Founded in 2007, Julep is a fast-growing omnichannel beauty brand that takes a social approach to product development. The brand, which is perhaps best known for its monthly beauty box delivery program, has raised $30 million in Series C financing.
New investors Azure Capital, Madrona Venture Group and Altimeter Capital, as well as existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Maveron, participated in the round. The new investment brings Julep's total venture funding to $56 million.
"Julep combines tech savvy, a next-generation distribution model and beauty industry know-how in one fast-growing package," said Mike Kwatinetz, general partner of Azure Capital Partners. "It's the only beauty brand to truly leverage crowdsourcing and social feedback to create new makeup and skincare products."
The new funding comes at a time of tremendous growth for the company, which saw revenues from e-commerce sales triple in 2013. Julep will use the new funds to continue its rapid pace of e-commerce innovation.
Leveraging crowd-sourced product development, Julep says that it brings products to market 10 times faster than traditional beauty brands. Julep invites customer feedback via online focus groups, real-world brainstorming sessions, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest — and then integrates this feedback into the development process to launch more than 300 nail polishes, skincare products, color cosmetics and beauty tools per year.
“Julep has truly figured out how to deeply engage women where they already are — social, mobile and Web — and leverage those channels to bring customers into the product innovation process,” said Julie Sandler, principal at Madrona Venture Group. "You simply don’t see this anywhere else in the beauty category, and Julep’s customers are certainly responding. We are excited to support Jane and her bold vision to build the world’s most vibrant, powerful beauty brand.”
Unlike traditional beauty companies, Julep embraces technology development concepts like A/B testing, iterative processes, and agile development for laser-efficient product creation. In May, Julep will release The Plié Wand, a first-of-its-kind nail polishing tool created and funded by Julep customers that promises to revolutionize the at-home manicure experience.
“As an early investor, we’ve witnessed first-hand the incredible vision CEO Jane Park has brought to this one-of-a-kind e-commerce company, and we’re thrilled to re-invest in Julep’s future,” said Jason Stoffer, partner at Maveron. “Julep is one of the only consumer companies that really understands the omnichannel model, driving incredible sales growth via a mixed e-commerce, subscription, and retail model.”
"The retail industry is in the midst of huge creative disruption, and e-commerce companies that leverage software and big data to transform the shopping experience are the ones that will survive and thrive," said Jeff Jordan, partner at Andreessen Horowitz. "The global brands of tomorrow will be built online, and we're thrilled to back a trailblazing company that's bringing innovation to the enormous beauty market."