The latest example is direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier, which announced Tuesday that it has secured $100 million in a Series D round led by Sequoia, with participation from Tiger Global, Spark Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Thrive Capital, IVP and Index Ventures. The funding values the business at $1.2 billion, gaining it admittance to the unicorn class of 2019.
Glossier's valuation has tripled since February 2018, when the New York-based company brought in a $52 million Series C led by IVP and Index Ventures that valued it at $390 million. Along with the latest funding, the female-led business has also announced the addition of Vanessa Wittman as CFO. Wittman previously held the same position at several companies including media platform Verizon Media (fka Oath) and file-sharing service Dropbox.
Glossier, which offers skincare, makeup, body, fragrance and other products, was founded in 2014 by company CEO Emily Weiss, who initially created a blog titled "Into the Gloss" in 2010. Weiss then began using social media as a tool to understand consumer needs and preferences, eventually launching her beauty products on Instagram before Glossier had its own website. Earlier this month, the company launched its first spin-off brand, Glossier Play, which allows customers to order "dialed-up beauty extras" in addition to its current offerings.
The company now has nearly $200 million in total VC funding. Here's a look at its steady march to unicorn status:
• Jan. 2013: $2M round | $10M valuation
• Nov. 2014: $8.4M | $24M
• Oct. 2015: 6M | $35M
• Nov. 2016: $24M | $130M
• Feb. 2018: $52M | $390M
• Mar. 2019: $100M | $1.2B
Beauty businesses have been quick to tap into tech to create, promote and distribute products to their target audience. From delivering curated subscription boxes to using social media platforms to create a brand from scratch—tech has played a major role, which could be one of the reasons why VC investment in the beauty industry has grown rapidly over the past decade, especially in the last few years.
By 2018, both global capital invested and deal count had risen considerably since 2008. VCs funneled a whopping $1.07 billion into 85 deals for beauty companies last year, setting the stage for a 2019 that will potentially be even bigger:
The beauty industry is also part of the larger consumer products sector, which goes beyond just makeup. A few notable deals in that bigger space include a reported $112 million funding in 2018 for Harry's, which ships razors and other personal care supplies to its customers. Hims, a provider of wellness products for men, is reportedly in the process of raising $100 million at a $1 billion valuation. And FabFitFun, which provides a subscription-based box of curated beauty, fashion and other lifestyle items, secured an $80 million round led by Kleiner Perkins in January.
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Related read: Why VCs are pouring money into beauty brands