Birchbox, a startup that delivers beauty samples to paying subscribers, announced Thursday that it has closed $10.5 million in Series A funding led by Accel Partners.
Lead investors in the company’s $1.4 million seed round (raised in fall 2010), including First Round Capital, also participated in this newest round, along with Harrison Metal, Forerunner Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Sam Lessin (founder of drop.io), Consigliere, Gary Vaynerchuck (founder of VaynerMedia), Dave Morin (co-founder of Path), Stanford University Endowment and Andy Dunn (co-founder of Bonobos).
There are two kinds of people who use Birchbox: the ones who pay $10 per month and the ones who pay $110 per year. No matter what kind, the hesitant or the totally committed, all members receive a monthly “Birchbox,” a package filled with four to five beauty samples from deluxe brands.
Samples run the gamut, including makeup, skincare, fragrance, body, and hair products, and “are generously sized,” enough to see if they’re worth purchasing.
Birchbox itself selectively chooses which brands to include in its service, and, so far, over 70 brands have made the cut. Bvlgari, Redken, Stila and Tocca are just a few examples of the high-end fashion names that Birchbox members expect to see in their mailboxes each month.
In addition to the samples, members have the advantage of Birchbox.com, chock full of expert interviews, tutorials and media related to beauty. The site also serves as a retail outlet for the very products that members will be trying out. So, if someone likes a certain sample, they can head to Birchbox.com and purchase a full-size version.
Since its September 2010 launch, Birchbox has seen subscriber numbers within the United States grow 50 percent month-over-month (on average). After reaching out to the company, I learned that Birchbox now has at least 45,000 subscribers, as of July.
The new funding will be used generally to boost Birchbox’s current offerings.