We are pleased to share with you our TRAUB monthly news roundup from January 2019.
January was a month of high activity across M&A and capital raises. The digital natives took in some major funding: Postmates and Hims both raised $100M, Pill Club, Madison Reed and Outdoorsy each raised $50M, Billie took in $25M and Birdies $8M. In addition, Unilever announced its acquisition of The Laundress to boost its cleaning business. Google acquired Fossil's smartwatch technology for $40M and LVMH took a minority stake in Gabriela Hearst. We anticipate 2019 to continue at this pace of high activity across public and private markets. Both Pinterest and The RealReal are reportedly in talks with banks for a 2019 IPO, as are several other high profile consumer companies such as Peloton, Uber and Lyft which are expected to go out this year. In addition, Drunk Elephant is rumored to be exploring sale options.
This month we also saw many companies announce new business categories they were expanding to. Shopify is launching a production house for streaming network content. Conde Nast launched Vogue Business. Net-a-Porter launched a multibrand luxury kids collection. Brandless moved into pet and baby products, as well as a subscription option for consumers. Nike released its first dedicated yoga line. And Bevel, off the heals of their recent acquisition by P&G, expanded into skincare.
Sustainability continues to be at the forefront of discussion, for companies big and small. Digital native bra company Harper Wilde announced a partnership with For Days to encourage women to send in old bras where they will be recycled and turned into new product. Nestle announced eliminating all plastic straws from its products beginning this February and transitioning its Nesquik brand from plastic to paper. J. Crew debuted a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, in which it buys back old pairs of denim to be recycled for the housing company. The brand offers $20 per pair of jeans to incentivize consumers to partake. Finally, Tiffany announced a transparency initiative around its diamond sourcing.
Finally, we saw several C-suite executives leave their positions. Jim Gold, longtime President and Chief Merchandising Officer at Neiman Marcus announced his departure. Mickey Drexler stepped down as Chairman of J. Crew, and both Express CEO David Kornberg and Rag & Bone CEO Stephanie Strack left their respective positions.
If you don't already, follow us on Instagram @traub.io as we highlight some of our favorite brands and concepts and take you with us on our retail safaris in NYC and beyond.