YouTube star Michelle Phan’s beauty startup Ipsy raises $100 million
YouTube celebrity Michelle Phan’s startup Ipsy, which sells monthly subscriptions to “Glam Bags” full of beauty products, has raised $100 million in Series B funding from TPG Growth and Sherpa Capital. The company did not disclose its valuation, but sources familiar with the situation said the round values the company around $800 million.
Most people in the startup world haven’t heard of Ipsy, but everyone in the beauty industry has. The company competes with Birchbox, a startup that techies are more familiar with because it raised funding from traditional venture capital investors from the start.
The two companies are thought to be similar in size: Ipsy claims 1.3 million subscribers and Birchbox has more than one million. The company plans to do $150 million in revenue this year and is profitable. Back of the envelope math for Birchbox, which brings in 30% of its revenue from sales of full-sized products in addition to its $10 monthly boxes, puts its revenue in the same range.
The key difference between the two companies is that Ipsy has grown on its own cash-flow – it has raised less than $3 million in funding — while Birchbox has taken nearly $72 million in venture capital. Last week sources told Fortune that Birchbox is preparing to raise another large new round of funding which will likely value the company at around $750 million.
Ipsy (which previously did business as MyGlam and now as Personalized Beauty Discovery), can attribute its capital efficiency to Phan’s power as a marketer. “It’s a silent little company that grew aggressively off the back of YouTube influencers,” said one investor, who asked not to be named because the deal conversations are private.
Now, with a large new pile of venture money, Ipsy’s profile will likely rise in the finance world. This may prove critical as the subscription beauty category gets a formidable new competitor: Next month, Sephora will launch its own subscription box, called Play!, in Boston, Columbus, and Cincinnati, according to reports.