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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, new firms seeking to empower creators working at the intersection of content and commerce attracted investment. Among well-known ecommerce companies, Purple received an acquisition offer, and Everlane raised new debt funding.
Check out the latest dealflow:
MrBeast and Night Capital cofounder Reed Duchscher. (Photo via Businesswire)
TCG, a media and tech investment firm, invested $100 million into Night Capital, a new firm cofounded with Reed Duchscher, the manager of YouTube star MrBeast. According to The New York Times, the firm plans to buy DTC brands, and pair them with creators who can create communities around the products. It will also support creators who seek to spin up their own brands. MrBeast has done this with MrBeast Burger, the restaurant chain that drew thousands of people to its Labor Day weekend store opening at the American Dream Mall in Seacaucus, New Jersey.
A unicorn has emerged in retail tech. Swiftly, a provider of software for brick-and-mortar retailers, raised $100 million in a Series C round that brings the company's valuation to more than $1 billion. The round was led by BRV Capital Management, and is the second $100 million funding round for the company in the last year. Swiftly helps brick-and-mortar retailers engage in digital relationships with customers, and offers a retail media network. "Our mission is to empower brick-and-mortar retailers to move from analog to algorithms, as winners in this new era of commerce will be determined by how fast they can reinvent their business to capture shoppers digitally and monetize those digital relationships," said Henry Kim, CEO of Swiftly, in a statement.
DTC clothing retailer Everlane raised $90 million in debt, according to a release from Houlihan Lokey, which advised on the deal. The financing included a $65 million asset-based revolving credit facility and a $25 million first-in last-out term loan. Everlane is a portfolio company of L Catterton, Imaginary Ventures, 14W Ventures and Maveron. The funds were used to “refinance existing indebtedness and provide incremental liquidity for growth initiatives as well as to pay transaction-related fees and expenses,” according to the release. News of the deal, which closed on August 26, was first reported by Modern Retail.
FindMine, which offers dynamic content creation for brands, raised a new venture capital funding round that brings the company’s total outside investment to $9.9 million. Led by XSeed Capital and Underscore VC, the funding round will support go-to-market activities, and development of the company’s AI-powered content engine as it looks to take advantage of new datasets, such as inventory location. FindMine works with brands to personalize content across ecommerce, email campaigns, targeted messaging, advertising, social media and in-store applications.
flavrs, an app marrying food content and commerce, announced a $7 million raise as it launched in beta. The seed round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Wellington Access Ventures, Cercano Management, Progression Fund, and firstminute Capital, along with prominent chefs Eric Ripert and Tom Colicchio. flavrs partners with chef-creators to provide recipe video tutorials that include a shopping-driven component. The company’s platform also includes a digital cookbook, meal planning and grocery shopping tools.
Prediko, a software company which helps ecommerce brands manage their inventory, raised $5 million in seed funding, TechCrunch reported. The round was led by Felix Capital, with participation from Zinal Growth, HelloWorld, NomadCapital and leaders from Klarna, Gorgias, Zencargo, Pigment, Ankorstore and Yoobic. Prediko’s product, called Inventory OS, allows brands to plan, order and finance their inventory, with the goal of preventing stock-outs and overstock.
Creatd, a holding company that empowers creator-founded brands through technology and partnership, raised $800,000 in a registered direct offering that will allow it to complete a restructuring plan. The offering extended the maturity of convertible debt to March 31, 2023. This will provide the company “ample time” to complete restructuring, and make progress in discussions on the sale of some assets and the spinoff of its media library, a news release states.
Inside a Purple Mattress showroom. (Courtesy photo)
Purple Innovation, the digitally native bedding company, received an acquisition offer from investment firm Coliseum Capital Management. Under the terms of the deal, Purple’s outstanding capital stock would be acquired for $4.35 per share, and the company would be taken private. The deal would be valued at about $362 million. The acquisition offer was described as an “unsolicited, non-binding proposal.” The company said its board of directors “will carefully review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of Purple and all Purple shareholders.” Purple earlier this month announced a deal to acquire Intellibed, the brand behind a gel-based mattress.
Starco Brands acquired The AOS Group, Inc., maker of Art of Sport body and skincare products. AOS was cofounded by the late NBA icon Kobe Bryant, and has a roster of athlete partnerships to promote post-game . Known as an inventor of consumer products, Starco Brands will apply manufacturing and marketing knowhow to the brand. In 2021, it partnered with musician Cardi B to launch Whipshots. Through the all-stock deal, which closed on Sept. 12, Metternich and the other AOS shareholders will become shareholders of Starco Brands.
PubMatic, a digital advertising company that offers a sell-side platform, is set to acquire Martin, a media measurement and reporting platform. The acquisition will deepen PubMatic’s investment in supply path optimization. It builds PubMatic’s expansion of tools over the last several years that are designed to allow “buyers to efficiently access inventory and audiences from top publishers around the globe,” said Rajeev Goel, CEO at PubMatic, in a statement. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in mid-September, were not disclosed.
Liverpool, a high-end department store chain based in Mexico, acquired a 9.9% stake in US retailer Nordstrom, Reuters reported. "This operation represents an attractive opportunity to diversify assets geographically," Liverpool said. Terms were not disclosed.
Healthcare services company McKesson is set to acquire Rx Savings Solutions (RxSS) for $875 million. RxSS is a prescription price transparency and benefit insight company, which offers products to health plans and employers that are designed to help patients save money and stick to their prescribed medication regimens. The deal includes a $600 million upfront payment, and up to $275 million in additional payment, contingent on RxSS’ financial performance through 2025. Following the closing of the deal, which is expected in the second half of fiscal year 2023, RxSS will become part of McKesson’s Prescription Technology Solutions business.Fintech company Bolt and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider Wyre have called off a planned merger deal, according to Wyre investor Ether Capital. In April, Bolt had announced plans to acquire Wyre for $1.5 billion. Now, the companies will remain independent businesses, and Wyre will instead enter a commercial services agreement with Bolt.
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.