Express Checkout #43 - the latest in CPG, Retail, and eComm
Commerce and CPG news from the week of 9/18/2023
I’m fresh off the last-ever ExpoEast with so many new friends, ideas, and oh so many samples. How could it possibly be a bad time to spend four straight days with a bunch of other CPG nerds?
Check out my thoughts and insights in my write-up here! Don’t read it on an empty stomach.
FounderMade’s Innovation Show x Hawkefest on October 19, 2023 in Santa Monica
FounderMade will bring together 1200+ disruptive industry leaders, 100+ exhibitors, and 50+ thought leaders in the CPG & D2C space. See you there!
The Consumer Council: NY #TechWeek on October 16th in NYC.
We found a SICK space, got Michelin Star sushi chefs, and a HUGE swag bag of cool CPG products!
(we still have some sponsorship spots, so please reach out if interested!)
BevNet Live on December 4 - 5, 2023 in Marina Del Ray
This is one of my favorite CPG conferences there is. The BevNet team knows how to put on a show!
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(If you’re reading this email in gmail it might get clipped! You can always view full issues here.)
🔥 Big News - 10 items or less 🔥
Two funds raise a pretty penny
Unfold Ventures, a venture-capital fund backed by Fidelity Investments has recently started with $300 million in funding. The fund is dedicated to investing in companies operating in the health, wellness, beauty, and consumer products sectors. With its initial investments in four startups, Unfold Ventures aims to find young companies that have built a strong and dedicated customer base. FMR's owners, including the wealthy Johnson family, support the fund. (source)
Humble Growth is a newly launched fund with $312 million in funding led by the founders of Orgain® and RXBAR®, along with consumer lawyer Nick Giannuzzi. The fund aims to establish partnerships with purpose-driven founders and has attracted significant funding from notable investors, including Nestlé Health Science, Verlinvest, and other industry players. (source)
The IPOs everyone is talking about
Klaviyo, a marketing automation company, saw its shares rise 9.2% in its NYSE debut after pricing its IPO at $30 per share. The stock closed at $32.76, declining from its opening price of $36.75. Klaviyo's IPO is notable as the first for a U.S. venture-backed software company since late 2021. The company was valued at just over $9 billion on a fully diluted basis and raised $345 million in cash from the offering. Its revenue grew 51% in the latest quarter and reported net income of $10.9 million. Klaviyo's major backer is Shopify, which owns roughly 11% of its shares. (source)
Instacart's shares closed up 12% in its Nasdaq debut after a first-day rally fizzled. And dipped nearly 11% on their second day (9/20/2023) of trading. The grocery delivery company's IPO, priced at $30 per share, valued Instacart at $10 billion, down from its private market valuation of $39 billion during the height of the Covid pandemic. The company reported $114 million in net income in the latest quarter. (source)
Here’s an interview with Instacart’s founder on the IPO
Kraft Heinz has issued a voluntary recall of select Kraft Singles American processed cheese slices due to a potential choking hazard. The recall is precautionary after a temporary issue with a wrapping machine. (source)
🗞️ News from the week (9/18/23 - 9/24/23)
🛍 Retail News
Walmart has opened its first-ever Pet Services center in Dallas, Georgia, offering affordable pet care services such as veterinary care, grooming, and self-serve dog wash. (source)
Target plans to hire nearly 100,000 workers for the holiday season and start offering discounts as early as October. Amazon also announced plans to hire 250,000 workers, while Walmart and Macy's have more cautious hiring plans. Target aims to draw shoppers with items under $25 and a "Deal of the Day" program. (source)
The city of Chicago is partnering with a nonprofit organization to explore the feasibility of opening a city-owned grocery store in an underserved area. (source)
Hy-Vee has launched its own retail media network, Hy-Vee RedMedia. This allows companies to create personalized marketing strategies based on consumer behavior and preferences. (source)
Nopalera, a Latina-owned bath and body care brand, has opened a pop-up store in Los Angeles and launched its first non-bar products, including Cactus Shower Gel and Cactus Cream. The store aims to establish a template for future locations and promote the brand's new products. (source)
If you haven’t tried their products yet I highly recommend it!
