Actress-entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow has raised $50 million in VC money for Goop, the lifestyle media and ecommerce company she founded — and has set her sights on Europe for its next stage of growth.
The Series C round included participation form new and existing investors, including NEA, Fidelity Management and Research Co., Lightspeed Venture Partners and Felix Capital. It brings Santa Monica, Calif.-based Goop’s total outside investment to $82 million. The 150-employee company reportedly has a post-money valuation of $250 million.
Goop launched Canadian shipping in December 2017, and expects to branch into Europe by the fourth quarter of 2018. In addition, Goop plans to invest heavily in international markets through experiential retail, “image events” and marketing efforts.
According to the company, which Paltrow founded in 2008 as a newsletter, Goop already has a strong international audience, with 35% of its current readership outside the U.S.
Goop isn’t profitable, but under Paltrow’s leadership as CEO it is on track to more than double revenue in 2018 (the company is not disclosing figures). Last year, Goop inked a deal with Condé Nast to co-produce a quarterly print mag that carries a cover price of $14.99.
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From its origins as a weekly newsletter featuring tastemakers providing tips and news on different topics, Goop’s business includes a “contextual commerce” platform that lets readers buy featured products in categories spanning fashion, beauty, travel, and wellness. In 2016, the company launched line of Goop-branded products including apparel, athletic wear, skincare, vitamins, fragrance and bath soaks. Goop says it plans to expand into the home category in the next few years.
Goop has garnered controversy over health claims and safety for some of the products it sells (not to mention derision over certain absurd and pricey items). For example, watchdog group Truth in Advertising said it found more than 50 instances of false or deceptive claims in Goop’s catalog, according to a complaint it sent last summer to California regulators.
Last year Goop pointed readers to Body Vibes, wearable stickers ($60 for a 10-pack) that allegedly “rebalance the energy frequency in our bodies” and “promote healing” using “the same conductive carbon material NASA uses to line spacesuits so they can monitor an astronaut’s vitals during wear.” In response, NASA said it doesn’t use any such material in its spacesuits, and a former NASA scientist called the claims of the Body Vibes stickers “a load of BS.” And in January 2017, gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter wrote in a blog post that the use of Goop’s $66 “vaginal jade eggs” could lead to infections or toxic shock syndrome; Goop responded that there is no evidence linking the products to toxic shock syndrome and said, “we are drawn to physicians who are interested in both Western and Eastern modalities and incorporate the best from both.”