Beautycounter Gets a Billion Dollar Makeover from Carlyle Group

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

Beautycounter Gets a Billion Dollar Makeover from Carlyle Group

Counter Brands is getting a billion-dollar makeover, and joining the unicorn club.

The parent company of Beautycounter, which makes eco-friendly skin-care products and cosmetics, is being acquired by the massive private equity firm, The Carlyle Group, executives at the companies announced Tuesday.

Equity funding for the deal came from Carlyle Partners VII, an $18.5 billion fund that focuses on U.S. consumer, media and retail companies – part of the $246 billion overall fortune Carlyle manages.

Beautycounter was founded by Gregg Renfrew in 2011 and last year raised at a $400 million valuation in 2018, according to Pitchbook data.

Renfrew told dot.LA co-founder Spencer Rascoff in an interview recorded in December that she started the company after seeing young friends around her be diagnosed with cancer or suffer from infertility.

Gregg Renfrew

Beautycounter founder Gregg Renfrew

"I started to wonder what was going on, why were things going so wrong for the Earth and why were things going terribly wrong for human health?" Renfrew said. "The one thing that I over time became aware of is that we were all being exposed to toxic chemicals and that there is a direct link between environmental health and physical health and our exposure to toxic chemicals."

Renfrew became "obsessed" with trying to remove all chemicals from her home, but she had trouble finding cosmetics that were both free of toxins and effective.

"I thought, why am I asked to compromise my health in the name of beauty?" she wondered. "And I thought I could start a brand that actually stands for health and performance simultaneously."

Renfrew grew up in New York City and still has an affinity for the city, but she says she is happy to have started Beautycounter in Santa Monica.

"When you think about clean living – whether that's focusing on the environment, sustainability, healthy food, healthy skincare or cosmetics – you see so much happening in Los Angeles," she said. "We are so well ahead of the curve on so many things that are happening."

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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VinFast Cuts Through Rebate Confusion With Cold, Hard Cash

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

The Vinfast VF9 in the company's Santa Monica showroom
Coutrsy of VinFast

With the Inflation Reduction Act well on its way to being written into law, the calculus of which vehicles from which manufacturers will be eligible for the $7,500 rebates is pretty confusing. dot.LA has previously covered how the new law is set to upend the status quo, but the short version is the car and its battery need to be assembled in the United States and the rebates only apply to vehicles below certain price points. Individuals who make more than $150,000/yr or to households making more than $300,000/yr are also no longer eligible for the rebate. This has led to a flurry of customers trying to lock in buyers’ agreements with companies like Rivian and Fisker before the law becomes official.

Vinfast, the Vietnamese automaker that is trying to establish itself on US soil here in Los Angeles, has taken a different approach: Just give people the money.

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