The Series A round, led by True Beauty Ventures with participation from Fable Investments and media company WME, will aid the brand — which sells sleek vibrators, candles that melt into massage oils and body washes — in growing its team, product assortment and content vertical, as well as further positioning itself as a leader within the beauty and wellness space.
The Dakota Johnson-endorsed start-up, founded in 2018, already raised a $3.7 million seed round in November 2020, and is pursuing additional funding after struggling to keep up with demand following a year of growth. The company saw 110 percent revenue growth year-over-year between 2019 and 2020. Goicochea says the company’s sales were hindered by the fact that since February 2020, at least one of its products was out of stock.
“We were really keen to have a group of investors who understood omni-channel and where we want it to go as a brand,” founder and chief executive Éva Goicochea said, pointing to True Beauty’s focus in the beauty industry (where the start-up sees itself positioned, calling sexual wellness the “last frontier” in personal care), as well as Fable, the recently-launched venture capital arm of Natura & Co., parent company of Aesop and The Body Shop.
Maude hopes to grow the content side of its business, a huge traffic driver to the site — receiving upwards of 1 to 1.5 million impressions a month, as compared with a third to a fourth of that volume on the commerce side.
“We want to make sure that people recognise that the content we’re creating is not just about selling a product, it’s actually about creating resources for them,” said Goicochea.
The news comes as the sexual wellness industry heats up in the post-pandemic era. One of Maude’s retail partners, Bloomingdales, just launched a sex-shop vertical in late May as a bevvy of new and stylish sex and sex-tech products came to market over the course of 2020 and into 2021. Other DTC sexual wellness brands, like Dame Products, have closed funding rounds of their own this year, and more fashion and beauty-centric brands like Goop have launched vibrators of their own.
With its new capital injection, Maude is also plotting expansion into more international markets and onto the shelves of additional retailers. The company does an estimated 80 percent of its sales through direct-to-consumer channels, and its products can be found at Nordstrom, Saks.com, and soon, Ssense.
Notably, Maude’s board will be entirely female and majority Latina, as Cristina Nuñez of True Beauty and Paola Felipak of Fable take seats.
“They understood what I was building and they could also empathise and ... it’s great to have these female voices at the table who are advocating for a company that is advocating for all,” said Goicochea.