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Tesla’s Former Top Lawyer Joins Medical Apparel Startup FIGS

March 19, 2021, 11:15 PM

FIGS Inc., a fast-growing medical apparel retailer, has hired Tesla Inc.‘s former general counsel, Todd Maron, as its first legal chief.

FIGS, which is battling a key competitor in court and reportedly mulling a potential initial public offering this year at a valuation approaching $4 billion, hired Maron last month to lead a growing legal group.

“Todd’s many years of experience on the leadership team at Tesla as it scaled into a worldwide business will be invaluable to FIGS as we continue to innovate and grow our impact globally,” Trina Spear, FIGS’ co-founder and co-CEO, said a statement.

FIGS was called the “Warby Parker of scrubs” in a 2018 Wall Street Journal story that cited the $100 million in revenue earned by the company through its aggressive marketing campaigns and direct-to-consumer business model.

Billionaire investor Thomas Tull paid $65 million in 2017 to take a controlling stake in FIGS from Spear and co-CEO Heather Hasson, its two female founders. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company’s other backers reportedly include the actor Will Smith and New York Giants co-owner Steven Tisch.

Maron, who in private practice once represented Tesla founder Elon Musk in two divorces, spent more than five years as the upstart automaker’s top in-house lawyer.

He left Tesla in early 2019 and later that year joined electric bike-sharing startup Wheels Up Inc. as legal chief. During his first few months at Wheels, Maron had to cope with a changing business environment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At FIGS, Maron said he’s excited to join another “mission-driven” company dedicated to improving the lives of hard-working health care professionals.

Doctors, nurses, and other health care pros often had to go to out-of-the-way locations or brick-and-mortar stores to purchase scrubs and other products, Maron said. That’s a particularly difficult endeavor for individuals who want to spend time with their families when not working for what can be 12-hour shifts.

“FIGS has innovated the business model and modernized the distribution system and product,” said Maron, who declined to discuss any IPO plans. “Bringing e-commerce to health care professionals is obviously critical because of the way they’ve historically had to buy their apparel—it just made no sense.”

FIGS has sought to make scrubs less commoditized, said Maron, calling the company’s signature medical garments and other lifestyle products “functional, durable, comfortable, and stylish,” which can be worn at work and off-shift.

“We’re anchored to our elevated scrubs but do far more than that,” Maron said. “We’ve created a huge brand, almost cult-like following within the health care professional community.”

Growing Pains

While FIGS has watched demand for its apparel rise during the coronavirus pandemic, breaking new ground in the medical field has presented challenges.

The company, founded in 2013, came under fire last year over an ad that offended women health care workers. FIGS apologized for its advert, which critics called insensitive and sexist, and said it would donate $100,000 to an organization supporting the medical profession.

FIGS is also facing litigation from Careismatic Brands Inc., a rival scrubs maker that owns the Dickies and Cherokee brands, which has accused its competitor of false advertising and unfair business practices.

Maron declined to discuss the litigation against FIGS, which the company has said has no merit. Munger, Tolles & Olson and Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, a pair of Los Angeles-based law firms, are representing FIGS in the dispute. Michelman & Robinson is advising Careismatic, which was sold for $1.3 billion in January to Swiss private equity firm Partners Group Holding AG.

At FIGS, Maron works with general counsel Danielle Warner, a former Cooley associate hired by the company in 2019, and senior corporate counsel Devika Tandon, who came aboard last summer. FIGS is looking to hire a corporate paralegal and will likely add more legal staffers down the road, said Maron, who joined the company Feb. 1 to head its law department.

Over the next few weeks, Maron hopes to pursue another passion: watching college basketball. FIGS’ new legal chief is a former student manager for the University of Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team, a job he thought at the time might prepare him for a potential career as a sports agent.

Maron, who remains active in alumni circles, must now prepare for the rigors of March Madness. The Wolverines are the No. 1 seed in the East region of the annual postseason college basketball tournament and will play Saturday against Texas Southern University in Indianapolis.

Michigan’s only tournament win was in 1989, with the Wolverines more recently losing in the 2013 and 2018 championship games, having also fallen short during the Fab Five years of 1992 and 1993. Maron’s cautiously optimistic that this year’s March Madness winner will hail from the Big Ten Conference, which just hired a new general counsel and is the collegiate home of the Wolverines.

“Michigan’s going to win it all,” he vowed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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