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

9 mins ago - World

Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave

Paris under curfew. Photo: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

The coronavirus is still winning: Now even Germany is entering another national lockdown, joined by France.

Why it matters: France has been "overpowered by a second wave,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a nationally televised address today. Macron said the "new wave will be stronger and deadlier" than the first.

Stocks close down more than 3%

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld via Getty Images

Stocks took a hit on Wednesday, with the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrials Average and Nasdaq dropping more than 3% across the board.

Why it matters: The volatility is a break from the stock market grinding higher in the face of spiking coronavirus cases, a stalling economy and gridlocked negotiations over an additional stimulus package.

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