For Days: closed-loop manufacturing that recycles and reuses. Annual subscription model based on number of products customer wishes to use. Customers can swap out as often as they wish for one flat low cost each time, and send back the old in exchange for the new.
Function of Beauty: great growth with modest funding – their revenue-to-funding ratio is strong – plus amazing 5-star customer reviews, all backed by an artificial intelligence engine that gets better with new customer data, which makes its products better over time and its competitive advantage get stronger over time as well.
Lume Deoderant: solid clinical product data showing the effectiveness of the product lead by an experienced team.
Megababe: super authentic marketing with products that solve real problems means the company has created an emotional connection with customers, and sales and product demand show it.
Volition: crowdsourcing platform soliciting product ideas from customers who vote on bringing them to market, allowing the person with the original idea to get a cut of the profits.
Aunt Flow: unique twist on existing mature products that have been around for a long time, tailored for sales to a completely new channel, with value proposition that is on-point with trends and consumers.
Sene: customized product but at a cost competitive with mass-produced, using data collected from customer product preferences that improves their artificial intelligence engine over time to improve products and increase competitive advantage.
Wone: maybe the best performing product (via customer use) in its category produced without regard to cost, with word-of-mouth marketing employing smart use of scarcity and exclusivity that created demand outstripping supply. We love it and hope they can maintain their quality and exclusivity as they grow.
Loli Beauty: small company that is the leader in an early trend that if it takes off, might make them a winner.
Phlur: such high confidence in their product lineup that they apply sample purchase price towards future purchase of products – or they have really figured out how to add a ton of margin to their product pricing – or both.
Huron: avoiding the leaders (who are formidable) that are slugging it out for customers and attention in major cities, and targeting product sales to second-tier metropolitan markets.
Last Swab: early success with crowdfunding but this is rarely an indicator of long-term staying power (see why, here). We like the product and the problems it solves and hope they can figure out how to appeal to broader market beyond the early adopter crowdfunding crowd.
Curology: what we like is a laser focus selling only 5 products to date on a subscription basis personalized to each customer; what we do not like is that we suspect a very low average order value, and significant funding raised, which means they have to hit it out of the park to see success. Can they do it with such challenging metrics?
Cleancult: pioneer in a really clean and sustainable operation, from production through packaging, but such a small company and competitors are catching on. We hope they can grow to find some staying power.