Clarke Capital Partners and Ikonifi acquire Brandless.com
Salt Lake City— Utah-Based Clarke Capital Partners has joined forces with Silicon Slopes digital marketing agency, Ikonifi to purchase the assets of Brandless, Inc. The partnership intends to aggressively relaunch Brandless.com, the community-driven, direct-to-consumer company which offered a curated assortment of high-quality, fairly priced products. These products will be available to order online in the near future.
The company that shot to stardom in 2018 under the leadership of Tina Sharkey, shut its doors in February of this year, despite having achieved a $500 Million valuation and having received almost $300 Million from sources including SoftBank’s $100 Billion Vision Fund, NEA, Redpoint Ventures, GV, and Sherpa Capital. Celebrity investors had also included the likes of Steph Curry, Randi Zuckerberg (Mark’s sister), and Jessica Seinfeld.
Brandless was re-imagining what it meant to be a “brand” in the 21st century by democratizing access to high-quality products at simple, fair prices, through cutting out the middleman and eliminating unnecessary markups, or the BrandTaxTM . Despite an ultra-loyal following, Brandless ran into challenges with profitability and mounting troubles with a distressed SoftBank.
Under an improved capital structure, matched with responsible pricing models and the ongoing recruitment of a world-class team, Brandless 2.0 is now well-suited to carry on the brand that millions of Americans love. The assortment of 300+ products includes organic, non-GMO, all natural beauty, nutritional, and personal care products as well as household goods like non-toxic cleaners at fair prices.
Brandless also creates and curates original digital content ranging from recipes to life hacks and spotlights on people doing good in the world. “Brandless was built to address the serious challenges that exist in the consumer products market,” said Ryan Treft, newly appointed CEO of Brandless and partner at Ikonifi. “Customers today still pay an enormous BrandTaxTM, but we’re out to prove that healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Quality goods and fair prices don’t have to live in separate worlds. Although I will be approaching the business strategy differently, I have a great deal of respect for Tina Sharkey for the amazing brand she created.” Brandless is a brand. It’s just LESS like other brands. It truly stands for something meaningful, as evidenced by the millions of Brandless loyalists.
Clarke Capital Partners founder, James Clarke, stated, “We had been rooting for the Brandless team, having fallen in love with their ‘highest-quality’ product lines, but found ourselves deeply saddened to learn of the company’s closing. So when the opportunity was brought to us to join with Ikonifi’s Ryan Treft and Brady Hansen to acquire the assets, we wasted no time as we worked to ensure the future of what Brandless, and its ‘brand promise’, will continue to be to its millions of loyal customers.” Clarke will join the Brandless board as its Chairman, along with Clarke Capital’s, James Harrison, an early tech pioneer in the multi-billion dollar online insurance comparison marketplace. James Thayer, former Goldman Sachs Investment Banking executive and legal counsel will also advise the board and oversee governance. Treft explained, “Clarke Capital’s origins make them the ideal operating partner. Having deep experience in e-commerce, a global presence and a long-term investment thesis, they’re the right partners to breathe new life into Brandless.com and continue delivering a product line true to its origins.”
“While we will continue to focus primarily on a direct-to-consumer product offering, several retail outlets have already expressed interest in providing meaningful shelfspace allowing for an omnichannel approach into mass retail,” added Treft. The packaged goods and retail industries have failed to keep up with consumer preferences. In this way, Brandless is meeting changing demands for an improved experience that offers exceptional value, simplicity and products they can believe in.
In the near-term, Brandless will continue to offer the core products consumers have grown to love, along with line extensions of the most popular items at Brandless.com. But for now, the company will release a new Brandless Bundle every Monday leading up to the official relaunch. The themed packages will include a curated sample of products dedicated to categories like home cooking, home cleaning and infant care. These Bundles will be available to order online immediately.