Funding news: Former Amazon VP raises $3M for beauty shopping startup; Tagboard lands more cash

Alex Perez-Tnessa. (LinkedIn Photo)

— Trendio, a stealthy Seattle startup building a video shopping service focused on beauty products, raised $3 million.

The company is led by Alex Perez-Tenessa, a former vice president at Amazon who most recently led the tech giant’s US Prime Video business. He also was a VP for Amazon’s global digital and physical books business, and was a vice president of beauty and personal care for CVS Health for four years before joining Amazon in 2017.

Perez-Tenessa wouldn’t reveal too many details about Trendio when reached by GeekWire, after we spotted a SEC filing that noted the new funding. He said the company is “pre-launch.”

“We give customers a new way to discover and engage with beauty products,” he said.

Here’s more about the company’s service, via its website:

At Trendio, we spend countless hours curating the best products in every beauty category, often from up-and-coming, lesser-known brands. We consistently select products that help customers achieve their best self while meeting the highest bar in terms of ethical, sustainable, and equitable production.

We partner with the most passionate creators to present those products on video, giving customers the best information they can get on every product, from a real person.

We respect our customers’ time and invest heavily in technology that adapts the products we recommend and the content of every video to each customer, so that each of them sees the products and information they care about and nothing else. And we never carry inventory, so we have no incentive to sell through any product.

In some ways, the premise of Trendio is similar to Amazon Live, the tech giant’s livestreaming platform that helps brands promote discovery of their products through live video.

The pandemic helped spur online beauty product shopping, Crunchbase reported in September, while M&A activity has increased for venture-backed beauty and cosmetics startups.

The US online personal care market is expected to reach $79 billion in 2025, up from $53 billion in 2021.

Trendio’s backers include Madrona Venture Group, Angel Ventures, Fab Co-Creation Studios, Kima Ventures, and Gaingels.

Perez-Tenessa leads the company with David Olmos, chief technology officer, a former exec at The 2nd Skin Co. and QCrash. Other employees include VP of Content Julie Novak, who spent seven years at Amazon and helped lead Amazon Live; Leah Grubb, former head of makeup at Glossier; and Samuel Moreno, former lead mobile engineer at Holvi.

Here’s other startup funding news across the Pacific Northwest tech ecosystem.

— Tagboard raised an additional $2.3 million, just a few months after announcing a $8 million round. New investors include WestRiver Group, Spivy Private Capital, and Sports Loft. Founded in 2011, Tagboard develops live production and graphics technology used by sports and entertainment companies. Tagboard employs 40 people and is led by CEO Nathan Peterson, who was promoted in January. Anthony Bontrager, managing director at WestRiver, has joined the board.

— Kivo, a regulatory software provider based in Portland, Ore., raised a $3 million seed round. The startup, which spun out of Facet Life Sciences earlier this year, helps life science companies manage documents and collaborate in real-time. Facet Life Sciences and Oregon Venture Fund led the round, with participation from Rogue Ventures, Cascade Seed Fund, and Peninsula Ventures. Kivo is led by CEO Toban Zolman, a former vice president at Cloudability.

— Direqt, which helps content publishers and brand advertisers build RCS (Rich Communication Services) chatbots, raised $1.3 million. The startup recently partnered with Vodafone to help power a RCS messaging rollout with Vogue. The 7-person company is distributed across the US; its co-founder Myk Willis is based in the Seattle region. CEO John Duffy previously led 3Cinteractive.

— Wavy, a Vancouver, BC-based “culture management” startup, raised a CAD $2.5 million seed round. The 3-year-old company helps distributed teams participate in team-building experiences. Laconia Capital led the round, which included Garage Capital, Two Small Fish Ventures, Archangel, Backbone Angels, and others. The startup is led by CEO and co-founder Shawn Hewat, a former marketing lead at Nudge.

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