The Craftory Invests USD$16m Into Dropps; Blue Apron Considers Selling Itself


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: The Craftory invests USD$16m into Dropps; Blue Apron considers selling itself; and Headspace raises to take on Calm. 

The Craftory invests USD$16m into Dropps 

Home cleaning products company Dropps has announced a USD$16m investment from UK-based fund The Craftory.

The direct-to-consumer brand aims to reduce waste in the home products space by eliminating plastic packaging.

Jonathan Propper, founder and CEO of Dropps said “The Craftory is an ideal partner for our business and I’m humbled by their investment. Their founders and operational team provides more than just money to their portfolio companies. In addition, The Craftory’s revolutionary investment philosophy aligns well with our mission-driven values so we can maintain our triple-bottom line of social, environmental and financial impact.”

Ernesto Schmitt, Co-founder at The Craftory, said: “When a third of all detergents are wasted and with a supply chain built on single-use plastic and unnecessary chemicals, anyone can see that this is an industry crying out for innovation. 

“We were drawn not only to the mission-based approach of the Dropps team but also the ‘no bullshit’, simple approach they take to fixing a broken industry. The ‘find the stupid and remove it’ mantra speaks to our own goal of backing the companies that will transform the world for the better and we couldn’t be prouder to be welcoming them into The Craftory family.”

Blue Apron considers selling itself

Blue Apron is considering selling itself to maximise value for its shareholders. The business, which has been plagued with troubles from a lackluster debut on the public market, to employee lawsuits or layoffs, is also exploring a merger, raising capital through either the public or private markets, selling off assets or some combination of the above.

Blue Apron

In Q4 2019, Blue Apron reported a net revenue decrease of 33% year-over-year, to USD$94.3m. For the full fiscal year of 2019, revenues decreased 32%, to USD$454.9m from USD$667.6m the year prior. Blue Apron attributes this to a decline in customers.

“We continue to believe that we have the right strategy to drive our resumption of growth as we work to launch additional new capabilities and test new product offerings,” Blue Apron CEO Linda Findley Kozlowski said in a press release. “Our strategic alternatives process, together with our cost optimisation initiatives, is intended to best position the company for the future, including to support our growth strategy. These efforts reflect the commitment of the Board, management and myself to doing what’s in the best interest of the business, Blue Apron’s shareholders and other stakeholders.”

Headspace raises to take on Calm

Headspace, the Los Angeles-based mindfulness and meditation company locked in a bitter competitive struggle with Calm for leadership in the mental wellness world, has raised new capital to try to take the pole position.

The company has just closed on USD$93m in new equity and debt financing from a slew of investors as it pursues a number of clinical studies that could provide scientific validation for the somewhat nebulous claims around the benefits associated with mindfulness and meditation.

That clinical validation can also unlock new dollars in the form of government payments for mindfulness therapies that could be used to treat a variety of conditions. It also makes more valid the company’s pitch to companies as a useful component of an employee benefit program.

Headspace’s  new cash comes from investment firm blisce, with participation from Waverly Capital, Times Bridge (the investment arm of The Times Group of India), The Chernin Group, Spectrum Equity and Advancit Capital. A USD$40m debt financing from Pacific Western Bank supplemented the USD$53m in equity.

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