Brandless, the pioneering Amazon alternative, shuts down

Brandless, the pioneering Amazon alternative, shuts down

Brandless, a San Francisco-based e-commerce company that manufactured and sold a variety of "cruelty-free" products in the categories of beauty and personal care, home, babies and pets closed its doors less than three years after officially opening them in July.

In a statement provided to the Protocol media outlet, the company cited a "fiercely competitive" retail market.

Instead, Brandless is being forced to lay off its more than 70 employees and shut down.

The company's short term will not be a complete surprise for industry watchers.

Brandless is supposedly the very first startup to close down after winning assistance from SoftBank's Vision Fund, the Japanese financial investment titan that has actually likewise backed the similarity WeWork, Uber as well as food shipment solution DoorDash. It was a surprising development, given the company's relatively nascent business.


The closure marks an embarrassing failure for SoftBank, which is struggling with other investments made by its $100 billion tech fund, including Oyo, Uber Technologies Inc., and most notably, WeWork. The company was known early on for pricing items at $3 apiece, but it introduced more expensive offerings and a subscription service a year ago.

In the moment, Evan Price, Brandless's afterward CFO, became the organization's interim CEO. His plan, according to Protocol, was to take more Brandless products to physical stores, but last December, he had quietly resigned and left Brandless.

Surely, the evolution undermines SoftBank's already shaky standing for informed deal-making. Brandless failed to secure its third tranche of funding worth around $120 million after missing milestones required by SoftBank.

Brandless' mission is selling competitively priced products with plain packaging.

Brandless's board had been evaluating its position for several weeks and ultimately chose to shut down and use the remaining cash for severance for employees, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

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