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Drunk Elephant Secures Round of Funding

March 7, 2017
March 7, 2017
Drunk Elephant

With Drunk Elephant acquisition rumors flying last fall, founder Tiffany Masterson told WWD in October, “We’ve been in talks with private equity and strategic partners, and we’re assessing that need right now. We’re coming close to a conclusion. We’ll possibly bring in some sort of investment partner simply because we need help handling the intense growth.” Looks like the brand made a decision to grow before a sale to a strategic partner, securing a round of investment that includes funding from San Francisco-based private equity firm VMG Partners and Man Repeller's Leandra Medine.

WHO: Houston-based Drunk Elephant launched in 2013 as a tightly edited range of efficacious "clean" formulations and Instagram-friendly packaging. Today it's one of the fastest-growing lines in Sephora.

WHY: The new investment will fund international expansion and the infrastructure to scale the brand. There are two more products that will launch this year, with three more already completed and set to launch in 2018.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: This week in an exclusive interview, Masterson told WWD, “It’s a new chapter. It’s a new level. We’re just going to go into a new phase with big changes and exciting stuff on the horizon. The company is still a majority family-owned company…. [We] eliminated the strategics [companies as potential investors] right off the bat — not forever, but for now. The company is too young. We have more to do and I’m not ready to sell the company.”  “I found Tiffany’s message of clean clinical as something that resonated for me. It’s refreshing, compelling, and simple,” said Robin Tsai, principal at VMG Partners, noting that although the team has been actively looking in the beauty category for some time, the firm’s investments in the past “haven’t been exactly analogous.” Among them: Kind Inc., Babyganics, and nut butter company Justin’s, the latter two acquired last year by S.C. Johnson and Hormel, respectively.

DETAILS:

  • Tiffany Masterson, founder of Drunk Elephant, and Robin Tsai, principal at VMG, both declined to comment on specifics surrounding the deal but confirmed that paperwork was signed March 1.
  • Leandra Medine reached out to Masterson’s publicist six months ago and expressed interest in getting involved with the brand—as an investor, not as an influencer.
  • Financo, Drunk Elephant’s banker, advised on the deal.
  • According to WWD, an industry source with knowledge of Drunk Elephant’s business said the brand did sales of between $25 million and $30 million at retail last year, with revenues on track to double in 2017 following the addition of markets such as Canada and Australia.
  • Last fall, a spokeswoman for Sephora confirmed that Drunk Elephant is one of the fastest-growing skincare companies in the retailer’s history.

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