Fueling the direct-to-consumer economy are the venture capitalists investing unprecedented amounts of funding into brands, a departure from the tech companies that typically have attracted weighty up-rounds and big valuations. According to data from CB Insights, consumer brands have raised more than $3 billion since 2012, and about half of that money was raised in 2018 alone.
Responsible for pumping a new category of retail with the capital needed to fund big paid social campaigns, hire growth teams and — preferably, but not always — reach profitability, these VCs are always on the lookout for brands that define the new vision of retail. The money that’s gone in support of that vision hasn’t slowed down, even as exits yielding big returns for investors have been slow to materialize, with no standalone direct-to-consumer brand going public and only a few notable acquisitions.
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