D-to-c Drugstore Athena Club Raises $15M VC Round

Athena Club, a direct-to-consumer operation that sells grooming, wellness and period products, has raised a $15 million Series A round of funding.

The round was co-led by Cue Ball Capital, with participation from Shazi Visram, founder and chief executive officer of Happy Family Organics; Stefanie Jay, chief business and strategy officer of eBay, and existing seed investors. So far in total, Athena Club has raised $26 million.

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Athena Club relaunched in 2019 as an e-commerce operation with its own product line. Customers set up subscriptions, with the option to add more products to their order.

The business currently sells a $9 razor kit, $15 body wash, $12 deodorant and other products. Products are made without ingredients like synthetic fragrances, aluminum, parabens and triclosan, and the line has an ingredient glossary on its website to explain the ingredients that do wind up in its formulations.

Athena Club’s subscriber base grew by more than 2,000 percent in 2020, according to the company. Ultimately, the brand’s goal is to modernize the consumer packaged good space — and the drugstore shopping experience.

“We are building a one-stop shop for everyone’s anything essential. We’re very focused on product quality, affordability and convenience,” said Maria Markina, co-chief executive and cofounder.

With the funding, Athena Club plans to grow its user base, expand its product offering, improve the digital experience and expand the team.

“We’re building a modern digital drugstore experience,” Markina said. “Overall, we’re really focused on becoming the first digitally native CPG company.”

The company will expand into other categories, the founders said, and look to disrupt markets that the major CPG players currently dominate. “We really rely on our customers and data to inform our decisions as we move forward, but a lot of these categories have been dominated by legacy companies often launching the same product under a new brand so we really want to tackle anything that it’s somebody’s routine,” Markina said.

Athena Club will work on personalizing the digital experience, Markina noted, and is also working on launching refillable products. “Part of the future of CPG is also sustainability,” said co-CEO Charles Desmarais. “We’re working on some really cool refillable concepts.”

For now, the company plans to continue to sell direct-to-consumer.

“We don’t control the experience if we were to sell through Amazon as much — it’s a little riskier. What if someone were to receive a fake product? Eventually, we’d think about it,” said Desmarais.

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