Startup subscription service Billie raises $6M
Female-focused shaving subscription startup Billie, which launched in November of 2017, has finalized a $6 million seed round, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive. The brand is looking to grow as demand builds.
The round was led by Silverton Partners, along with Female Founders Fund and Lakehouse Ventures, the two latter of which are already investors in the company.
According to the press release, the funds will go to "support Billie's continued growth," in terms of both inventory and staff. The e-commerce company raised $2 million in an earlier funding round.
Billie is similar to Dollar Shave Club and Harry's, both of which have found success in the men's personal care department by offering inexpensive and convenient replenishment of razors and shaving cream — essentials that would otherwise have to be picked up in the store every few weeks.
Unlike those companies, Billie caters to women and prides itself on selling feminine razors and other body products without the "Pink Tax" often attached to women's personal care items. The company exceeded its first year of sales projections in less than four months, according to the release, and is experiencing high demand from customers, selling out of products on three separate occasions.
"Billie is standing in front of a huge untapped market," Mike Dodd, general partner at Silverton Partners and soon-to-be board member of Billie, said in the press release. He added that the founders of the company have "created a brand that speaks perfectly to this opportunity."
While the funding round bodes well for the company's future, subscription services are facing headwinds. According to a recent study by McKinsey and Co., close to 40% of subscribers end up canceling their subscriptions and services like Blue Apron have faced issues with long-term growth and retention, with that particular company losing 15% of its customer base recently.
Subscription services that have been managing well despite these headwinds, including Stitch Fix (which grew its client base by 30% in March) and BarkBox (which boasts a 95% retention rate) do so through intense personalization efforts and focus on customer service. BarkBox, for its part, also entered a market that was underserved — something which can no longer be said of apparel.
Billie, likewise, is operating in an underserved market and certainly seems to be cognizant of the gap in razor subscriptions for women, but whether the company will be able to withstand shifts in consumer behavior and preferences going forward remains to be seen.
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