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Beautycounter Adds Chanel-Linked Firm Mousse Partners as Strategic Investor

The clean beauty brand, known for its extensive list of banned chemicals and network of peer-to-peer sales consultants, announced a new round of funding said to total about $65 million at a $400 million valuation.
Beautycounter | Source: Courtesy
By
  • Chantal Fernandez

LOS ANGELES, United States — Clean beauty leader Beautycounter has secured more funding and a new strategic investor.

Mousse Partners Limited, the family office run by Charles Heilbronn, half-brother to Chanel's Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, is leading a new fundraising round that includes participation from TPG Growth, which led a $21.3 million investment in 2014. The company joins Mousse Partners's portfolio of investments, which includes specialty beauty retailer Ulta, as well as Bonobos, Paddle9 and One Kings Lane. Parker Hayden, managing director and head of U.S. private equity at Mousse, will join Beautycounter's board of directors.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Bloomberg reports the company raised about $65 million, valuing the company at about $400 million, according to a source close to the company. In 2017, market sources estimate the company generated $225 million in revenue.

“We are excited to work with Mousse and benefit from their deep strategic, operational and sector expertise,” says chief executive Gregg Renfrew in a statement. “They will be instrumental in helping us accelerate our growth as the leader in not only the safe beauty space, but the beauty industry as a whole.”

Prior to this transaction, Beautycounter had raised a total of nearly $42 million, most recently adding $13 million from 33 undisclosed parties in 2016.

Beautycounter was founded by Renfrew, a serial entrepreneur who sold bridal registry company Wedding List to Martha Stewart Living in 2001. The clean beauty brand launched in 2013 with an extensive list of banned chemicals, making it a leader in the safe cosmetics market. It is also distinguished by its peer-to-peer selling model that leverages a network of consultants, now numbering over 25,000 independent salespeople, who earn about 25 percent of each sale and remain the brand’s largest sales channel. Products can also be found on its e-commerce site and had been previously available through partnerships with retailers such as Target — for which it created a second collection — and J.Crew.

Beautycounter plans to use the new capital to invest in a “more robust” omnichannel business, as well as technology and digital and brand marketing. The company has not yet spent any money on traditional advertising.

With several rounds of funding under its belt, Beautycounter may consider other ways to satisfy investors than selling for a significant price or going public. In summer 2016, Beautycounter’s parent company Counter Brands acquired the natural line founded by Bono and wife Ali Hewson, Nude Skincare, from LVMH. More clean beauty acquisitions, a kind of clean beauty conglomerate, could be part of its future plans.

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