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Monzo Seeks Money from SoftBank; Encantos Raises to Expand Multicultural Media and Products

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DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer and challenger brands. In today’s edition: Monzo seeks money from SoftBank; Encantos raises to expand multicultural media and products; and Holly and Beau is funding on Seedrs. 

Monzo seeks money from SoftBank

Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield met senior executives of SoftBank Vision Fund as the company seeks to raise as much as £100m (USD$131m) to expand the startup. 

Monzo is now valued at more than USD$2.5bn having received £113m in new equity capital in 2019. The online-only bank said it has 3.6 million customers and 1,500 employees. 

SoftBank’s future investments are likely to come from its second Vision Fund. Its first fund had invested in WeWork and Uber Technologies. In December it was announced that the neobank has been in talks with new and existing investors since raising £113m (USD$148m) in equity capital in June — a round that boosted its valuation to £2bn (USD$2.6bn), doubling its October 2018 value. And Monzo could be approaching an even bigger Series G round in 2020. 

Monzo’s breadth of banking services, depth of mobile budgeting capabilities, and fee-free foreign transactions have made it a market leader among UK neobanks.

Encantos raises to expand multicultural media and products

Encantos, the direct-to-consumer education and entertainment company, has raised USD$2m in seed funding to help build and expand the brand’s line of products and services for younger multicultural generations.

Founded in 2015, Encantos designs products, entertainment and educational materials that aim to fit the evolution of jobs and demographics in the US. The funding, led by Kapor Capital, also comes from a number of notable individuals including Facebook CMO Antonio Lucio,  and Medialink CEO Michael Kassan. 

While many DTC brands tend to stay focused on one or a few key products before branching out, CEO Wolfe Pereira said the company wants to be “wherever the parents and kids want to be.” Encantos starts each brand with books, but will soon include a subscription-based app and DTC products and services for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic kids.

Holly and Beau is funding on Seedrs

Holly and Beau, the curators of children’s clothes that change colour in the rain, is raising on Seedrs.

The business initially sought to raise £70k, though has already raised over £80k. Its pre-money valuation was £2.4m. Holly and Beau, although headquartered in the UK, is a global business, with the company’s main markets located in the USA, South Korea, Australia and Europe.

The main use of the proceeds will be marketing and brand awareness. The business set aside 70% of the raise to build these areas, and to develop the DTC sales channel via the Holly and Beau website. Meanwhile, the company is also looking to increase the rate of new product development, launching a range of colour changing swimwear. 

Holly and Beau have big plans for 2020 beyond the raise, with a license with a South Korean distributor coming later in the year. The hope is that a strong brand in South Korea will grow the brand in other major Asian markets such as Japan and China.

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