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Don Ressler

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Don Ressler is the entrepreneur behind a series of successful start-ups, including Intelligent Beauty and its subsidiaries. After his first start-up, FitnessHeaven.com, was purchased by Intermix Media in 2001, Ressler teamed-up with then 19-year-old Intermix COO Adam Goldenberg to form Alena Media. The ecommerce and performance advertising division generated hundreds of millions in revenue and was Intermix’s only profit center. When Intermix was acquired by News Corp in 2005, Ressler and Goldenberg found themselves watching the profitable, successful ecommerce business they had built be ignored by the media conglomerate. Frustrated and not bound to the new company, the partners left to explore new opportunities.

Knowing that they had the skills to excel in the growing field of online performance advertising, the Ressler and Goldenberg decided to create a brand building enterprise they could execute autonomously. Gathering a group of former Alena team members, the co-founders held a brainstorming session in Goldenberg’s living room. Two-weeks later, Brand Ideas, later to become Intelligent Beauty, was born.

The direct-to-consumer brand building business’s first creation was DERMSTORE, an online skincare and cosmetics marketplace. Two years later, they launched weight-loss system SENSA, bringing in Dr. Alan Hirsch for product development and Intermix founder Brett Brewer as CEO. Though Intelligent Beauty doesn’t release its financial results, both SENSA and DERMSTORE are said to be highly profitable. After bootstrapping most of their funding for the first two years, the company accepted $43 million in funding from Technology Crossover Ventures in 2008.

In 2010, Intelligent Beauty launched a third company, subscription ecommerce fashion retailer JustFab. In 2011, JustFab received $33 million in funding from Matrix Partners. Kimora Lee Simmons joined the company as President and Creative Director in September of that year, and by December they had reached 4 million members. After announcing it had crossed the six million member mark in April 2012, the co-founders raised a second round of funding, securing $76 million from Rho Ventures, Matrix Partners, Crossover Ventures, and parent-company Intelligent Beauty that June.

Riding on the momentum of these successful first two years, JustFab started seeking opportunities to expand into new markets. Recognizing that many of their existing customers were parents, JustFab purchased children’s fashion subscription service FabKids on Jan 18, 2013. On May 23, 2013, JustFab acquired European fashion ecommerce site The Fab Shoes. The addition of The Fab Shoes brought with it 500,000 member in France and Spain, adding to the 1.5 million-strong European membership JustFab had built in Germany and the UK. By the end of 2013, JustFab had 3 million members throughout Europe. On October 1, 2013, after completing a $40 million Series C funding round, JustFab launched Fabletics, an athletic wear site developed in collaboration with Kate Hudson. They company also acquired rival shoe subscription service ShoeDazzle, bringing it into the JustFab family in August 2013. Finally, in addition to expanding services to include kids’ wear, athletic wear, and European markets, JustFab took their services offline, opening their flagship store in September 2013.

In August 2014, JustFab closed an $85 million round of funding led by Passport Special Opportunity Fund, and including existing investors Shining Capital, Matrix Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures. The round brought the company’s total capitalization to $250 million.

Companies and Investments

Intelligent Beauty (Co-founder, Co-CEO), JustFab (Co-founder), Intermix, FitnessHeaven.com (Founder)

Lessons Learned

Finding the right partner to grow with us is key at this stage in our business. Rho's commitment to building sustainable brands while maintaining the entrepreneurial spirit makes them an ideal partner as we continue our upward trajectory. (Ressler on being discerning in choosing investors, as quoted in L.A. Biz)

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