Tag Archives: Christina Farr

MindBody, a Salesforce-like CRM for health & wellness, takes $50M more

MindBody, a Salesforce-like CRM for health & wellness, takes $50M more

Rick Stollmeyer, chief executive of MindBody

Small businesses are under increasing pressure to go digital or risk losing their clientele to the franchise down the street. Tech-savvy customers expect to book appointments online and pay with a swipe of a credit card.

The San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based MindBody has small businesses (spas, yoga studios, and so on) covered. And the company has pocketed an additional $50 million in funding today to accelerate its global expansion.

MindBody sells a suite of marketing, scheduling, analytics, networking, and point of sale services. According to chief executive officer Rick Stollmeyer, over 30,000 businesses around the world have signed up. Prior to starting the company, Stollmeyer worked as an engineering team lead and as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy.

MindBody, which has been around since 2001, faces tough competition from customer relationship management (CRM) behemoths, like Salesforce.com and SugarCRM. Unlike these vendors, it specifically caters to clients in the health and wellness sector. A crop of new rivals, such as Schedulicity, SalonBooker, Appointment Plus, and Groupon Scheduler, have also emerged in recent years. However, these companies are focused on scheduling tools, which is just one aspect of MindBody’s business.

The new funding comes from a combination of Silicon Valley and international investment firms, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Institutional Venture Partners, Catalyst Investors, W Capital Partners and Montreux Equity Partners. This round brings the company’s funding total to just under $110 million.


Health & lifestyle investors raising $150M for Builders Fund, filing shows (exclusive)

Health & lifestyle investors raising $150M for Builders Fund, filing shows (exclusive)
isak55 / Shutterstock

Investor Tripp Baird is raising $150 million for a new fund, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchanges Commission.

Baird is forming the new San Francisco-based fund, dubbed Builders Fund, alongside Vishal Vasishth, a long-time managing director with India-based SONG Investment Advisors and the former chief strategy officer at Patagonia. SONG was created to stimulate job opportunities and economic growth by investing in small and medium-sized businesses in India. Target sectors include financial services, renewable energy and education.

Both Baird and Vasishth are listed on the filing, but they have remained tight-lipped to the press about the fund. It’s not yet clear if Vasishth will invest (he’s described as an “advisor” to an early-stage fund in a post from October, 2013).

Baird has over a decade of experiencing investing in organic foods, lifestyle, health and sustainability ventures. On his LinkedIn page, he writes that his new early-stage investment fund, presumably Builders, “backs companies that help people live more healthy and sustainable lives while addressing social and environmental issues, making the world a better place.” Given Vasishth’s international experience, it’s likely that the fund will make investments in non-U.S. based ventures.

We reached out to Baird for more information about the fund and will update you when we learn more.


Zulily $253M IPO is a ‘watershed moment’ for e-commerce

Zulily $253M IPO is a ‘watershed moment’ for e-commerce

On Zulily, parents can buy stylish apparel and accessories for kids

E-commerce startup Zulily smashed analyst estimates with its initial public offering, with shares soaring 88 percent in its debut.

Zulily’s shares opened this morning at $39, above the IPO price of $22. The Seattle-based company raised $253 million at a valuation of $2.6 billion and has almost doubled to just over $5 billion.

“The team has exceeded expectations; it’s a watershed moment for e-commerce,” said Dave Spector, a former e-commerce investor at Sequoia Capital, and the cofounder of MeCommerce.

This is the first successful initial public offering from a company that sells products online to consumers in years. Fab has been struggling to meet its revenue targets, and Groupon is still trying to find its formula for growth.

Zulily has made ample revenues in the past few years, recently turning a small profit. A filing revealed that Zulily brought in $331 million in 2012, up from $143 million in 2011. It lost $10.3 million last year, but it had a $2.3 million profit in the first half of 2013.

One investor, who asked to remain anonymous, noted that Zulily just experienced the strongest exit since Zappos was acquired by Amazon.

Zulily has remained loyal to its core audience: children and parents. It offers discounts and flash sales on clothing, toys, infant gear, and home decor. Since launching in January 2010, Zulily has worked with over 10,000 brands, featured 1.6 million product styles, and sold over 42 million items to a total of 2.9 million customers.

“The company was passionate about selecting the right brand partners,” said Cheryl Yeoh, the founder of personalized shopping list app Reclipit, which Walmart Labs acquired. “Zulily stands out as its team of serial entrepreneurs knows what their audience wants,” she added.

Indeed, moms are a highly lucrative market. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 39 million U.S. households have children under the age of 18.

Zulily is proving that there is still money to be made with the flash sales model, although the company may struggle in the long-term.

Small businesses realized that a one-off coupon or discount would not build customer loyalty and retention. They began to snub daily deals giants, like LivingSocial and Groupon. Zulily’s has succeeded with its target market, but the company will need to expand its suite of profits to continue to grow.

“This outcome proves that e-commerce is alive — many investors wrote off the space for many years,” said Spector, who believes we’ll see a surge in venture investment in the space. “This is very positive from a trend perspective.”