Soft Surroundings, a women's apparel retailer, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will be closing all 44 of its stores. Rival Coldwater Creek will acquire the company's remaining assets. (source)
Costco has released its own Monopoly board game, featuring nods to the store such as Gold Star Member "Chance" cards and game tokens in the shape of a slice of pizza and a shopping cart. (source)
🛒 CPG & Consumer Goods News
Fitness brand Bala is launching at Target, bringing its popular Bala Bangles, Bala Bars, and Bala Bands to 1,382 Target stores nationwide. (source)
P.F. Chang's is partnering with Mann Packing Co. to launch salad kits based on their menu in grocery stores. Perkins Restaurant and Bakery is also entering the retail coffee space with its own line of coffees. (source)
Canopy's Filtered Showerhead is now being sold online by Sephora. The showerhead, known for its three-stage filtration system that reduces contaminants, offers clean water for healthier skin and hair. (source)
Rapper Wiz Khalifa has launched Mistercap's mushroom-forward wellness brand, aiming to promote healthy living through natural organic mushrooms. The brand offers at-home grow kits for consumers to experience the entire life cycle of mushrooms and combines artistry and playful branding for an educational culinary journey. (source)
Madhappy has collaborated with Katz's Deli to create a limited-edition capsule collection in celebration of the opening of its seasonal Soho store. (source)
This is a need, not a want 😍
Hidden Valley Ranch and This Little Goat, created by Chef Stephanie Izard, have collaborated to introduce Ranch Chili Crunch. (source)
Hair care brand Redken has launched a new DTC website, allowing customers to purchase products directly from the brand online for the first time. (source)
Target has launched its first kitchen-owned brand, Figmint (not a terrible name), offering over 250 items including cookware, mixing bowls, cutting boards, and kitchen gadgets. With prices starting at $3 and more than half under $10. Figmint products will be available at Target stores and online starting September 24. (source)
They really said I’ll see your Carraway, Made-In, Ourplace and double it
Sneaker startup Atoms is launching its kids' shoe line, Model 123, with a new subscription model. The shoes are designed for kids' comfort and ease of use, and parents can receive new shoes as their children's feet grow. (source)
Shake Shack is partnering with Zero Acre Farms to pilot Zero Acre's sustainable Cultured Oil on select menu items at two locations in New York City. Zero Acre's Cultured Oil is made from rain-fed sugarcane and has a smaller environmental footprint than conventional vegetable oil. (source)
Brain health brand MOSH, founded by Maria Shriver and Patrick Schwarzenegger, has launched a trio of plant-based protein bars in response to consumer demand for vegan options. The bars are formulated with a blend of soy, pea, and pumpkin protein, and flavored with fruit. (source)
Modern Synthesis and GANNI have collaborated to create GANNI's 'Bou Bag' using a leather-alternative produced, in part, by bacteria. The bag, made with nanocellulose (what a word) derived from bacterial fermentation. (source)
Molson Coors and Coca-Cola have collaborated to introduce a new hard tea flavor called Peace Hard Tea. Inspired by the original Peace Tea. (Source)
Connecticut Distributors, Inc. (CDI) has added Via Carota Craft Cocktails and Glenlivet Twist & Mix ready-to-serve cocktails to its portfolio. (source)
Adidas has launched the Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1, a lightweight racing shoe weighing just 138 grams and comes in at a mere $500. (Source)
AeroFarms, an indoor vertical farming company, has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is focusing on its Danville, Virginia farm to accelerate its path to profitability. The company has received approval for its Asset Purchase Agreement with existing investors and has appointed Molly Montgomery as acting CEO. (source)
eStreamly is a startup that offers B2B video commerce software, enabling livestreams and videos to be shoppable across various platforms. The company has raised $450,000 in funding and has relaunched as a white label solution after pilot-testing with over 50 brands. (source)
Gopuff has introduced a discounted membership program called Student Fam, offering college students access to the benefits of its Fam subscription service at a 50% discount. (source)
🏭 Supply Chain & Distribution News
Duluth Trading Company has invested $53 million in an automated distribution and fulfillment center in Adairsville, Georgia. (source)
💸 Funding news
Online grocery delivery company JOKR has secured $50 million in Series D funding, valuing the company at $800 million. (source)
Snack brand LesserEvil has raised approximately $19 million in capital, with $13.5 million going towards offering liquidity to early investors and $5.5 million as a primary transaction. Aria Growth Partners led the round. (source)
REV GUM, an energy gum brand, has raised $6 million in a series A funding round led by YETI Capital, with participation from executives of Whole Foods, Drunk Elephant, and athlete Lance Armstrong. The company, founded by Blake Settle, Sam Ehlinger, and Reed Burch, offers fast-acting caffeinated gum with zero sugar. (source)
Retail Robotics Solutions, a Paris-based provider of AI-driven self-service checkout solutions, has raised $530,000 million in funding, valuing the company at ~$8.5 million. The funding will be used to expand its market presence in Europe and enhance offerings for restaurants and corporate canteens. The company plans to further expand into the US market through anticipated Series A investments by the end of 2023. (source)
Giftpack AI, an AI-powered corporate gifting platform, has completed a seed funding round led by Chang Hai Lin, bringing the total raised to $4.3 million. (source)
Vietnamese edible insect startup Cricket One has closed a series A round for an undisclosed "seven-figure" sum and opened what it claims is Asia's largest cricket processing facility. The facility, located in Binh Phuoc, Vietnam, will initially process 1,000 metric tons of crickets per year, with plans to increase to 10,000 tons over the next five years.(source)
🧐 Interesting reads
How She Built a $360 Million Candy Company at 26 (YouTube - Shelby Church)
We Built Olipop: A $20 Million A Month Soda Company In 5 Years (YouTube - CNBC Make It)
💡 Data, reports, and trends
The State of GenAI & Commerce (Future Commerce)
Low and No 2023 (KAM Insight report)
😋 Brands and things I’ve tried this week
Check out my ExpoEast breakdown! I tried a lot!
Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions, feedback, or stories I missed, let me know!
Got news to share? Let me know!
To read previous issues, check them out here
If you’re looking to sponsor the newsletter please email me!! I can send you a deck.
You can now find me on MentorPass! Book time to talk all things CPG, here!