Beauty Brand Founders Are Navigating a Male-dominated VC World – WWD

Final month, Marcia Kilgore raised a $100 million spherical for Beauty Pie. Earlier this 12 months, Amy Errett raised $52 million for Madison Reed. Nyakio Grieco raised $1 million in a family and friends spherical for 13 Lune, and Babba Rivera raised $2 million in seed funding for Ceremonia.

These founders are amongst a gaggle of feminine beauty entrepreneurs who’ve waded into comparatively new territory — the male-dominated enterprise capital world — to safe the cash to develop their companies. Broadly, ladies stay severely underfunded by enterprise capitalists, knowledge from Pitchbook reveals. And solely about 4.9 p.c of U.S.-based VC companions are ladies, in keeping with a report by Ladies in VC.

To date in 2021, feminine founders within the U.S. have raised $6 billion in 575 completely different VC offers, in keeping with Pitchbook. It might sound like rather a lot, however that determine represents a small fraction of the out there capital. In 2020, feminine founders raised $4.3 billion in 686 offers — solely 2.9 p.c of the overall VC raised that 12 months, and proportionally lower than ladies had raised the prior 12 months, when 4.5 p.c of VC {dollars}, about $6.3 billion, went to feminine founders, in keeping with Pitchbook.

Whereas Kilgore, Errett and others have discovered success elevating VC cash with the appropriate traders, the method usually consists of added complexities for feminine entrepreneurs, and may typically be tinged with bias. VC checks are sometimes written by males who aren’t nicely acquainted with the wonder class, which implies founders should usually do further explaining in pitch conferences. Whereas a number of magnificence founders interviewed for this story mentioned that they had a tough time elevating from ladies VCs, and wound up with primarily male traders, as a substitute.

Errett — who has labored on either side as a magnificence founder and a enterprise capitalist — acknowledged that there’s incessantly problem explaining the wonder class to male VCs. “The relevancy to a man, or the understanding of the emotion or underlying thesis of the enterprise, shouldn’t be as simple to elucidate as it’s to a girl investor,” she mentioned.

Feminine magnificence founders who’ve efficiently raised have recommendation for fellow entrepreneurs: Look out for the pink flags, which may seem in lots of kinds, from the paperwork to interpersonal exchanges.

Whereas fundraising, Rivera, the style influencer and entrepreneur behind Ceremonia hair care, discovered herself in a dialog with a person who suggested her to not have youngsters in the course of the first 5 years of her enterprise, with out understanding that she was within the early phases of a being pregnant, she mentioned. 

“The query of do you might have youngsters, and if you happen to ought to or shouldn’t have youngsters, I don’t really feel like that’s ever been on the desk relating to being a male founder,” mentioned Rivera, who now has a younger daughter and a fast-growing model.

One other potential investor provided to deal with enterprise operations so she may do “the enjoyable stuff.” 

“That was so sexist. I don’t know what makes him assume that I don’t assume enterprise is enjoyable. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a businesswoman. I really like enterprise,” Rivera mentioned.

Jules Miller, founding father of The Nue Co., had one potential investor who flaked on conferences, and as soon as stood up her group throughout due diligence at a lab. “This individual didn’t worth our time, and actually didn’t present any respect for us,” Miller mentioned.

Tina Hedges, founding father of Loli Magnificence, was advised she had “an excessive amount of expertise.”

“That was their angle — that you simply needed to be younger and inexperienced to have that imaginative and prescient and the wherewithal to disrupt the {industry}. I’m 100% certain there was gender bias in there as nicely. It was my age, and it was my gender,” Hedges mentioned.


Diarrha N’Diaye, a Glossier veteran, noticed her former colleagues efficiently elevating cash for his or her pre-launch companies, however wasn’t discovering success elevating capital for her personal, Ami Colé, in 2018. “I couldn’t assist however assume it was due to [prospective investors] not having proximity to this cohort, which is ladies of coloration,” she mentioned. She raised $1 million in funding from Imaginary Ventures (cofounded by style entrepreneur Natalie Massenet) and excessive internet price people, and launched the model this 12 months.

Founders additionally suggested fellow entrepreneurs to ensure they keep management, and to not let traders demand board seats and management over selections like hiring and product growth.

Odile Roujol, a former L’Oréal government turned VC investor, mentioned she helps entrepreneurs concentrating on funds with a historical past of magnificence investments and partnering with companies who will help them turn out to be worthwhile. She additionally advises feminine founders to not be “shy” with presenting monetary figures. “Be real looking, however on the identical time, present your imaginative and prescient,” she mentioned.

Kilgore, who simply secured what she describes as an “optimistic and beneficiant valuation” along with her $100 million Collection B, advises founders to associate — and preserve partnering — with VCs who’re actually behind them. “When you have any person who’s such an ideal associate to you, and so they’re actually doing all the pieces they will to see you succeed and allow you to and help you at each flip, you possibly can definitely go and look to any person else, however higher is the enemy typically of fine.”

The fundraising local weather has developed, even over the previous few years.

Again when Grieco was attempting to lift capital for her prior enterprise, Nyakio Magnificence, greater than a decade in the past, she mentioned moving into the room with traders was “a problem, even after having a confirmed idea of a profitable magnificence model.”

She mentioned she sees progress at this time as she fundraises for her retail idea 13 Lune, however that navigating the online of VCs who’ve pledged to dedicate funds to various founders can nonetheless be tough.

“It may well nonetheless be fairly difficult relating to bigger, conventional VCs,” Grieco mentioned, including that there’s usually “confusion” round how these funds are being dispersed. “After I actually dug in to pitch my thought or attempt to get entry to that capital, it’s nonetheless fairly limiting,” she mentioned. | Magnificence Model Founders Are Navigating a Male-dominated VC World – WWD


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