FIGS Cleans Up With The 4th Largest Raise For A Female-Founded Company In 2017
Heather Hasson was animated on our phone call as she described the fan mail she and her cofounder Trina Spear receive. As co-CEOs, they’re constantly getting letters from nurses and doctors about how their company has changed lives. “They wear their scrubs seven days a week, 14 hours a day,” says Hasson. “And they’re boxy and ill-fitting and scratchy.”
With over 19 million healthcare workers in the U.S. as of December 2017, Hasson and Spear are onto something big with their stylish, antimicrobial, odor-free and wrinkle-free designs. Film magnate Thomas Tull certainly thinks so. The founder of Legendary Entertainment, who had previously taken a stake in FIGS, is now a majority owner, injecting a further $65 million into the company, which aims to grab a chunk of the $50 billion in sales that the medical apparel industry rakes in globally. Tull has the time and some cash now, after having resigned from the film production company in 2017 and selling most of its stake to Chinese company Wanda Group.
According to data from PitchBook, only three other investments in female-founded companies last year exceeded the amount Tull is sinking into FIGS through his Tulco, a holding company with the mission of looking for companies in large industries that are ripe for disruption. This is the 11th biggest deal for a U.S.-based, female-founded company since PitchBook began publishing its research in 2007.
FIGS isn’t the only company that is vying for a piece of the medical apparel market. Strategic Partners, a company that launched in 1995, has been selling in bulk to brick and mortar stores with little competition as incentive to change. A more recent entrant into the space is Jaanuu, which focuses on scrubs that look like they could have just come off a runway. Jaanuu was founded in 2013 by Dr. Neela Sethi Young and her brother, private equity investor Shaan Sethi.
Hasson, a former fashion executive, and Spear, who worked in finance at Blackstone Group where she became familiar with Strategic Partners and the medical apparel industry, saw a chance to innovate a sleepy market by using fabrics that were sleek, lightweight, and breathable and by selling direct to consumer, a model that was popularized by Warby Parker in 2010 and quickly spread across industries from shaving to baby clothes. They founded FIGS in 2013.
“We’re not just changing an antiquated industry, we’re changing purchasing behaviors that have been ingrained in this community for over a hundred years,” Hasson says.
Read the full article in Forbes here.