Weekly News Update // Week of July 13, 2020

Here's TRAUB's roundup of recent retail news. Amazon influencer program opens to live streamers for broadcasting to Amazon Live, Coronavirus-hit retailers create new curbside shopping experiences, early-stage investors flock to clean makeup, and more. 


  • Thrasio Gets Its Horn: $260M Series C Round Provides $1B Valuation Crunchbase
  • Sony Invests $250M In ‘Fortnite’ Maker Epic Games Crunchbase 
  • Identity platform, Auth0 Raises $120M Crunchbase
  • Medly Pharmacy Lands $100M Series B For Prescription Delivery Platform Crunchbase 
  • GYANT Raises $13.6M Series A From Wing Venture Capital Crunchbase 
  • Goldman-backed startup Bond raises $32M to let any company offer banking Forbes
  • Ergatta Lands $5M Seed Round To Advance Connected Rower Crunchbase 


Amazon Influencer Program Opens to Live Streamers For Broadcasting to Amazon Live

Amazon is giving live streamers a new way to earn commissions on purchases of products showcased in their streams. The company is today adding live streaming to its existing Amazon Influencer Program, which before today, allowed social media influencers to earn money by pointing fans to their favorite Amazon products through posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The Influencer Program quietly debuted in 2017 as a way for Amazon to capitalize on the growing trend of influencer marketing as a way to drive sales. The program itself is a step up from the Amazon Associates program, as it requires approval to join and gives influencers their own page with an Amazon URL to showcase their recommendations. Techcrunch


Coronavirus-Hit Retailers Create New Curbside Shopping Experiences

Some stores are trying to turn window shopping into real business during the coronavirus pandemic. Although government restrictions have loosened since the start of the pandemic, many stores in so-called nonessential sectors still aren’t letting customers inside, whether by official order or the owner’s decision. Those that welcome shoppers through the doors still often limit foot traffic to maintain social distancing. The result has been a brutal period for retailers.For many stores, curbside pickup of online purchases has been a lifeline. But a few are going a step farther, building up their window displays and adding colorful touches to sidewalk services to bring back some of the serendipity and fun of pre-pandemic shopping. WSJ

The Calm Meditation App is Getting its Own Celebrity-Filled HBO Max show

Meditation apps have been a nice tech-centric respite for many, as the world continues to fall apart at the seams. HBO Max is hoping to build on that success with the launch of a new show based on the wildly popular Calm app. It is, thankfully, neither drama nor workplace comedy (HBO’s already done the startup thing), but rather a different format more inline with what you’ll get on the app. Formatted as a season of 10 half-hour episodes, the show is loosely built around Calm’s sleep Stories series, with visuals from the producers of National Geographic’s One Strange Rock documentary series. That serves as the backdrop to “scientifically-engineered narratives” read by a pretty solid cast of Hollywood A-Listers, including Mahershala Ali, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Lucy Liu, Cillian Murphy and Keanu Reeves. TechCrunch



Farfetch Scores Exclusive Fenty Partnership

Farfetch has scored an exclusive tie-in with Rihanna’s Fenty label, WWD has learned. The retail giant will become the only online retailer stocking Fenty outside the label’s own e-commerce channel. The announcement coincides with the brand’s new summer drop, dubbed Release 6-20, and will be making its debut today. “We’ve long admired Fenty’s innovative approach to luxury fashion retail and the way they champion inclusivity for customers. Fenty was looking for a retail partner to double down on its digital-first business model and, with our global customer base and industry-leading platform model, it’s an ideal opportunity to work together,” said Giorgio Belloli, chief commercial and sustainability officer at Farfetch. WWD


Muji’s U.S. Business Declares Bankruptcy

Muji USA filed for bankruptcy on Friday, the latest retailer to take a hit from the coronavirus. The U.S. offshoot of the Japanese brand, known for its stationery, home goods, and clothing, said it was restructuring its business in order to “ensure the future health, growth, and viability of the company.” Muji’s international operations, and its Japanese headquarters, will not be impacted by this decision.“Muji has felt the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on in-store retail,” Santoshi Okazaki, CEO of Muji USA, said in a statement. Fast Company 



Early-Stage Investors Flock to Clean Makeup

With a fresh round of financing, clean makeup brand Kosas has an aggressive growth plan. The brand, best known for blending skin care and makeup to develop cult products like Tinted Face Oil, $42, has raised a series B round, led by Stripes Group. Existing big-name investors, including Scooter Braun’s TQ Ventures, Leandra Medine and Abe Cohen, and Arielle and Brandon Charnas, have also re-upped and invested in the latest round of capital. Other series A investors — CircleUp, Beechwood Capital and Imaginary Ventures — also participated in the series B. Kosas has been growing rapidly. Industry sources said the business was up more than 400 percent for 2019, bringing total retail sales to around $20 million. Projections for 2020 show the business nearly tripling, industry sources said, to between $50 million and $60 million in retail sales. WWD



  • Virgin Galactic brings on Disney Parks leader Michael Colglazier as new CEO TechCrunch
  • Ted Sarandos named co-CEO at Netflix TechCrunch
  • Prada Group Appoints New Group Communications Director, Christopher Bugg BoF
  • Giambattista Valli taps new CEO from Louis Vuitton, Charlotte Werner BoF