Grove Collaborative, a subscription startup selling ‘household essentials,’ has been quietly raising a lot of moolah
Grove Collaborative, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that sells household, personal care, baby, children’s and pet products, has been busy raising money in 2018, shows two new SEC filings that lists representatives from the company’s earlier investors, including Mayfield, Norwest Venture Partners and MHS Capital, as well as apparent new investor General Atlantic, represented by partner Catherine Beaudoin.
One of the filings shows that Grove Collaborative, which had already raised roughly $62 million as of the start of 2018, subsequently raised $27.4 million more this year. A separate, second filing shows another $76.4 million has been secured in what looks to be a newer round that’s targeting $125 million. It’s a lot of money for such a young company, which suggests it has found traction with a growing customer base.
We’ve reached out to Grove Collaborative and are waiting to learn more.
As we reported back in January, co-founder Stuart Landesberg started the company after working with retail brands during two years as an associate with TPG Capital, which focuses on growth equity and middle-market private equity transactions. With shelf space limited for brands in brick-and-mortar stores, he saw an opportunity for a startup that prompts consumers to buy the kinds of items they buy over and over again just as they are running out of them: think dish soap, pet food, deodorant, vitamins and sunscreen.
Amazon, of course, similarly prompts its customers to buy such items, but Grove Collaborative is marketing to a slightly narrower demographic, that of people who want only all-natural products. In fact, along with the brands that it make it easier for its customers to find — think Method and Mrs. Meyers — the company began selling its own all-natural products this year. Among the many dozens of offerings it now retails under the Grove Collaborative label: a coconut body lotion, a foaming hand soap, coffee filters, soy candles and lip balm.
The move puts the startup in more direct competition with other e-commerce companies, like the consumer goods company Honest Company, which similarly sells natural products for the home and personal care, though many of its products are now sold on shelves in big retail stores like Target.
Grove Collaborative also looks to be competing more directly now with well-funded Brandless, which raised $240 million from SoftBank’s Vision Fund in summer at a valuation of slightly more than $500 million. Brandless also sells its own all-natural household and personal care products, though, unlike Grove Collaborative, it also focuses on food and, unlike Grove, it offers a subscription service, yet does not revolve around one. Grove is exclusively selling an auto-shipment service.
Grove had previously raised two separate rounds of funding in quick succession: a $15 million Series B round it closed in March of 2017, following by a $35 million Series C round it announced in January of this year.
Given that Landesberg was formerly an investor himself, he may well have realized — as have many founders — that raising money next year may be far harder in 2019 than it has been this year. As the CEO of Zymergen, whose giant funding round we recently featured, told Bloomberg last week: “We wanted to have some fat on our bones for sure . . . The time to raise money is when people are giving it to you.”