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This week, skincare brand True Botanicals, Shark Tank alum Mad Rabbit Tattoo and CPG spinout Momofuku Goods raise new funds, while Scotch & Soda finds a new parent after bankruptcy. On the tech investment front, there's new funding for sustainable beauty ingredients and no-code mobile apps.
Check out the latest deals:
True Botanicals raises Series B
True Botanicals, a clean skincare brand, closed on a Series B investment round from San Francisco-based growth equity firm NextWorld Evergreen. The digitally native brand is seeking to grow in retailers. It currently has a presence in Nordstrom, Credo Beauty and The Detox Market. The size of the investment was not disclosed.
The brand said it now has an all-female board, including:
- Hillary Peterson, Founder
- Sandy Saputo, CEO,
- Tiffany Obenchain, NextWorld Managing Partner
- Andrea Freedman, NextWorld Operating Partner and former CFO of Kendo Brands & Method Products
- Margarita Arriagada, founder of Valdé Beauty and former head of merchandising at Sephora
StoreForce receives investment from Accel-KKR
StoreForce offers a range of data-driven tools, including workforce and performance management, retail execution and employee engagement, among others. Customers include Asics, Crate & Barrel, Lids and more.
With the funding, StoreForce will seek to grow through organic and M&A opportunities in markets across the globe.
“In the current dynamic market in retail such as the continual convergence of digital and brick-and mortar channels, a changing workforce and the constant need to optimize store performance, one thing remains unchanged: delivering superior customer experience. StoreForce’s offerings deliver proven ROI by helping specialty retailers gain a competitive edge and drive rapid sales growth,” said Nishant Patel, Principal at Accel-KKR, in a statement.
Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Vue StoreFront raises $20M
The financing was led by Felix Capital, with participation from Mirakl CEO Philippe Corrot, Mirakl head of engineering Nagi Letaifa, as well as existing investors Creandum, Earlybird and SquareOne.
The company is building a composable suite of tools for the front-end of ecommerce, aligning the how backend architecture is evolving. Along with the funding, Tim Drijvers joined as CTO from SendCloud.
L'Oréal invests in sustainable materials startup
Geno, a biotech venture developing ingredients that offer a sustainable alternative to current beauty and personal care chemicals, received a new investment from L'Oréal. The beauty company joins Unilever and Kao Corporation as founding members of Geno.
Geno uses engineered microorganisms to ferment plant sugars that produce ingredients to make sustainable surfactants. The ingredients will be used in a range of L'Oréal’s products.
"Welcoming L'Oréal to this incredible team of global brand heavyweights signifies just how important and urgent the need is for traceable, resilient and sustainable materials, at scale,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Geno, in a statement.
L'Oréal's commitment further validates Geno's ability to deliver at scale and accelerates our journey toward reducing global carbon emissions by over 100 million tons in the upcoming years by targeting large-scale material markets.
Momofuku Goods raises $17.5M
Momofuku Goods raised $17.5 million in a Series A round, led by Sidhi Capital, according to Retail Dive. Momofuku Goods is the CPG arm of the culinary ventures run by Chef David Chang. Through DTC and retail channels, it sells chili crunch, air-dried noodles, soy sauce and seasoned salts.
“We spent a decade testing and developing our pantry essentials, ensuring that they were up to the standards we uphold in our restaurants,” said Chang, in a statement. “With this investment, I’m looking forward to bringing even more flavor to home cooks’ kitchens.”
Mad Rabbit Tattoo raises $10M Series A
Tattoo aftercare brand Mad Rabbit raised $10 million in a Series A funding round.
The financing was led by Lucas Brand Equity, with participation from Mark Cuban, H Venture Partners, and other notable investors.
ABC’s Shark Tank alum Mad Rabbit makes tattoo products with natural ingredients, available through DTC, Verishop and vitaminshoppe.com, as well as Urban Outfitters and GNC. They are designed to promote healing following tattoo application. With the funding, the brand plans to expand its product line, increase marketing and grow its team.
Appbrew raises $2M for ecommerce apps
Appbrew, a no-code platform helping Shopify brands build mobile apps, raised $2 million in seed funding.
Accel led the financing, with participation from Riverside Ventures and angels.
Founded in 2022, Appbrew is designed to enable brands to build and launch native mobile apps in iOS and Android. It comes as 74% of retail traffic came from smartphones in Q4, according to the company.
“In the current environment of expensive performance marketing, Appbrew increases brand profitability by improving conversion rates and retaining loyal customers. Their emphasis on enhancing mobile shopping experience piqued our interest, and we are pleased to be part of their mission,” said Pratik Agarwal, principal at Accel, in a statement.
Topo Designs receives first outside investment
The funding will help to raise brand awareness and expand customer acquisition programs across DTC channels, as well as expand in wholesale.
"In Topo Designs, we saw a unique opportunity to invest in a differentiated outdoor brand with unmatched authenticity and credibility, as well as a strong mission dedicated to helping all people explore and enjoy the outdoors, however it is that they define it," said Alex Gart, a partner at Gart Capital, in a statement.
Scotch & Soda stores. (Courtesy photo)
Scotch & Soda acquired out of bankruptcy
With the move, Scotch & Soda joins a portfolio that also includes Hurley, Bebe and Tahari.
"The niche brand sits on its own and attracts a younger fashion-conscious consumer who appreciates fine craftmanship and attention to detail," said Bluetar COO Ralph Gindi. "Our goal is to continue Scotch & Soda's luxury retail distribution strategy, while also introducing the brand to more trendsetters, especially those looking to express their personality through their clothing.”
A statement from the law firm Jones Day said not all Scotch & Soda employees will be kept onboard, but called the Bluestar deal “by far the best deal for all stakeholders involved.”
At the time of bankruptcy, Scotch & Soda operated 252 stores, and had goods in 7,000 retail doors. It was previously owned by Sun Capital Partners.
Trending in Operations
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