There is good money in pseudoscience.
At least, we assume that’s why Lightspeed Venture Partners just led a $50 million (£35.6 million) Series C funding round that values Gwyneth Paltrow’s sex-dust smoothie-pushing lifestyle brand, Goop, at an estimated of $250 million (£178 million). The funding round was reported by PitchBook.
Goop has attracted plenty of detractors for trafficking in generally unscientific, at times even dangerous, advice. Goop’s greatest hits read like a catalogue of the surreal. A $15,000 (£10,600) gold dildo. A $66 (£47) jade vagina egg that could actually give you an infection. A ‘biofrequency’ healing sticker that prompted NASA to call bullshit.
No matter. These details did not seem to dampen interest of Lightspeed Venture. The company’s portfolio includes other lifestyle brands, including Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, Sophia Amuroso’s Girl Boss, and Affirm, the lending startup from PayPal cofounder Max Levchin that makes luxury purchases more accessibly by allowing shoppers to take out single-purchase micro loans.
Lightspeed investor Nicole Quinn explained the interest in Goop in a Medium post that pegged the company as “the next true luxury brand.”
Paltrow founded Goop in 2008. It had previously raised $26.5 million (£18.8 million) and was last valued at $65 million (£46.2 million) in August 2016. The company puts out a newsletter and maintains a blog with lifestyle advice, in addition to selling often ridiculous and expensive products. Currently in the Goop store: A pack of 30 vitamins for $90 (£64), an $80 (£56) water bottle embedded with rose quartz “to infuse water with positive energy,” and a $149 24-karat gold-plated vibrator that can be worn as a necklace.
“Goop is about more than selling vitamin-fortified fluids, jade eggs, and cosmic energy crystals. It’s about a community of millions of women who religiously read Goop’s newsletter and attend Goop beauty events,” Quinn writes.
“Goopies,” Quinn continued, “are conscientious and curious consumers, focused on health and wellness, and seeking recommendations and personalisation. In both respects they trust Gwyneth’s taste and judgement. As do I.”
Alright then! [PitchBook]