The Austin-based company in August 2016 closed on a $1.8 million convertible debt raise, comprised of a continuation of commitments from existing investors who participated in its June 2015 seed round of $2.7 million.
The funding extension was led by Next Coast Ventures, an Austin-based venture capital firm. Funding included investments from Farah, former co-chief executive officer of Tory Burch and former vice chairman, president and chief operating officer of Ralph Lauren; Joey Levin, ceo of media firm IAC, and Cotter Cunningham, ceo of RetailMeNot. All three are new investors in Phlur.
Phlur was started in June 2016 with the intention of disrupting how consumers buy their fragrance without the need for a smell test.
The online fragrance firm was started by Eric Korman, a former president for Ralph Lauren digital and global e-commerce. He is also on the RetailMeNot board.
At Phlur, customers are given six visual mood boards, with corresponding music and visual narratives that represent the inspiration and feeling of a particular scent. Each board represents a gender-neutral fragrance. They choose the two that resonates with them most, and receive from the company sample vials — each one lasts a week — to test. A full size bottle of the fragrance is $85, and the $10 fee for the trial samples are applied toward the cost of the full size version.
The company also donates a portion of every purchase to a handful or organizations, such as the Central Park Conservancy and the International Union of Conservation of Nature.
Korman said of the now year-old company, “We completed [more than] 25,000 orders and we are gaining momentum every week.” He said the latest investment round will be used to fund existing operations, fund customer growth and extend its product offerings later this year.
According to Phlur, the web site conversion rate is up 40 percent since its June 20, 2016 launch date. Web site traffic is up five times since launch date and nearly 20 percent of consumers who buy one full bottle also purchase a second bottle.
The company said they have added two advisers, Patrick Yee, the ceo of Laird & Partners, and a former executive vice president of marketing and strategy at Refinery 29, and Jessica Hendricks Yee, the founder of The Brave Collection, a line of handmade jewelry.