Bootstrapping Intelligent Beauty Founders Score With $450 Million In Revenue A Year
So, if I’d been involved with MySpace, I’d probably be in jail for attacking Facebook board members or still sitting on the stool of my neighborhood bar lamenting my fortunes and telling the same sad story over and over again. That’s one of the many reasons that I’m not a startup entrepreneur, or why I’m not palling around with Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler.
Intelligent Beauty is the e-commerce conglomerate they’ve built since the MySpace days. And their comeback theme song plays the tune of nearly half a billion dollars… well done, guys!
A Very Brief History
OK, short rundown. Once upon a time, Intermix Media, responsible for MySpace, sold to News Corp. At the time, Intermix had an e-commerce and performance advertising division named Alena Media. Alena was built by Intelligent Beauty co-founders Goldenberg and Ressler. Intermix had previously bought Goldenberg’s Gamers Alliance when Goldenberg was just 17 years old. Ressler also came into Intermix fold by way of company purchase – in his case, the company Fitness Heaven. These entrepreneurs have been walking the walk for a long time.
News Corp may live to deeply regret that it didn’t hold on to the duo when it purchased Intermix in 2005. Goldenberg and Ressler, on the other hand, may go on to toast the horrible oversight. At Alena, they learned how to build brands and drive commerce. They learned very well. And they immediately went into action, taking control of their paths once again.
Since 2005, Goldenberg and Ressler have grown their venture into three e-commerce businesses.
- DERMSTORE, an online skincare and cosmetic marketplace
- JustFab, a subscription fashion company
- SENSA, a diet system based on smell and taste therapy
The co-founders bootstrapped Intelligent Beauty the first two years. In 2008, they raised $43 million in an institutional financing round from Technology Crossover Ventures. In late 2011, JustFab received $33 million in outside financing.
Speculation is that DERMSTORE is producing close to nine-figure revenues. Hundreds of thousands of users participate in the SENSA weight loss system. JustFab launched in 2010. It offers subscription members monthly, curated showrooms of specialty shoes, jewelry, handbags, and denim. Though not yet profitable, JustFab has expanded LA offices and is launching in Germany. Solid indications that revenues and user growth will continue to rise.
Kimora Lee Simmons has been installed as the president and creative director in charge of JustFab. A former model and celebrity, yes, but she has serious executive chops. She helped build Baby Phat into a billion dollar brand whose company sold to Kellwood for $140 million in 2004. By all counts, DERMSTORE, JustFab, and SENSA, each appear off to excellent beginnings.
No Crying Over Spilt Milk
Since 2005, Goldenberg and Ressler expanded Intelligent Beauty into three businesses each with its own CEO. Intelligent Beauty has their sights set on growing by 50 percent to over $600 million in revenues by 2013.
While the resilient entrepreneurs might not be happy with how things ended concerning MySpace, (and who would be?) they haven’t wasted anytime feeling sorry for themselves. They took their experience, teamwork, persistence, and set out to scale new heights. And should buy out offers come around, this time they’ll call the shots.