Startups

Chest-inclusive intimates startup AnaOno raised a $1M seed round

Founder and CEO Dana Donofree has plans to expand offerings and eventually hire a full-time CMO, ecommerce director, sales director and other administrative roles.

Dana Donofree.

(Courtesy photo)

Like many founders, AnaOno CEO Dana Donofree’s vision for her company was shaped by personal experience.

In her late 20s, the breast cancer survivor was struggling to find intimates that would fit the needs of her changing body. In 2014, she launched intimates collection AnaOno that embraces different chest shapes and surgery outcomes. The pieces are pocketed for the use of breast forms, and are underwire-free to provide comfort after breast surgery, and while patients undergo treatments.

After bootstrapping the company for four years, Donofree raised some pre-seed money in 2018, and this month, the founder said the company had raised a $1 million seed round to expand the company’s offerings and its operations.

The round is led by Golden Seeds, an investment network that invests in women-run companies. Donofree said she pitched the network years ago, but the company was deemed too early for funding and too early in the key phases of the business.

“Through years of staying connected, networking, and hard work, I got the opportunity to present once again to this incredible investment group,” said Donofree, an honoree of Inc.’s 2021 Female Founders 100 list, in an email. “Not only do they focus on female founders, but many of the investors are also women themselves. This gives us an amazing opportunity to share in the understanding of what breast cancer patients, and other undergoing breast surgery face in their daily lives.”

"It has been an honor to meet and discuss our business with a group that gets it."
Dana Donofree on Golden Seeds

The raise will go toward supporting hiring in the ecommerce and marketing tracks for AnaOno, the founder said, as well as allow the company to expand its product offerings, and design solutions that will impact healing and recovery for breast surgeries.

“AnaOno has the opportunity to serve this large, growing unmet need for specialty bras with style, fashion and fit to uplift women and change their self-esteem and their lives,” said Susan Nethero, founder of the Atlanta chapter of Golden Seed, in a statement.

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Donofree works alongside full-time CFO and COO Kimberly Parks and a team of five in the Philly area who support design, community outreach and customer service. Donofree said she has a goal of hiring a full-time CMO, ecommerce director, sales director and other administrative roles.

The brand reports more than 30,000 customers and is setting a goal of 100,000 annually. The raise will help strengthen internal operations and double its year over year growth, the company said.

“It has been an honor to meet and discuss our business with a group that ‘gets it,'” Donofree said of Golden Seeds.

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