BURLINGAME, CA, First company to sell shapewear and unique shaping apparel through technology-enhanced, person-to-person social commerce, has raised $8.5 million in a Series B round led by Mohr Davidow Ventures
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Ruby Ribbon Inc., the first company to sell shapewear and unique shaping apparel through technology-enhanced, person-to-person social commerce, has raised $8.5 million in a Series B round led by Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV) and joined by the company's original investor, Trinity Ventures. MDV's general partner Katherine Barr will join Ruby Ribbon's board of directors along with Ido Leffler, co-founder of Yes To Inc, the makers of the Yes To Carrots natural beauty brand.
As one of the first social commerce companies to target the fast growing, multi-billion dollar shapewear market, Ruby Ribbon introduces customers to its products through independent stylists who invest as little as $200 in order to represent the company at "pop-up" events in venues including beauty salons, exercise studios, living rooms and offices, and to sell through their own websites.
The stylists arrange the events and manage their businesses using a web-based platform provided by the company. This platform offers resources including video-based product training; the ability to purchase product samples; and tools to track and manage their own earnings and those of their teams. The stylists frequently augment the company's technology by using their own devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets) and social media assets to reach customers and promote their businesses.
The new investment will fuel Ruby Ribbon's rapid growth. The company began a limited launch in August 2012, intending to prove out its model by supporting selected stylists near its offices in Burlingame, Calif., and New York. Customer reaction was strong and the original stylists asked to expand their teams to associates in additional states. By the end of 2012, Ruby Ribbon had representation in 20 states. At the end of April, the company will have representatives in 30 states.
"From our first introduction to Ruby Ribbon, we felt the company's fresh approach to the $100 billion market for apparel, combined with a channel that promises both high-growth and service to the customer, was a winning combination," Barr said. "Their success in recent months makes us more certain that our firms' experience with mobile technology and consumer web applications can help accelerate their trajectory."
At the heart of Ruby Ribbon's success is a unique product " all-day comfortable shapewear and Shaping Basics, a new category that the Company invented that includes staples such as t-shirts, leggings and skirts that have built-in shaping technology. Each of the company's products is constructed with Intomi by Ruby Ribbon„˘, design and technology that ensures each piece smooths, shapes and flatters the wearer. The line benefits from the fact that customers get introduced to it in a setting that offers demonstration, trial, and personalized styling advice. Word about the product has spread rapidly, largely due to the stylists' ample use of social media and technology resources, which allow them to accelerate the growth of their businesses.
"In our first months in the market, we've proven that Ruby Ribbon has created a perfect match between our product and our channel. We are now in a majority of US states and have proven we can scale," said CEO and Founder, Anna Zornosa. "Customer feedback has been fantastic, and the stylists have really fallen in love with the opportunity."
New Board Members: Barr and Leffler
As Ruby Ribbon's first independent board member, Leffler brings to the company a background focused on beauty products as well as experience in scaling high-growth businesses. As the co-founder of Yes To Inc (the makers of Yes to Carrots), Leffler and his team have led the company to its current position as the nation's second largest maker of natural beauty products. He serves on the boards of TTI, an Australian consumer brand investor whose properties include Hollywood Fashion Tape Asia Pacific, Miko Inc (Soma Water) and Yes To Carrots. He is an advisor to Birchbox, the first and leading beauty discovery box. Leffler has received accolades for his work " Women's Wear Daily recognized him as one of 12 "Smart Young Things" under the age of 40 changing the beauty industry. He is the Co-Author of Get Big Fast and Do More Good (Publish date November 2013 by Amazon.) He is currently serving a two-year term on the United Nation's Foundations' Global Entrepreneur Council.
Katherine Barr brings 11 years of operating experience in product development, marketing, negotiation and general management to Ruby Ribbon. In her six years with MDV she has focused primarily on investments in web and mobile consumer and business services, with some key areas of focus including retail and commerce innovation, personalization of the digital experience, and novel ways that mobile devices are disrupting massive markets. In addition to Ruby Ribbon, she serves on the boards of BandPage and PunchTab, is a board observer for Ticketfly, sponsored the seed investments in Retention Science and Storefront, and is responsible for the investments in Visible Measures, Infusionsoft and the seed investment in Massive Health (Jawbone). She teaches a yearly executive education negotiation course on negotiation at the Stanford University School of Engineering and is Co-Chair of C100, the leading Canadian technology entrepreneur association in North America.
Leffler and Barr join Anna Zornosa, Ruby Ribbon Founder and CEO and Patricia Nakache of Trinity Ventures, on the company's board of directors.
Links to Ruby Ribbon materials, in readers downloadable to any computer device, can be found below:
About Mohr Davidow Ventures:
For 30 years the Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV) team has invested in early stage technology-based startups that redefine or create large new markets and deliver out-sized returns to entrepreneurs and investors. The firm partners with exceptional entrepreneurs to build companies where big data, applied analytics, and the reach and power of the web/mobile cloud can be leveraged to drive emerging opportunities in verticals ranging from social commerce to finance to online marketing to consumer-driven healthcare and cleantech IT. Leading companies funded by MDV include: Agile (ORCL); Aryaka Networks; Brocade (BRCD); Coupa; Genomatica; HealthTap; Infusionsoft; Kabbage; nLight; ONI Systems (CIEN); Proofpoint (PFPT); Rally Software (RALY); Rocket Fuel; Rambus (RMBS); Shutterfly (SFLY); Ticketfly; Verinata Health (ILMN); and Visible Measures. For more information, visit http://www.mdv.com.
About Trinity Ventures:
Founded in 1986, Trinity Ventures is the leading technology early stage venture capital firm dedicated to partnering with passionate entrepreneurs to transform revolutionary ideas into reality. With over $1 billion under management, Trinity Ventures believes in personal engagement, mutual respect and goal alignment with entrepreneurs. The firm has particular emphasis on Cloud, Digital Media, Social Commerce and Entertainment, and Software as a Service.
Trinity Ventures has invested in more than 250 companies, including such leading companies as: 21Vianet (VNET), Aruba Networks (ARUN), Blue Nile (NILE), Care.com, Crescendo Communications (Acquired by Cisco), Extreme Networks (EXTR), Forte Software (FRTE), Infoblox (BLOX), Kixeye, LoopNet (LOOP), New Relic, Photobucket (Acquired by News Corporation), Sciquest (SQI), Speedera Networks (Acquired by Akamai Technologies), and zulilly.
About Ruby Ribbon
Ruby Ribbon is a new social selling apparel company, supported by a nationwide network of independent personal stylists, which sells shapewear constructed with its unique Intomi by Ruby Ribbon„˘ design. The company has created the category of Shaping Basics " classic wardrobe staples such as t-shirts, leggings and skirts - that have shapewear built right in. All Ruby Ribbon products are sold exclusively through in-home or in-office "pop up" events. Stylists use the latest in social media and technology to build their businesses and increase their sales footprint while drawing inspiration from Ruby Ribbon's core beliefs: entrepreneurship, friendship and camaraderie. Founded in 2011, Ruby Ribbon is based in Burlingame, CA and New York City.