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The Rise of Clean Beauty

The Rise of Clean Beauty
September 22, 2021

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The beauty industry is booming, as masks have generally come off. All of those hours spent watching TikTok skincare tutorials came in handy. The sector now worth $511BN is expected to grow to $784.6BN by 2025. For a particular segment of consumers, there is a growing demand for what has been coined “clean beauty,” i.e., products that mindfully remove toxins and chemicals known to have adverse effects on the body (ahem–formaldehyde). Nearly 50% of all cosmetic consumers have purchased a clean beauty product, and 60% saying they will pay more for a product with clean ingredients. Some would say Gwenyth Paltrow's often-mocked company Goop has had something to do with this trend.

Snake Oil or Way of the Future?
Admittedly, the industry lacks regulation from the FDA, leaving it to the product companies themselves to self-edit whether their products are truly clean. Consumers often take regulation into their own hands, either decoding ingredient lists themselves or using resources like INCI Decoder to analyze product ingredients. Meanwhile, there is a growing body of companies providing plant-based active ingredients to replace some heavy offenders. The EU has banned 1,000 ingredients commonly used in beauty products, while the US has only banned 11, making the EU the standard for clean beauty rigor.

Here are several brands leading the pack in clean industry growth:

💅🏿 Versed is a clean beauty brand on a mission to democratize clean beauty. The products are sold at a reasonable price point in Target stores across the country. Moreover, Versed just launched a second brand called MERIT, a makeup brand with a higher-end appeal comparable to Glossier. As of Tuesday, Versed closed its website for the day to direct all traffic to Code Red for Climate, an initiative to call on elected officials for critical climate solutions. A brand subverting sales to take a stand may just register with their ideal customer.

💄 Credo Beauty is the e-commerce epicenter of clean beauty products, showcasing the best & brightest in clean beauty standard brands. The brands featured on Credo's site exemplify some of the best in modern product design. The company was acquired by the private equity firm Nextworld Evergreen who emphasizes social responsibility in the portfolio.

💮 NakedPoppy uses AI to assess a consumer’s needs and preselect clean beauty items for the consumer's choosing. (writer’s note: in testing out the AI quiz, I nearly bought a tinted moisturizer I don’t need…) The 2017 San Francisco company was valued at $30MM after multiple seed rounds.

✨ Beautycounter has an extensive clean beauty product line generating nearly half a billion dollars in revenue. The Carlyle Group purchased the company in April, 2021. Once again, BC exhibits the clean beauty trend as being on the cutting edge of design in both product and experiential design.

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Since last week, PrivCo has added:

898 Companies | 135 Funding Activities | 73 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights: raises $3.7MM from Founders Fund

Diabetes Telehealth • Seed • Encinitas, CA

Flippa raises $11MM from OneVentures 

Business Marketplace • Round A • Delray Beach, FL

Altana AI raises $15MM in May from GV

Trade Logistics • Round A • New York, NY

3Gtms raises $15MM from Sumeru Equity Partners

Logistics • Equity • Shelton, CT

Blueground raises $140MM from WestCap group

Short-Term Rental • Equity • New York, NY

Blueground raises $40MM from Silicon Valley Bank

Short-Term Rental • Debt • New York, NY

Flywheel raises $22MM from 8VC

Data Management • Round C • Minneapolis, MN

Sorare raises $680MM from SoftBank Vision Fund

NFT • Round B • Paris, France

Airwallex raises $200MM from Lone Pine Capital 

Fintech • Round E • Melbourne, Australia

Lightricks raises $130MM from Insight Partners 

Photo Editing Software • Round D • Jerusalem, Israel


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