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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, P&G acquired a buzzy beauty brand, the parent of Morphe filed for bankruptcy and L’Oréal made its first metaverse investment.
Check out the latest dealflow:
Mielle Organics, a textured hair brand that is a viral favorite on TikTok, was acquired by Procter & Gamble. Mielle was founded in 2014 by Monique and Melvin Rodriguez, and the husband-and-wife team will continue to lead the brand under P&G Beauty. As part of the deal, Mielle and P&G will each donate $10 million to Mielle Cares, a nonprofit providing economic opportunity in Black and Brown communities. Investors in Mielle include New Voices Fund for Women of Color and Berkshire Partners. “Today is a remarkable moment for our brand and for the climb of Black entrepreneurs everywhere as we collectively continue to break barriers and accelerate the opportunities for growth,” said Monique Rodriguez.
Forma Brands, the parent of beauty brand Morhpe, filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filing includes an agreement to be acquired by an investor group for $33 million. The move to enter Chapter 11 was reportedly being mulled since October. Last week, Morphe said it will close all U.S. stores. Additional brands owned by Forma include Ariana Grande’s R.E.M. Beauty and Lipstick Queen.
Skincare brand Bliss World was acquired from consumer investment firm Catterton by AS Beauty, a joint venture between e.l.f. Beauty cofounders Alan and Joey Shamah and pajama entrepreneurs in the Azrak family. Starting as a spa business, Bliss World now has a presence in more than 30,000 stores, including Target, CVS and Walmart, according to WWD. Along with L Catterton, previous owners of Bliss World include LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Starwood Resorts and Steiner Leisure.
Birch Benders, a baking brand that makes pancake and waffle mixes, was acquired by Hometown Food Company from Sovos Brands. Hometown, which is controlled by Byrnwood Partners, owns a portfolio of brands acquired from JM Smucker Co. and U.S. rights to Pillsbury’s shelf-stable baking products. The acquisition will expand Hometown’s products in the better-for-you, breakfast and baking categories.
No Meat Factory, a plant-based alternative protein maker, raised $42 million in a Series B round. Tengelmann Growth Partners led the round, with participation from Emil Capital Partners. Founded in 2019, No Meat produces nuggets and hamburgers and whole-muscle alternatives for brand partners from a headquarters in British Columbia. With the funding, the company is planning to build out production in North America and globally, while expanding R&D.
Butter Payments, a fintech company helping subscription businesses prevent accidental churn, raised $22 million in a Series B funding round. Norwest Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Atomic, Transpose Platform and Spring Tide Capital. “We’re building a world in which every online business is instantly 5+% more valuable – simply by opening up access to the users who want their service already,” CEO Vijay Menon wrote in a blog post.
Slate Milk, a maker of high protein chocolate milks and lattes, raised $10.5 million in a Series A funding round, BevNet reported. The funding will support a new product that is set to launch in the coming weeks, and help the brand expand nationally.
On-demand beauty service Glamsquad secured a minority investment from Boathouse Capital, WWD reported. With business picking back up for the app-based service following the lifting of pandemic restrictions, Glamsquad is planning to expand to 15-20 new cities, build out its team and invest in experiential marketing. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
Digital Village, NFT marketplace and metaverse tech startup, received a minority investment from L’Oréal venture capital arm BOLD. The investment is part of a seed round, which was co-led by the Silicon Valley-based VR Fund. Founded in 2021 by brand and sustainability consultant Evelyn Mora, Digital Village offers scalable technologies centered around digital identities and assets. The amount of the investment, which was the first metaverse-focused check from L’Oréal, was not disclosed.
Trending in Economy
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.