GetYourGuide Becomes a Unicorn; Blue Apron Considering NYSE Delisting

GetYourGuide Unicorn

DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: GetYourGuide becomes a Unicorn; Blue Apron considering NYSE delisting; bioClarity raises USD$13m.

GetYourGuide becomes a Unicorn

German online travel start-up GetYourGuide has raised USD$484m (£381m) in an investment led by SoftBank’s USD$100bn (£79m) Vision Fund.

The company, which lets people book tickets for tours and other activities abroad, says that it will spend the fresh cash on expanding further internationally and adding more recreation options to its platform. The new valuation means that GetYourGuide is now a Unicorn, with a valuation of over USD$1bn (£790m).

Based in Berlin, GetYourGuide is a little different to more commonly-used travel sites. Whereas platforms like TripAdvisor and Expedia show customers price comparisons for hotel bookings and flight fares, GetYourGuide only lists things for holidaymakers to do upon arrival. It has sold more than 25 million tickets to users across 170 countries since it was founded in 2009.

The SoftBank funding has been expected for a while now, with the partnership being touted in February, when GetYourGuide received investment from Swisscanto.  Though still headquartered in Berlin, GetYourGuide have 14 other office locations worldwide, and boasts USD$655m (£516m) in funding.

Blue Apron considering NYSE delisting

Blue Apron has announced that it could be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because its closing share price has been lower than USD$1 (79p) since early May. The company’s share price closed down 8% Monday to 68 cents (54p).

New York-based Blue Apron said it will try to raise its stock price with a reverse stock split, which will be subject to a vote of its shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on June 13.

However, their problems are symptomatic over a wider issue for subscription-based meal kit companies. The industry is facing serious challenges from restaurant and grocery delivery services, smaller niche players and even home chefs. On top of this, these brands appeal to a small population – NPD Group, a consulting firm, estimates that just 4% of U.S. consumers have tried them.

It also costs a lot for companies to prepare, package and ship fresh ingredients, so meal prices are high. While larger businesses like Blue Apron may be able to take the hits that the industry is being subjected to, newer entrants will struggle, which could be bad news for some DTCs.

bioClarity raises USD$13m

Plant-based DTC skincare brand bioClarity, part of Adigica Health, closed a USD$13m (£10m)  funding round led by a USD$6m (£4.7m) investment from Prolog Ventures.

Since launch, the bioClarity brand has expanded beyond its acne treatment focus, to a full line of skincare products. The brand focuses on products that are vegan, cruelty-free, and free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and other undesirable ingredients. Aside from its own website, bioClarity also sells on Amazon.

The bioClarity brand will use the funding to accelerate its growth through larger marketing initiatives and additional product innovation. Between 2017 and 2018, bioClarity’s top-line revenue surged 3.5x, and the business anticipates revenue will more than double this year. The brand feels that it is their DTC model which allows them to understand their customers’ needs, wants, and lifestyles, which has been the key driver to their success amongst millennial and Gen Z audiences.