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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, a big raise and noteworthy acquisition in the skincare space, a non-alcoholic beverage company gets an investment from Keurig Dr. Pepper and Klaviyo makes its first acquisition.
Here’s a look at the dealflow this week:
Topicals CEO Olamide Olowe. (Courtesy photo)
Skincare brand Topicals raises $10M
Founded in 2020 by Olamide Olowe, the brand recorded 3x revenue in 2021 through channels including Sephora and direct-to-consumer. Connecting mind and body wellness, it has also donated $50,000 to support nonprofits providing mental health resources for marginalized communities. The funding will be put toward omnichannel growth, new hires, channel expansion and brand marketing awareness. Jenna Jackson, principal of growth at CAVU Consumer Partners, will also join Topicals' Board of Directors.
"Through Topicals, we believe Olamide has set a new standard in beauty - not only by formulating and marketing effective over-the-counter replacement products for skincare - but also by destigmatizing the way consumers speak about their skin conditions," said Jackson, in a statement.
Grove Collaborative receives investment from HumanCo for future M&A
Sustainability-focused consumer products company Grove Collaborative entered a strategic partnership with HumanCo Investments, a health and wellness holding company. The goal is to identify and complete mergers and acquisitions for Grove Collaborative. Through the partnership, HumanCo will do the following:
- Assist Grove in identifying and evaluating M&A opportunities
- Invest in Grove through a private investment in a public equity, and was granted a warrant to purchase Class A common stock.
- Further fund up to $100 million in "one or more" future M&A transactions for Grove.
Grove offers a marketplace that sells household and beauty products under its own brand, as well as those of others. The company went public in June.
“There are many companies that will need to be part of a larger platform that brings them scale and efficiency. We are confident that with HumanCo’s assistance, Grove will be able to identify and execute on these compelling M&A opportunities,” stated Ross Berman, cofounder of HumanCo.
Ordergroove raises $100M for retail subscription tech
WIth a focus on growing recurring revenue and customer lifetime value, Ordergroove powers subscriptions for L’Oréal, Bonafide, The Honest Company, La Colombe, and PetSmart. The company’s platform is platform agnostic, so it is desiged to integrate with other ecommerce platforms.
“This partnership with Primus will allow us to fuel our rapid growth and continue to scale our investments in product and innovation,” said Ordergroove CEO Greg Alvo, in a statement.
Hopper raises $96M to bring social commerce to travel
Travel app Hopper raised $96 million from Capital One in a follow-on investment to the company’s 2021 Series F that will help to accelerate its foray into social commerce. With the deal, Hopper and Capital One are planning to extend a partnership that is aimed at growing Capital One Travel.
Among a series of initiatives, Hopper is aiming to build its own travel super app, which will include social commerce features that will roll out over the next year. It has already launched features including referrals, share-to-earn, team buying and daily gifts, which allow users to redeem rewards.
Keurig Dr. Pepper invests $50M in Athletic Brewing
Founded in 2017 by Bill Shufelt and John Walker, ABC has grown to become a top-20 craft beer maker, per Nielsen, and holds 55% market share in the non-alcoholic craft beer category.
"Athletic Brewing is a winning brand in a rapidly growing beverage segment. Our investment reflects our interest and ability to move into exciting white spaces, including in the blurring of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic categories," said Keurig Dr. Pepper Executive Chairman Bob Gamgort, in a statement.
Collars & Co. secures Shark Tank deal
Collars & Co., a Washington, DC-based menswear brand, secured a $1 million investment on ABC’s Shark Tank.
Founder Justin Baer closed a deal with Mark Cuban and British billionaire Peter Jones in exchange for 10% equity in the company.
Launched during the pandemic, the brand makes a product called Dress Collar Polo that is designed to be formal–looking, athletic and easy to clean. It also expanded into outerwear. So far, the brand generated $5.4 million in sales so far and worked with notable athletes like Tiki Barber and Sir Nick Faldo on photoshoots.
HeyDay acquires and incubates digital brands, providing tools to help with omnichannel expansion, product development and building brand equity. The acquisition marks a deeper investment into personal care, in particular the growing pimple patch category.
Zitsticka launched with the popular Killa patch, which contains microdarts to prevent early-stage zits. It has since expanded to a product line that includes supplements, body washes and topicals, and has also launched in-store channels including Target and Ulta Beauty. This foundation offers “significant runway for future growth,” according to HeyDay.
Klaviyo acquires Napkin.io
Marketing automation platform Klaviyo acquired Napkin.io, a tool to help software developers build and deploy APIs. It’s the first acquisition for Klaviyo, which has grown from a prominent base working with brands in the Shopify ecosystem. Terms were not disclosed.
Founded in 2021 by Nick Sypteras, who will join Klaviyo, Napkin.io is designed to allow developers to easily write and deploy code from a browser. Once live, the code can be set to run on a schedule, or deployed as an API endpoint.
“Klaviyo is focused on providing the best possible experience for our customers – and that means opening up our platform to allow developers to build on top of our existing offerings,” said Ed Hallen, co-founder and chief product officer of Klaviyo. “Last year a few members of our team discovered Napkin.io and were immediately impressed with the power of the software, clear user interface, and unique feature set which are all Klaviyo-level quality.”
Additional tools that Klaviyo has made available to build on top of its platform include new SDKs, a sample data tool for Klaviyo onboarding, and a portal where developers can find API documentation, guides, and developer-specific content.
Gap sells China business
Gap Inc. announced that its has agreements in place to sell the Gap brand's Greater China business to ecommerce provider Baozun Inc. The company will operate the Gap's stores and ecommerce sites in that market on a franchise model.
The deal was the result of a review of Gap China that began in 2020. It allow Gap to operate in a more “asset-light, cost-effective model” in the market.
“With its local expertise and best-in-class omni-channel technology and deep expertise in data management and digital business, Baozun will enable Gap brand to better connect with Chinese consumers across all channels,” CEO Mark Breitbard wrote to employees.
Next buys Made.com out of administration
The company had stopped taking orders in October as it struggled to find a buyer. But Made.com swooped in to buy the company's assets after administrators were appointed, which is the British equivalent of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Trending in Economy
Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”