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SoftBank’s Most recent Misfortune: Brandless Shuts Down After Raising $292.5M

Brandless, a direct-to-consumer startup centered on meals, magnificence and private care merchandise, had raised a complete of $292.5 million since its inception in 2016, in accordance with Crunchbase information.

SoftBank Vision Fund led its final funding spherical, a $240 million Series C, which valued the corporate at $500 million, in accordance with Crunchbase. At that point, our former editor-in-chief Alex Wilhelm identified the truth that it was “a huge check at a large cost in equity terms.”

New Enterprise Associates led its $35 million Series B in July 2017, a spherical that additionally included participation from NBA participant Stephen Curry, GV, Scooter Braun, and Cowboy Ventures, amongst others.

Back in 2017, Crunchbase News sat down with Tina Sharkey, co-founder and CEO of Brandless, to speak about how the corporate wished to get rid of the inefficiency of the model tax whereas altering the way in which folks store and reside.


It was certain to occur ultimately. With all its misteps over the previous couple of years, SoftBank was certain to have a portfolio firm shut down.

The information that Brandless has shuttered is just not fully surprising, contemplating that final June, it received a brand new CEO amidst “turmoil” inside the firm, in accordance with TechCrunch.

Looks like Brandless’ imaginative and prescient of $three house items simply couldn’t sustain with the steep competitors from rivals like Amazon. In reality, quickly after it received that huge money infusion from SoftBank, the startup’s technique appeared to alter. According to TechCrunch’s Connie Laizos, in January 2019, the “company added baby and pet products to its stable of offerings, some of them at a $9 price point.”

In a press release to Protocol, Brandless blamed a “fiercely competitive” retail market that was “unsustainable” for its enterprise.

The information is the newest in a string of dangerous publicity for SoftBank. In January, we reported on how SoftBank-backed Colombian supply unicorn Rappi had been hit with a commerce secrets and techniques lawsuit. Also in January, we coated how two SoftBank-funded startups have been within the information for both confirmed or rumored layoffs: Rappi had laid off lots of of workers, in accordance with Axios. And Bloomberg printed an article that low cost lodging supplier Oyo Hotels reportedly was “firing thousands of staff across China and India.”

That adopted pizza-making robotic startup Zume, additionally backed by SoftBank, shedding 53 p.c of its workers.

SoftBank, a Japanese funding conglomerate, has been accused of overinflating valuations with its fats checks, and it’s not ending properly for a lot of corporations. But the apply of investing an excessive amount of, maybe too quickly, could also be catching up with SoftBank. Earlier this yr, Axios additionally reported that SoftBank is slicing its ties with startup investments, even after signing time period sheets.

In reality, SoftBank’s heavy-handed check-writing is main traders and startups alike to rethink sky-high valuations in favor of a path to profitability.

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