Funding News: Former Amazon VP Raises $3M for Beauty Shopping Startup; Tagboard gets more cash

Alex Perez-Tennessa. (Photo from LinkedIn)

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

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

Perez-Tenessa didn’t reveal too many details about Trendio when contacted by GeekWire after we discovered an SEC filing pointing to the new funding. He said the company is in “pre-launch.”

“We offer 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 selecting the best products in each beauty category, often from emerging and lesser-known brands. We constantly select products that help customers achieve their best selves while reaching the highest level 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 each product, from a real person.

We respect our customers’ time and invest heavily in technology that tailors the products we recommend and the content of each video to each customer, so everyone 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, Trendio’s premise is similar to Amazon Live, the tech giant’s live streaming platform that helps brands promote discovery of their products through live video.

The pandemic helped spur online beauty purchases, 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 sponsors include Madrona Venture Group, Angel Ventures, Fab Co-Creation Studios, Kima Ventures and Gaingels.

Pérez-Tenessa runs the company with David Olmos, chief technology officer, a former executive at The 2nd Skin Co. and QCrash. Other employees include vice president of content Julie Novak, who spent seven years at Amazon and helped lead Amazon Live; Leah Grubb, former director of makeup at Glossier; and Samuel Moreno, former lead mobile engineer at Holvi.

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

— Tagboard raised an additional $2.3 million, just a few months after announcing an $8 million round. The new investors include WestRiver Group, Spivy Private Capital and Sports Loft. Tagboard, founded in 2011, 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 of WestRiver, joined the board.

— Union.ai came out of stealth mode and announced a $10 million seed round. The Seattle-area startup offers an open source workflow orchestration platform called Flyte, which helps companies run machine learning workflows. CEO of Union.ai Ketan Umare he helped develop the underlying technology while an engineer at Lyft. He previously worked at Amazon and Oracle. NEA led the round.

— Kivo, a Portland, Oregon-based provider of regulatory software, raised a $3 million seed round. The startup, which grew out of Facet Life Sciences earlier this year, helps life sciences 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, former Vice President of 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 drive an RCS messaging launch with Vogue. The 7-person company is distributed in the US; its co-founder Myk Willis is based in the Seattle region. CEO John Duffy previously ran 3Cinteractive.

— Wavy, a “cultural management” startup based in Vancouver, BC, raised a seed round of 2.5 million Canadian dollars. The 3-year company helps distributed teams engage 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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