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Blanka raises $2M seed round to grow its beauty and wellness platform
The two-year-old startup wants to service a quarter of the $430B global beauty market.
Vancouver-based Blanka, a private-label beauty and wellness platform, announced today it has closed a USD $2 million seed funding round.
The investors: The oversubscribed round was led by Dundee Venture Capital, with participation from Storytime Capital and Disruption Ventures, as well as other investors including Fatima Yusuf — former executive at Shopify — and Manica Blain, a consumer-focused investor and founder of Top Knot Ventures.
The product: Founded in 2021 by Kaylee Astle, Doug Long, and Adam Chuntz, Blanka enables new beauty brands to be launched in under an hour, for less than $200. Users can upload their logo to their own branded product line, add those products to their online shop, and have customer’s orders drop-shipped automatically to their homes. The company’s goal is to do away with high manufacturing minimums, long production lead times, and analogue order forms.
The context: “The industry has seen a fundamental shift in the last decade, from being owned by a few global players towards a more diverse set of direct-to-consumer brands. Independent brands have now captured more than 25 percent of the global beauty industry,” said Kaylee Astle, co-founder and CEO of Blanka, in a statement.
She personally experienced the challenges of trying to launch her own beauty brand, which led her to build the company. “This has created a wave of entrepreneurs, content creators, and beauty professionals all hungry to enter the market with their own brand, but there hasn’t been anything to support them — until now,” she said.
Available to anyone with an idea, Blanka’s platform is meant to help beauty brand entrepreneurs with a one-stop-shop, from product procurement and personalization all the way to fulfillment.
The bigger picture: “The beauty industry continues to evolve, but one thing that has remained constant is the market’s exponential growth over the years, even amidst economic cycles. The success of this fundraising round, especially in this market, underscores that the beauty industry is bulletproof,” said Glenn Baptiste, former L’Oréal executive and advisor to Blanka. “Blanka's platform will unlock faster innovation for brands at all sizes. I’m excited about what’s to come — for both Blanka and what this means for the beauty industry broadly.”
The growth story: The investment announced today comes after 12 months of steady growth for the startup, which claims it now has thousands of brands subscribed to the platform, fuelled by organic marketing and integrations with partners like Shopify.
The praise: “Kaylee’s experience in and around launching brands has uniquely positioned their team to develop a platform that is demonstrating impressive and sustained growth,” said Neil Grunberg, managing partner at Storytime Capital. “As we learned more about the business, it was clear that Blanka was a great fit [for] Storytime’s thesis of supporting early-stage companies that can have a massive impact on the future of work.”
Catherine Williams, a partner at Dundee Venture Capital, added in a statement: "The beauty industry may be massive and well-established, but it is still shockingly disjointed and inefficient. Blanka is paving the way for the future of the industry.”
Blanka’s goal is to service independent brands that make up a quarter of the beauty industry. The global beauty market was worth USD $430 billion in 2022, according to consultancy Mckinsey.