Lady Gaga’s new startup — Haus Beauty — doesn’t yet have customers. But it already has the backing of one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms for consumer startups.
Lightspeed Venture Partners, the investment firm that made early bets on companies like Snap, Stitch Fix and Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, has made an early investment in Haus Beauty, multiple sources have told Recode.
The exact amount of the investment could not be learned, but similar investment rounds led by Lightspeed have typically totaled between $5 million and $10 million. Lightspeed partner Nicole Quinn led the investment.
Haus Beauty — which is currently in “stealth mode” in startup parlance, or which has simply not yet launched in normal human parlance — is being run by CEO Ben Jones, the former chief digital officer at Honest Company and its offshoot Honest Beauty, sources said. Lady Gaga — born Stefani Germanotta — is a founder, but any day-to-day role beyond that is not clear.
The existence of Haus Beauty was first discovered by the celebrity gossip site Blast, via a trademark filing. A spokesperson for Lightspeed declined comment for all parties.
The investment comes at a time when other global female stars have turned their celebrity into product riches. Kylie Jenner of the Kardashian-Jenner clan is worth an estimated $900 million after spending the last three years hawking her Kylie Cosmetics makeup line to more than 100 million followers across Instagram and Snapchat.
And Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has been a smash hit, thanks in large part to a promise to offer cosmetics options for “all skin tones.” The brand already has more than four million followers on Instagram after launching less than a year ago.
Beyond celebrities, investment in beauty startups is surging. Funding of privately held beauty companies has totaled $555 million so far this year, already passing the 2017 full-year total of $531 million, according to research firm CB Insights.
“Direct-to-consumer beauty brands, which saw the largest number of deals in 2017 across the industry, are chipping away at the market share of personal care incumbents who are responding with increased M&A activity, incubator and accelerator programs, new in-store technologies, and more,” CB Insights said in a report on the industry earlier this year.
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