SoftBank-backed Brandless to dismiss employees, portrait surgeries

Brandless, the pioneering Amazon alternative, shuts down

On the Brandless website, the company attributes its downfall to the crowded e-commerce market.

"Brandless establish a new benchmark in the health and renewable products sector, and while we weren't able to compete in the modern DTC marketplace, I am convinced the upcoming fantastic brands of tomorrow will probably be constructed from this adventure", explained Brandless CEO Evan Price at a statement to CNBC. SoftBank bid up the valuation of WeWork parent company We $47 billion before a failed attempt at an initial public offering sent its value plummeting and forced the Japanese conglomerate to bail out the co-working startup.

The closure marks an embarrassing failure for SoftBank, which is struggling with other investments made by its $100 billion tech fund, including Oyo, Uber Technologies Inc., and most notably, WeWork. Uber, another major investment, is trading below its IPO price and faces mounting regulatory pressure from governments, although it has said it expects to turn a profit this year.

According to a report previous year in The Information, SoftBank, eager to see Brandless make a profit, was providing part of its promised financing to Brandless through fees and was withholding the last $ 100 million until the company met certain financial goals.

The company's remaining 10 employees will work to fulfill its last customer orders and consider acquisition offers, according to Protocol, which first reported the news that Brandless would be shutting down. Before the shutdown, Brandless raised up to $292.5 million for its vision of selling competitively priced products with plain packaging.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son's judgment was questioned in the past, and he has had to apologize for his track record. The funding was promised and arranged as installments and paid over when Brandless would meet certain financial targets.

Brandless was supported by SoftBank Group Corp.'s Vision Fund. His plan, according to Protocol, was to take more Brandless products to physical stores, but last December, he had quietly resigned and left Brandless.



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