Brandless on Tuesday announced $240 million in Series C funding, led by the SoftBank Vision Fund. Existing investors NEA, Redpoint Ventures, GV and Sherpa Capital also participated, according to a company press release.
SoftBank Investment Advisors Managing Partner Jeffrey Housenbold and Operating Partner Justin Wilson will join the Brandless board of directors, the company said.
Brandless will use the funds to invest more in data science, accelerate the creation and distribution of new products and categories, and invest in its operations and logistics platforms and capabilities, the company also said.
Brandless is benefiting from younger consumers' willingness to try new brands. Its mission is to eliminate the "brand tax" through a direct-to-consumer model. In the past year, the company has increased product assortment at a rapid clip, now offering more than 300 proprietary products at $3 each plus shipping, including a new clean beauty line, and opened a pop-up shop in Los Angeles in April.
The pure-play private-label maker was launched in July 2017, founded by serial entrepreneurs Tina Sharkey and Ido Leffler and incubated by Sherpa Capital. Rachael Vegas, who worked at Target for 15 years, leads the company's product development. Brandless leverages data provided in part by its community, which it fosters through original content ranging from recipes to life hacks and stories of "people doing good in the world," along with machine learning, to develop its products.
Softbank's investment reflects its confidence in the founders. In a statement, Housenbold said the company, headquartered in San Francisco and Minneapolis and selected as Retail Dive's disruptor of the year in 2017, is filling a need not otherwise being met in the current market.
"The packaged goods and retail industries have failed to keep up with consumer preferences," he said. "Brandless is meeting changing demands for an improved experience that offers value, simplicity and products they can believe in. The company's highly data-driven approach enables it to provide a personalized shopping experience and generate compelling unit economics. Tina and Ido are experienced global operators with a unique understanding of the modern consumer and we're thrilled to partner with them."