P&G to Acquire Billie; Birchbox France Bought by Co-Founders


DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: P&G to acquire Billie; Birchbox France bought by co-founders; and Lime to leave 12 markets.

P&G to acquire Billie

P&G has acquired women’s shaving products startup Billie. Last January, Billie, a subscription service for shaving and body care products for women, announced a $25 million Series A raise led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing group. The business has raised USD$35m in venture funding to date. 

Billie’s current product portfolio includes razors, shaving cream, body wash and body lotion. The company has made headlines for its efforts to eliminate the “pink tax” on goods marketed to women.

In a statement, P&G said the deal complements its female grooming portfolio, which includes the Venus, Braun and joy brands, “through the combination of strong digital and direct-to-consumer marketing capabilities, a growing range of personal care products, and a fresh, digitally-native brand that is especially appealing to Millennial and Gen Z consumers.”

According to SiliconHills News, Billie donates 1% of its revenue to women’s causes including Every Mother Counts, which focuses on making pregnancy and childbirth safe for women.

Birchbox France bought by co-founders

The French subsidiary of US online subscription beauty kit specialist has Birchbox announced it has been bought by its two co-founders, in partnership with the Otium Capital investment fund. Birchbox was founded in 2010 in the USA, and since 2011 it has been operating in France, where it merged with JolieBox, created by Quentin Reygrobellet and Martin Balas.

Reygrobellet and Balas, respectively the CEO and COO of Birchbox France, “have partnered with Otium Capital to acquire Birchbox France, which has become an independent company,” stated the French company in a press release. Birchbox France added that being independent will help accelerate its expansion, notably relying on “personalisation” by tapping its customer database, and on an increasingly directional selection of partner brands (they are currently 300) for its catalogue.

Birchbox France, 60% of whose revenue comes from subscriptions and 40% from its e-tail site, has been profitable since 2016, according to a spokesperson. In 2020, the company plans to expand in Europe, and is also working to deploy “premium” services in the course of the year.

Lime to leave 12 markets

Scooter startup Lime is set to leave 12 markets as it focuses on profitability.

The news, first reported by Axios, comes after Lime raised more than USD$700m in funding and expanded rapidly. Now that the company is pulling back from markets and trying to become profitable, it will lay off about 14% of its workforce, or about 100 people, Axios reported.

In a post on the Lime website, CEO Brad Bao wrote that the company will be ending U.S. operations in Atlanta, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Diego. Internationally it will leave operations in Linz, Austria, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Puerto Vallarta, Montevideo, Lima, São Paulo and Rio De Janeiro.

Lime has USD$765m in total funding with investors including Andreessen Horowitz and GV. It last raised USD$310m in its Series D in February 2019.

“Part of realising our vision to transform urban mobility is achieving financial independence; that is why we have shifted our primary focus to profitability,” Bao wrote. “While the vast majority of our 120+ markets have adopted micro-mobility transportation solutions quickly and are profitable, there are select communities throughout the world where micromobility has evolved more slowly.”

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