Gwyneth Paltrow Says Her Celebrity Was A Hindrance In Raising Money For Her Lifestyle Brand Goop

Nikki Ritcher for the Wall Street Journal

Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow has built a $250 million wellness and lifestyle brand that launched its first international pop-up store London this fall and is on track to double its annual revenue this year.

But even someone with Paltrow’s international celebrity and social media cachet found it difficult to raise money for her business, Goop.

“Being an actress, it was really helpful to get meetings,” Paltrow told the Wall Street Journal’s Tech D. Live conference tonight. “Sometimes a guy would want a selfie for his wife, or to tell me how much they love The Royal Tenenbaums … It very quickly became a hindrance.”

Paltrow’s experience is not dissimilar to that of other female entrepreneurs, who encounter obstacles when it comes to raising money. Male entrepreneurs received $58.2 billion in venture backing last year, while women received a fraction of that sum, $1.5 billion, according to PitchBook.

The actress turned entrepreneur said she learn how to articulate her vision in a way that would win over investors — often by underscoring her company’s solid growth metrics. That helped her raise $50 million in Series C funding in March, from an investor group that includes NEA, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Felix Capital.

“I think it’s great to defend your business,” Paltrow said. “It’s great to articulate why you’re doing what you’re trying to do.”

Paltrow said she is working to create a modern lifestyle brand with wellness at its core, one that helps consumers make good choices. Launched in 2008 out of Paltrow’s kitchen as a homespun weekly newsletter, Goop was created as a way to organize travel recommendations, healthy recipes and shopping discoveries for friends. The site has emerged, over the decade, as a place where readers can find suggestions about where to shop, eat, and stay from a trusted friend.

The content provides context for the beauty, fashion, wellness and home products goop sells.

“On the content side we like to move the needle,” Paltrow said. “We like to start discussions…. that people are sometimes surprised by. The content is really important for the commerce piece.”

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