SEATTLE--()--Julep Beauty Incorporated, one of the fastest growing beauty brands in the U.S., is breaking ground in product innovation and using the power of new ecommerce platforms and social tools in place of traditional marketing. Today Julep announced that it has raised $10.3 million in a Series B round of financing led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from returning investor Maveron, the venture capital firm co-founded by Dan Levitan and Howard Schultz. Existing investors also include Lady Gaga’s Manager, Troy Carter, and Precedent Investments, a joint venture capital fund financed by entertainment powerhouse Overbrook Entertainment’s James Lassiter, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Western Technology Investments and Version One Ventures are also participating.
“For me, beauty is about connection, not competition. So my vision is to bring a new social approach to the beauty industry by having a two-way conversation online with our fans, incorporating their ideas directly into our rapid product innovation cycle.”
“I started Julep out of a passion for connecting with my sisters and girlfriends through beauty,” says Jane Park, CEO and founder. “For me, beauty is about connection, not competition. So my vision is to bring a new social approach to the beauty industry by having a two-way conversation online with our fans, incorporating their ideas directly into our rapid product innovation cycle.”
Park, a former Starbucks executive, has grown Julep as a multichannel beauty brand fueled by digital and social media. Unparalleled innovation and speed-to-market, coupled with vocal social media engagement instead of traditional marketing, have enabled the brand to produce more products in an 18-month span than any other beauty company. The brand’s wildly popular Julep Mavens program is a monthly beauty subscription service that allows consumers to engage directly through new product trial and online discussions.
Today, brands in the *$160 billion a year global beauty industry lag behind other industries in using the social web to build businesses. Park uses the power of e-commerce platforms, big data and social tools to accelerate the growth of the Julep brand. “We don’t have to spend millions of dollars launching a new product—our social media girlfriends are highly engaged consumers who help us get the word out,” says Park. In the last year and a half, Julep has launched 52 new beauty products including mascaras, lip glosses and glycolic scrubs, and 186 nail colors. The number of products launched each month is so impressive because of Julep’s distinctive marketing blueprint: the freedom to operate without the limits of physical shelf space.
In 2012, Julep was recognized as an Indie Brand of the Year finalist in the prestigious 2012 Cosmetic Executive Women Beauty Awards. The company also launched on QVC and in Sephora nationwide as part of the Julep brand’s continued trajectory. This round of Series B financing will help further propel Julep in the beauty space, with innovative launches into the major categories of skin care and color cosmetics already planned for 2013 and 2014.
“Jane, Kate [MacDonald – Chief Experience Officer and COO] and team have leveraged the Internet to build Julep into a compelling brand at a pace previously unheard of in beauty,” said Jeff Jordan, partner, Andreessen Horowitz. “We are delighted to be leading this round of financing that will give the company the resources to continue their impressive traction."
“As direct TV proved to be a launching pad for enduring beauty brands decades ago, we believe new social media channels will be the catalyst for launching the next great multi-channel beauty companies,” says Maveron board member Jason Stoffer, who led Julep’s first institutional round of financing. “Julep is a pioneer in using Facebook, Pinterest and the social web to deeply engage its community of beauty lovers around color and fashion forward beauty products.”
Joining Julep’s Board of Directors is Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow.com. Current Board Members include Jason Stoffer from Maveron and Jeff Kearl, the founder and current chairman of the Board of Skullcandy, and Padma Rao, who led marketing at online gaming company Zynga.
Founded in Seattle, Julep Beauty Incorporated is one of the fastest growing beauty brands. Julep was born from the belief that beauty is about connection; a celebration of the bond between girlfriends. Leveraging the expertise gained in their four boutique nail parlors in the Seattle area, Julep has created a line of the most effective, toxin-free beauty products and the latest limited-run nail colors. The wildly popular Julep Maven beauty subscription program features full sizes of Julep’s growing beauty products offerings, including skin care and color cosmetics. To further their mission of empowering and connecting women, Julep’s Powered by Girlfriends™ project donates a portion of proceeds from every sale to organizations that support women. For more information, please visit www.julep.com. Follow Julep: Twitter @JulepMaven / Facebook https://www.facebook.com/julep/ Pinterest http://pinterest.com/julepmaven/. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJHb6Tgrla4
About Andreessen Horowitz
Andreessen Horowitz is a venture capital firm that provides seed, venture and growth-stage funding to the best new technology companies. Founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz helps entrepreneurs become successful CEOs and build important and enduring companies. Its investing partners are Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, John O'Farrell, Scott Weiss, Jeff Jordan, Peter Levine and Chris Dixon, all widely recognized experts in the creation, scaling and operation of high growth technology companies. The firm has $2.7 billion under management across three funds. Among its 170 investments are Airbnb, Apptio, Box, Fab, Facebook, Foursquare, GitHub, Jawbone, Lytro, Pinterest, Quirky and Twitter. The firm was established in June 2009 and is located in Menlo Park, California. www.a16z.com
Maveron is a venture capital firm that invests exclusively in consumer companies. Founded in 1998 by Dan Levitan and Howard Schultz, the firm has offices in Seattle and San Francisco. Representative Maveron investments include Altius Education, eBay, Capella Education, General Assembly, Shutterfly, Trupanion and zulily. For more information about Maveron, visit www.maveron.com.