Sophia “Girlboss” Amoruso is back: the former CEO, and founder of online retailer Nasty Gal, just raised $3.1m in funding led by Lightspeed Ventures for her new media company, Girlboss — a brand “focused on redefining success for women.”
The new round puts Girlboss’ valuation at around $13.1m, and gives Amoruso the ammo she needs to build a company she envisions as “one part Vice, one part Oprah.”
Her last company met a nasty end
Starting with an eBay store back in ‘06, Amoruso raised $65m over 10 years to create Nasty Gal, a women’s e-commerce darling with over $100m in revenue at its peak.
Alas, Nasty Gal fell from grace: Amoruso stepped down as CEO in 2015 amidst stagnant sales numbers. In 2016, the company filed for bankruptcy, citing “liquidity issues” (re: no cash on deck).
Ultimately, they sold to UK online retailer Boohoo for $20m — a shadow of their former selves.
But from the ashes, rose a phoenix: Girlboss
Amoruso launched the Girlboss brand from her best-selling business book about her journey, which was adapted into a Netflix series this year.
Since then, she’s launched a podcast called Girlboss Radio and plans to cut distribution deals with partners for content, branded advertising, swag, and events.
Case in point: Girlboss has held 2 “rallies” so far, with tickets going for as much as $700. Companies like Bumble have dropped “six-figures” on ad integrations like a headshot booth at the events.
But investors think the potential lies in the “Peloton model”
Girlboss also sold $65 “digital tickets” for each of the rallies, which allowed “attendees” to view rally recordings and join a social media group.
Much like cycling startup Peloton does with Lightspeed (their at-home guided workouts), Girlboss sees this as an opportunity to scale ticket sales beyond their in-person reach.
As for Amoruso, she’s not the 20-year-old first-time founder she was in 2006: Nasty Gal, though a failure on paper, gave her a “Ph.D. in entrepreneurship.”
“I’m not naive anymore,” she told The Wall Street Journal.