Beauty Bakerie makes a family of high quality and ‘cruelty-free’ cosmetics marketed to a millennial customer base.
Unilever is investing capital and mentorship and stands to benefit from Beauty Bakerie’s expanding knowledge of marketing to a younger, millennial demographic that Unilever must develop in-house skills to attract them as future customers.
San Diego-based Beauty Bakerie was founded in 2011 to develop a line of ‘bakery-inspired’ cosmetics for a wide variety of skin tones and ethnicities.
Management is headed by founder and CEO Cashmere Nicole, who graduated from Indiana University.
Below is a brief video about the Beauty Bakerie family of cosmetics:
The firm sells its cosmetics through a number of retail stores worldwide and operates a flagship store in San Diego. It has a significant digital presence as well, having over 400,000 Instagram followers.
Investment Terms and Rationale
Along with Unilever Ventures as lead investor, other investors in the current round included 645 Ventures, Blue Consumer Capital and a number of individual investors such as Kenneth Chenault of American Express (AXP), William Lewis. Co-Chairman of Lazard Ltd. and Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor.
Valuation was undisclosed. Beauty Bakerie has raised $3 million in disclosed funding since inception.
Notably, the funding was closed via the online investment platform of CircleUp, a prominent website for consumer startups seeking early-stage funding.
As Anna Ohlsson-Baskerville of Unilever Ventures stated in the deal announcement:
We have been impressed by Beauty Bakerie’s ecommerce led model and consistent digital growth as well as the strong engagement of the brand’s millennial consumer base. I look forward to working with Cashmere and the management team to build upon the company’s momentum and many growth opportunities.
Unilever has been an active corporate investor in technology startups, investing in dozens of startup companies in recent years as it seeks to refresh its slate of offerings and appeal to a younger demographic worldwide.
The graphic below shows its investment focus by various metrics (click to enlarge),
The graphic indicates that Unilever invests most frequently in Food & Beverage, Healthcare and ecommerce companies. Additionally, it invests across all stages of company development with geographies largely divided between London and the U.S.
The value of a startup developing a relationship with Unilever is that the conglomerate can provide access to a variety of resources, including pilot projects within the company, mentorship and financing for its major areas of interest in Personal Care and Digital Technologies.
Unilever gains inside knowledge of how to build brands that appeal to the next generation of consumers, with its focus on digital-first engagement. Investing capital and time in businesses such as Beauty Bakerie won’t pay off in the short term, but stands to benefit Unilever over the medium and long term.
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