The round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz will bring the total funding to $20.3 million, which experts say does not seem like an obvious investment choice for the company, until you take the brand's social-media prowess into account.
Series B’ is a second round of financing for a business by private equity investors or venture capitalists and generally takes place when the company has accomplished certain milestones in developing its business, while the first, series A round took place last spring.
Founder, Park, is said to have utilized social media to advance the brand instead of traditional marketing in such a short space of time, and that accumulating 100,000 Facebook fans, 26,000 Twitter followers and 12,000 Pinterest users has helped to spread the word about the brands 52 new products and 186 nail colors.
“We don’t have to spend millions of dollars launching a new product – our social media girlfriends are highly engaged consumers who help us get the word out,” she explains.
Julep story began in Seattle
Julep initally started as a chain of nail parlors in 2007 and was soon followed by locations in downtown Seattle, Bellevue and Gig Harbor, currently the brand sells online, as well as QVC and at Sephora stores.
Now the founder says she views the parlors as a test ground for new products and will use the money from investors to develop a full line of core cosmetics over the next year.
“My vision is to bring a new social approach to the beauty industry by having a two-way conversation online with our fans, incorporating their ideas directly into our rapid product innovation cycle,” she adds.
Maveron, a VC firm co-founded by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has also participated in the Series B round whilst other investors include Troy Carter, the manager of pop icon Lady Gaga, and Precedent Investments, a joint venture partly financed by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, as well as Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s Roc Nation.
Maveron partner Jason Stoffer said Julep is poised to build a billion-dollar beauty brand. Maveron, which began investing in Julep a year and a half ago, led the Series A round last spring.
“Jane has created a brand that emotionally resonates with consumers. Just read its Facebook comments,” Stoffer said. “People don’t just like this brand, they love it.”