Clean Cosmetics Brand Kosås Receives Financial Investment From CircleUp Growth Partners

CircleUp points to Kosås growth potential and indie beauty brands’ ability to scale rapidly and outmaneuver large competitors.

Los Angeles-based clean color cosmetics brand Kosås has received a minority investment from institutional fund CircleUp Growth Partners. The capital will be used to enlarge distribution domestically and internationally to fuel the brand’s sales.

“I was ready to share my point of view on beauty in a much bigger way,” shares Kosås founder Sheena Yaitanes. “With this first infusion of outside capital, we plan to build on the strong foundation we have created since our inception two years ago. We will have the opportunity to fully realize the world of Kosås.” After meeting with several potential investors, Yaitanes felt most aligned with CircleUp. She says, “It was important to partner with someone who emotionally connected to our message, and that’s exactly what we found with Alison [Ryu, CircleUp managing director] and the CircleUp partners.”

 Sheena Yaitanes Kosas Founder

Yaitanes continues that the investment is intended to drive “our growth trajectory with a narrative-driven content strategy, innovative product development, and expanded distribution through key retail partnerships, as well as our own direct-to-consumer channels.”

Kosås was founded in 2015 with a collection of four lipsticks that’s since been extended to eight. It has diversified its product assortment to include blushes and highlighters. The brand offers flattering formulations with universal appeal. Kosås’ three bestselling lipstick shades are the rose shade Rosewater, sheer neutral pink hue Stardust and semi-matte pinkish-brown tint Undone. Lipsticks are priced at $28. 

The brand’s sales doubled in 2017 without outside investment to propel them. This year, sales are projected to triple thanks to deeper distribution with Violet Grey, Goop, Revolve, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Credo and The Detox Market. Kosås has also focused on direct-to-consumer sales, which it says are part of an integrated marketing strategy designed to drive brand awareness and engagement to the brand’s web site.

Yaitanes, a chemist with training as a fine artist, was introduced to makeup at young age by her mother, who worked with brands such as Clinique and Clarins. The combination of science and style has informed the way Yaitanes crafts Kosås’ prestige color cosmetics.

Kosås is the latest addition to CircleUp’s portfolio of consumer goods companies that includes Hum Nutrition, and Supergoop. Terms of the fund’s deal with Kosås weren’t disclosed.

“We aim to partner with visionary founders who are growing their respective categories and looking to raise strategic growth capital,” says Alison Ryu, managing director at the $125-million institutional fund. ”We have been impressed by Sheena’s unwavering vision for the brand, and we look forward to serving as a thought partner as she introduces a narrative-driven content strategy to continue building the brand.”

Ryu told Beauty Independent that the next phase of development for will feature strategic product launches to broaden the brand’s assortment. Kosås also plans on increasing distribution with key retail partners and strengthening sales at

Focused on early stage investment, CircleUp leverages its proprietary technology asset, Helio, to identify potential brands as investment targets. Ryu remains bullish on beauty, asserting the sector will remain a focus for CircleUp going forward.

“The power of social media combined with the rise of new distribution, most notably the opportunity to go direct-to-consumer, has allowed differentiated indie brands to scale rapidly, better positioning them to out-innovate larger incumbents,” says Ryu, adding that the innovation in clean beauty is specifically of interest to CircleUp. “We look forward to working with more entrepreneurs like Sheena Yaitanes who are creating differentiated solutions that prioritize the elimination of unnecessary chemicals such as parabens and sulfates for the end consumer.” 

The year is not half done and already the beauty market has seen a flood of investment deals. Glossier scooped up a $52 million in February from Index Ventures, IVP and other investors, BH Cosmetics received backing from MidOcean Partners and Billie closed a seed round led by Silverton Partners, to name a few of the transactions characterizing 2018 so far. Anastasia Beverly Hills is rumored to be next to seal a deal.