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New investment for Ariana Grande's beauty brand, Zulily acquired

Dealboard has the latest funding and M&A news from Campbell Soup, FTD and Asos.

r.e.m. beauty

r.e.m. beauty has new investment. (Courtesy photo)

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, Ariana Grande’s beauty brand gets new investment, while Campbell Soup and Qurate Retail are divesting well-known brands. On the software front, there’s new investment for CPG competitive intelligence and automated savings.

Here are the latest deals:


Ariana Grande’s r.e.m. beauty announces new investment

r.e.m. beauty, the viral brand founded by singer Ariana Grande, raised new funds through a strategic investment deal.

The financing was led by Sandbridge Capital, with participation from Strand Equity, HYBE America, Live Nation Entertainment and Universal Music Group.

Founded in 2021, r.e.m. beauty recently appointed Michelle Shigemasa as CEO. The deal comes after Grande took the brand independent following the bankruptcy of previous licensee Forma Brands.

"r.e.m. beauty has earned the trust of the beauty community and consumers alike by creating an impressive best-in-class line of products inspired by Ariana's compelling mission driven brand vision," said Ken Suslow, Sandbridge Capital founder and managing partner, in a statement. "We are thrilled to come together with Ariana and her stellar r.e.m. team in support of the brand's strong growth trajectory through our global industry network and brand building expertise."

Checkmate raises $15M from a slate of celebrity investors

Checkmate, a mobile app providing automated savings for ecommerce, raised $15 million in a Series A round.

The financing was led by GV (Google Ventures), with new support from Mantis VC (The Chainsmokers), Common Metal, BDuck Capital, Black Angels Group and continued support from Wischoff Ventures, Fuel Capital, Blackbird Ventures, F7 Ventures, Night Capital & Scribble Ventures.

Angels supporting the round include Paris Hilton, Carter Reum of M13 Ventures, DST Global Partner Saurabh Gupta, Tim Kendall of Meta and Pinterest, Grindr and Yahoo vet Jeff Bonforte James & Geraldine Chin Moody of Sendle, Alex & Anthony Zaccaria of LinkTree, Trevor Neff of Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, and Arthur Levy & Michael Tannenbaum of Brex.

Checkmate said its app can find savings at over 40,000 stores. It does this by finding codes online, extracting codes from email and partnering with brands to create new codes.

Going forward, Checkmate wants to personalize the end-to-end shopping experience through new tools including package tracking and centralizing order updates.

Laced raises $12M for sneaker marketplace

Laced, a U.K.-based ecommerce platform for sneakers, raised $12 million in new funding, according to Footwear News.

Talis Capital led the Series A round, with participation from H&M Group Ventures, which is the investment arm of H&M Group. Participants also included BY Venture Partners and Truesight Ventures, as well as angel investors.

Founded in 2018 by Chris Gibbons, Laced provides a marketplace for buying and selling sought-after sneakers and luxury goods.

“We are thrilled to back Chris and the dedicated team behind Laced as they embark on the next stage of their journey,” said Nanna Andersen, head of new growth & ventures at H&M Group, in a statement. “In building an impressive online marketplace, they are not only providing consumers with a specially curated selection of in-demand sneakers, but also an important platform to extend the lifecycle of products. This investment is exactly the type of company and entrepreneur that we are delighted to support.”

Asos raises £75 million in equity

Fast fashion retailer Asos raised £75 million (or $93 million) as it pursues a turnaround effort, Bloomberg reported. The raise included participation from Danish fashion outfit Bestseller and US-based Camelot Capital Partners.

The move comes after Asos revealed losses of £290m for the six months ended in February. The new funds will help the company change its approach to buying and merchandising.

Prime Roots raises $30M for plant-based deli meats

Prime Roots, a maker of plant-based deli-style meats made from koji mycelium, raised $30 million in a Series B funding round.

The financing was led by True Ventures, Pangaea Ventures, Prosus Ventures, Top Tier Capital, Diamond Edge Ventures, SOSV/IndieBio, Solasta Ventures, Monde Nissin, Alumni Ventures, Gaingels, Meach Cove Capital, The House Fund, and Hyphen Capital.

Founded in 2017, Prime Roots applies fermentation and food science techniques to create a product that has the “identical microscopic texture of meat,” and adds an umami flavor from plants. The company will use the funding to scale to more deli counters and restaurants.

"People are asking for sustainable meat options that taste good, make them feel good and do good with less planet impact. Prime Roots delivers on all three: taste, nutrition, and sustainability," said Kimberlie Le, founder and CEO of Prime Roots, in a statement. "This new funding is a testament to the market opportunity for the next generation of plant-based meats that meet consumer expectations while forging into old world categories like deli with disruptive innovation."

Datasembly closes on $16M in Series B funding

Datasembly, a software company that provides competitive intelligence tools for CPG brands and retailers, secured $16 million in a Series B funding round.

The financing was led by Noro-Moseley Partners, with participation from Grotech Ventures, Topmark Partners and Staley Capital.

Datasembly provides real-time product pricing, promotions and assortment data for brands and retailers. The company recently launched a product matching service that aims to help brands and retailers keep product matches up to date.

“Even through more complicated economic times, Datasembly has continued to grow and scale, underscoring the demand for our data and tools,” said cofounder and CEO Ben Reich, in a statement. “While the broader funding environment has cooled, Datasembly has still been attractive to new investors because of the value and differentiated offerings we bring to the marketplace that are unavailable elsewhere.”


Flagstone Foods acquires Emerald Nuts from Campbell Soup

Flagstone Foods, a manufacturer of private label snack nuts and trail mixes, announced that it acquired snack nut brand Emerald Nuts from the Campbell Soup Company.

Emerald Nuts makes grab-and-go packs of 100-calorie nuts and assorted glazed nut products.

It is set to join Flagstone, which has plants in Robersonville, North Carolina; El Paso, Texas; and Dothan, Alabama. Flagstone was acquired by Atlas Holdings in 2019, hired CEO Harry Overly late last year as it moved toward expansion.

QVC parent sells mom-focused ecommerce platform Zulily

Qurate Retail Group has reached a deal to sell ecommerce platform Zulily to Regent, a Los Angeles-based investment firm with expertise in retail and apparel.

Zulily focuses on moms, with products including toys, clothes, shoes, home décor, baby, maternity, beauty and more. Qurate Retail is divesting the company as part of a wider strategy aimed at optimizing its brand portfolio.

Now, Zulily will join an investment group that has also backed Club Monaco, DIM Paris, La Senza, Escada and DiamondBack.

“We are confident Regent is the right partner for Zulily to continue serving its customers, while benefiting from Regent’s depth of operational and strategic expertise in the retail and apparel sectors,” said David Rawlinson, president and CEO of Qurate Retail, in a statement. “We are in the midst of a turnaround at Qurate Retail. This divestiture will allow our management team to better focus on our core video commerce assets, QVC and HSN, and the Cornerstone Brands, while preserving liquidity to further strengthen our balance sheet.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

From You Flowers merges with FTD

M&A news from the flower world: Ecommerce platform From You Flowers and florist network FTD are merging with the goal of creating a new global platform in floral and gifting.

With the deal, From You Flowers CEO Michael Chapin will become CEO of the combined companies.

"We are bringing together two businesses with a shared vision to deliver exceptional service to our florist members and consumers," said Chapin. "The merger will enable From You Flowers' best-in-class ecommerce operation to accelerate the growth of FTD's already impressive floral distribution network," said Chapin.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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