Tech

Joanna Coles adds to corporate roles by joining tech rental start-up

Hardware rental start-up Grover has named former magazine exec Joanna Coles to its board as it plans to rapidly expand its consumer electronics subscription service, fueled by a new $330 million fundraising.

Coles, a 12-year veteran of publisher Hearst and former editor of women’s lifestyle magazine Cosmopolitan, has recently embarked on a new career in dealmaking and corporate governance. she leads several earmarked acquisition companies — or Spacs — and now sits on the boards of several companies, including social media group Snap and speaker maker Sonos.

Her move to Berlin-based Grover came alongside the announcement that she has raised $110 million in equity and $220 million in debt from sustainability-focused investors including Energy Impact Partners, Fasanara Capital and Korelya Capital. had recorded.

Grover offers laptops and cell phones with flexible monthly subscriptions that will extend the life of everyday technology as the products are refurbished and leased to other customers after the end of the contract.

However, competition in the industry is fierce and a growing number of retailers are experimenting with subscription-based services to build longer-term relationships with consumers. According to BloombergApple is working on plans to extend its monthly subscription model for iCloud storage or Apple Music to hardware like the iPhone.

Coles said Grover and Apple are “great partners,” but added, “Most people around the world don’t really use Apple. . . There’s a company out there called Microsoft, and there is [Alphabet-owned] Android.”

“Grover is very optimistic about its multi-brand strategy,” she said.

Coles has become focus of corporate attention after becoming chief executive of four Spacs – Northern Star Acquisition Co I, II, III and IV – but has seen little success in closing deals with the companies.

A $4.7 billion acquisition for Apex Clearing, a group trying to cash in on the boom in amateur investing, fell through when it failed to get SEC approval after eight months of attempts.

The only one of Coles’ blank check companies to complete a merger with a dog toy subscription service called Bark, which bills itself as “the world’s #1 dog brand.” Bark’s stock price has fallen by almost half in the past six months.

The other three Spacs are still looking for acquisition targets and have until early next year to find them. Coles would not comment on her record with the blank check companies.

Grover, which employs 450 people, said the fresh funds would be used to boost subscribers in existing markets like Spain, the US and Germany. According to Grover, annual recurring revenue has more than doubled to €140 million in 2021, which is only profitable in his home country so far.

​​Michael Cassau, founder and CEO of Grover, called tech rentals a “global societal change” and said the company he founded in 2015 is “a pioneer”.

Additional reporting by Philip Stafford in London

Joanna Coles adds to corporate roles by joining tech rental start-up Source link Joanna Coles adds to corporate roles by joining tech rental start-up

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