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Ina Fried / Axios

Tina Sharkey has been reinventing media for some time, having run both BabyCenter.com and NBC's iVillage before trying her hand at VC work at Sherpa Capital.

  • For the last couple of years, though, she's been working to upend the consumer goods space with Brandless, which launches today, charging $3 apiece for all manner of packaged food and household staples.
  • Think of it as an online Trader Joe's for the millennial set, with a little bit of Ikea's kitchen section thrown in. Rather than feature product brands, the front of each package lists the product's attributes, including details on whether it is organic, kosher, non-GMO, etc.
  • But make no mistake, Brandless is aiming to be a new kind of brand.

"We're a different kind of brand but we are unapologetically a brand," Sharkey told me last week as we toured the company's offices in San Francisco's Presidio.

Why it matters: Sharkey says that consumers buying goods on store shelves are paying a 40 percent "brand tax" and that going it their way can save money. Plus at $3 per item customers don't have to buy large quantities. But not all the products are an equally good deal as profit margins vary by product and flat $9 shipping fee can add up on small orders. (Orders over $72 ship free.)

What they offer: On the food side, it's everything from quinoa puffs to pasta sauce, peanut butter and crackers. Household goods include toothpaste, tampons and dish soap, but also things like colanders and can openers.

What's missing: There are no perishables. In addition, it's been tough to find away to sell some pricier items, like Almond butter. But Sharkey is still hopeful on that one, seeing single-serving packs as a possible solution.

Meanwhile: Brandless is using the launch to announce a $35 million Series B round led by New Enterprise Associates, with GV, Redpoint Ventures, Cowboy Ventures and Slow Ventures also investing.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

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