Today’s the day. We are unveiling the new company that my co-founder, Ido Leffler, and I have been developing in stealth mode for awhile now. Meet Brandless™. A new kind of products and services company that aims to make modern consumption make sense.
After incubating Brandless at Sherpa Foundry, we just closed our Series A, which was led by Redpoint Ventures with additional funding from Sherpa Capital, Cowboy Ventures and Slow Ventures. To date, we’ve raised just under $16M and plan to go to market next spring.
I’m returning to my entrepreneurial roots as the full time CEO of Brandless, transitioning from Sherpa at the end of this month. I spent the last few years on both the Capital and Foundry sides of the business, investing in and advising amazing companies large and small. Ido will serve as Brandless’ Chairman, and we are building our team here in San Francisco and Minneapolis. You can check out our open positions here–more on the way.
To get back to the beginning of how this all started, it was a couple of years ago at Sherpa Foundry. We were brainstorming about massive, industry-changing ideas with one of my favorite founders and dear friend, Ido Leffler. He started with a story about how he literally woke up in the middle of the night with the unsettling feeling that people were paying too much for items they shouldn’t think twice about and therefore getting underserved by retailers and merchandisers and everyone in between.
Ido’s insights perfectly complimented my thinking. I was watching the wholesale rejection of legacy brands and institutions by the “new consumer.” We wanted to invent something completely fresh and new, a company that could reimagine everything but would start with the essentials, the things people use every day.
I know with every fiber of my being that today is the most opportune time in modern history to rethink what we buy and how we buy it.
Social media has unlocked billions of new stories and fresh voices of people who share real experiences. Products also want to tell their own stories. And why shouldn’t they? Brands need to be fueled by the power of trust and authentic relationships versus the fictional narratives fabricated by Mad Men and media channels that no longer service modern media consumption.
For both Ido and I, creating purpose and building communities, brands and experiences with soul has been embedded in everything we have ever done, both on and offline.
We believe that social good can and should live harmoniously inside a profit driven business. One that puts purpose into every product and message shared, and models a new kind of relationship between people and the companies built to serve them–directly, with integrity, transparency, authenticity, and democratized access. Through our collaboration, Brandless was born.
Ido and I feel very strongly that a company has to be about something greater than any one product or service in itself. It has to be about the grander opportunity to inspire a movement that ushers in a new wave of consumer culture that makes sense, created in direct opposition to a system that isn’t serving people. There’s a new guard of retailers and brands defined by a greater consciousness of health, the environment, and social good, but this tends to come with hefty price tags. In the end, the person who matters most, the consumer, is forced to choose between what’s good for them and what’s affordable and accessible.
At the highest level, modern consumption simply doesn’t make sense, and people have moved on. The trends mentioned above coupled with the lack of solutions to address them in a coherent, holistic way, have resulted in a massive gap in the market where people’s needs are not being met.
Almost every industry is undergoing massive change and disruption. Hospitality, Media, Personal Finance, Transportation, Entertainment, and many others have all been made more efficient by taking out the middlemen and unnecessary layers. The CPG industry is still operating like it did in the middle of the 20th Century. No one has yet to expose the massive inefficiencies in the system, however we can see the fractures all around the edges as new brands and platforms begin to take noticeable share. The timing for a revolution has never been more right.
Brandless is a team of builders and doers, not waiters and watchers. We all deserve better and we’re not going to wait for someone else to fix the system. Based in both San Francisco and Minneapolis, we’ve got a phenomenal team of stealth operatives scouring the planet for the best possible ingredients and partners to bring our products and vision to life.
We ask ourselves everyday, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
In response, we’re launching in Spring 2017 and hope you’ll join us.