 10% stake in the retailer in 2020. GameStop went on to become a leading name in the meme stock rise of 2021.
Sorel president steps down
Mark Nenow is stepping down as president of the Sorel brand in order to focus on his health.
After rising to the role in 2015, Nenow spearheaded a transformation of Columbia Sportswear-owned Sorel from a men’s workwear brand to a fashion-focused brand that led with a women’s offering of boots, sandals and sneakers.
“Mark led the brand to sales of $347 million in net sales in 2022,” said Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle, in a statement. “His leadership has been invaluable to this company, and we wish him the very best.”
Columbia will conduct a search for Nenow’s replacement. Craig Zanon, the company’s SVP of emerging brands, will lead Sorel in the interim.
Beautycounter appoints interim CEO
Beautycounter appointed board member Mindy Mackenzie as interim CEO, succeeding Marc Rey. According to the brand, Rey and the board “mutually decided to transition to a new phase of leadership for Beautycounter.”
McKenzie, a former executive at Carlyle, McKinsey and Jim Beam, will lead the company as it conducts a search for a permanent CEO. Additionally, former Natura & Co CEO Roberto Marques will join Beautycounter’s board as chair.
As part of the transition, Nicole Malozi is also joining the company as chief financial officer. She brings experience from Tatcha, Nike, and DFS Group Limited.
Amazon’s North America fulfillment chief departs
Melissa Nick, a VP of customer fulfillment for North America at Amazon, will leave the company, effective June 16, CNBC reported . Nick joined the company in 2014, and oversaw a region that included nearly 300 fulfillment centers. After doubling its supply chain footprint during the pandemic, Amazon recently reorganized its fulfillment operations to take a regional approach, as opposed to a national model that often resulted in items shipping across the country.
Wayfair’s chief commercial officer to retire
Jon Blotner (Courtesy photo)
Steve Oblak will retire from the role of chief commercial officer at home goods marketplace Wayfair. With the move, Jon Blotner will be promoted to chief commercial officer.
"Steve has served as a critical part of our leadership team and played a pivotal role in Wayfair's growth, helping us grow from a $250 million business when he joined to $12 billion in net revenue today,” said Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah, in a statement. “He oversaw countless milestones, from helping to launch the Wayfair brand as we brought together hundreds of sites into a single platform, to launching new categories, business lines, and geographies while overseeing our North American and European businesses, to leading our debut into physical retail.”
Blotner previously oversaw exclusive and specialty retail brands, as well as digital media at Wayfair. Before joining the company, he served as president of Gemvara.com prior to its 2016 acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway.
Lovesac announces CFO transition
Furniture retailer Lovesac said Donna Dellomo will retire as EVP and CFO, and move to an advisory role, effective June 30. Dellomo was with Lovesac for six years.
Keith Siegner was appointed as the next EVP and CFO. He brings experience as CFO of esports company Vindex, as well as executive roles at Yum! Brands, UBS Securities and Credit Suisse.
Additionally, Jack Krause will retire from the role of chief strategy officer, effective June 30. His responsibilities will be divided between CEO Shawn Nelson and president Mary Fox.
“Since joining Lovesac, Jack has played an instrumental role in transforming the Company into a true omni channel retailer by helping expand our physical touchpoints and digital platform as we continue to disrupt the industry,” said Nelson, in a statement.
NRF adds board members
The National Retail Federation announced the addition of five new board members. They include:
- Marguerite Adzick , founder and CEO, Addison Bay
- Harley Finkelstein, president, Shopify
- Ian Kahn , partner, PwC
- Sharon Leite, CEO, Ideal Image
- Carrie Tharp, VP, strategic industries, Google Cloud