Direct-to-consumer grooming start-up Maapilim has raised a $4 million Series A round.
The financing was led by Viola Ventures, Kaedan Capital and the joint venture of Keshet International and Dick Clark Productions. Avishai Avrahami, cofounder and chief executive officer of web site-creation platform Wix, has also invested.
Maapilim, headquartered in Tel Aviv and founded by husband duo Jonathan and Doron Keren, focuses on high-end, natural, men’s grooming products sourced from the Mediterranean coasts. The lineup includes shower, grooming, hair and skin products, priced between $15 and $52.
Originally, the concept started so that Jonathan and his husband could fund their art aspirations. The Wix veterans set up a web site to sell beard oil to fund an art show called “Flowers are Manly,” which ended up drawing attention from more than 200 art blogs.
The show was meant to show the range of masculinity, Jonathan Keren said — and that concept was infused through Maapilim’s brand ethos.
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“It started out by saying, ‘Yeah, we’re guys, but we don’t always have to feel like we’re in a battlefield when we’re in the shower,'” Keren said.
The range is meant not only to deviate from hyper-masculine branded products, but also from those that are price-oriented or problem-solution focused, Keren said.
“For men, there weren’t a lot of brands that really gave them that output of wellness and taking better care of themselves — most brands are very practical,” Keren said.
The products include natural oils, crude gold jojoba oil and Dead Sea mud, but don’t eschew synthetics in the name of being natural. Products do not include SLS or parabens. Customers are generally 25- to 40-year-old men who Keren refers to as “cool cousins.”
“It’s the early adopters — it’s the guy you ask what hotel to stay in, and what restaurant to go to,” he said.
So far, most of the brand’s shoppers are coming from Instagram, where Maapilim uses paid social to boost posts, and works organically with influencers.
While most of Maapilim’s focus has been on its direct channel, the brand also sells on Amazon, and recently launched with Neiman Marcus, where it sells in store and online; Goop, and has plans to launch with Ipsy in April.
Sales have been doubling each month, Keren said. Industry sources projected the brand could do between $3.5 million and $5 million in sales for 2019.
“Because of this social shift that’s happening with men in general, we believe there’s room for a brand that just talks about wellness for guys,” Keren said.