Economy

Retail startup Brandless, backed by SoftBank, is shutting down

Retail startup Brandless, backed by SoftBank, is shutting down”

Public Goods has grown much more slowly than Brandless. On July 31, 2018, the massive SoftBank Vision Fund invested US$ 240 million in Brandless via Series C round, which valued the company at just over US$ 500 million.

The San Francisco-based company announced that it's stopping operations on its website, where it sold generic discount consumer goods from snacks and vitamins to shave gel and body wash. "I'm confident the next great brands of tomorrow will be built from this experience".

As has happened in numerous companies backed by Vision Fund, including Wag and more recently WeWork, it also meant an executive restructuring.

"After more than two unbelievable years of bringing customers across the country better for you and better for the planet products, Brandless is halting operations". The company is cutting all of its staff except for about 10 employees, who will say on to fulfill outstanding orders, handle customer questions and the like.

More news: China records 'sudden' spike in new cases, new diagnostic methods fuel concerns

Brandless launched in 2017 selling private-label household and personal care products at low prices. Shoppers are no longer able to place orders on the site. "While the Brandless team set a new bar for the types of products consumers deserve and at prices they expect, the fiercely competitive direct-to-consumer market has proven unsustainable for our current business model", it reads.

Insiders are saying that Paul Singer's New York City hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. has collected a stake in SoftBank Group Corp. of close to $3 billion.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son's judgment was questioned in the past, and he has had to apologize for his track record.

Half the Vision Fund's investment into Brandless came up front, but a promised second tranche never arrived as the company struggled to hit targets while building out its own warehouse and distribution network. Co-founder Tina Sharkey stepped down as CEO last spring, and the company pivoted to selling CBD, or cannabidiol, products, which tap an ingredient in cannabis to help lessen anxiety and promote better sleep.



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