See the 15 pitch deck Bravo Sierra used to raise $17 million for its military-inspired personal care brand. ‘We’re delivering on the promise, despite COVID, despite iOS 14, despite the market crashing.’
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- Bravo Sierra sells men’s personal-care products like soap and deodorant.
- The brand launched in 2019 by selling DTC and on military bases and is now expanding into Walmart.
- See the 15-slide pitch deck the brand used to secure its $17 million Series B.
The men’s personal-care brand Bravo Sierra raised a Series B funding round worth $17 million, the company said on Thursday.
The round was led by the investment-advisory firm The Merchant Club. Other investors in the round were Capstar Ventures, Redo Ventures, AF Ventures, and Mousse Partners.
In total, the company said it had now raised $35 million.
Justin Guilbert and Benjamin Bernet launched the brand in 2019. The brand’s deodorant, soap, and other personal-care products are designed with members of the US military in mind. The name “Bravo Sierra” itself originated from the NATO alphabet code for “BS.”
The brand’s goal is to appeal to the millions of US consumers who either have served in the military or know someone who has.
“You turn around, and you ask pretty much anybody if they know someone who served — it could be a grandparent, it could be a cousin, or it could be a buddy,” Guilbert told Insider.
“Everyone’s going to have that singular relationship with a real individual who served,” he added.
Both of Bravo Sierra’s founders have experience in the beauty industry, including stints in marketing at the world’s largest beauty company, L’Oréal. Bernet founded and sold two other beauty brands — the online retailer DooBop and the body-makeup brand Say Hello to Sexy Legs, both now shuttered — before starting Bravo Sierra.
Guilbert founded Harmless Harvest coconut water in 2010. Danone Manifesto Ventures acquired a majority stake in Harmless Harvest last year.
Bravo Sierra’s products are already stocked at Target and on Amazon alongside men’s brands like Old Spice and Axe. But Guilbert and Bernet designed Bravo Sierra to stand out, especially when it comes to smell.
The duo worked with a luxury-perfumer friend of Bernet’s to develop a more sophisticated fragrance for the company’s products. Bravo Sierra’s most popular scent is a blend of citrus and cedarwood.
While it adds to manufacturing costs, it makes Bravo Sierra products stand out from rivals, the pair said. By investing in fragrance, “you can have something that instead of being a single coconut or mango note that’s super basic, you can have something a bit more complex, a bit more subtle,” Bernet told Insider.
“Most of the mass market does not do that,” he added, referring to conventional drugstore brands like Old Spice and Axe.
The brand’s fragrances have been such a hit with customers that Bernet said that scent now informed product development. If a deodorant scent starts selling well, Bravo Sierra takes the scent and puts it in other products, like bodywash.
The brand’s next brick-and-mortar stop is Walmart, where it’s launching at each of the retailer’s roughly 4,700 stores this month. Its goal is to use its Series B to fund the Walmart expansion and develop products, Guilbert said.
Startups in all industries, from tech to beauty, have faced a tough fundraising landscape in 2022 as worries about a recession and inflation make investors more hesitant to back early-stage brands.
About 75% of Bravo Sierra’s latest funding round came from existing investors, Guilbert said, though The Merchant Club, which led the round, was a new backer.
Despite the tough market, Bravo Sierra was able to raise new funding from its prior investors by pitching based on its performance to date, including that around sales earlier in the pandemic and its adjustment to privacy changes to Apple’s iPhone.
Bravo Sierra would not disclose sales numbers. But the brand confirmed it hit its projected $6 million in revenue in 2019. Sales later doubled from 2020 to 2021 and are on track to double again in 2022, it told Insider.
“They understand that we’re delivering on the promise, despite COVID, despite iOS 14, despite the market crashing in the last six months and no one raising a dollar,” Guilbert said of the brand’s long-term investors.
Check out the 15-page pitch deck that Bravo Sierra used to raise its latest funding round: