In Brands, Finance

Unilever Ventures has secured a minority stake in prestige natural skincare brand True Botanicals as part of a more than $3 million round of seed funding that includes several investors.

WHO: Mill Valley, California-based True Botanicals was founded in 2014 by Hillary Peterson. Previously a marketing executive at Levi Strauss & Co., Peterson switched career paths after a thyroid cancer diagnosis caused her to evaluate all the beauty products she was using. A year ago, Christina Mace-Turner joined True Botanicals as partner and CEO to evaluate funding opportunities, revamp the brand’s website, and build digital infrastructure to fuel sales. The business is built on a direct-to-consumer distribution strategy but does sell to Barneys New York and natural beauty retailer Follain, However, the brand doesn’t anticipate brick-and-mortar sales to exceed 20 percent of sales.

Unilever Ventures is the venture-capital and private-equity arm of consumer packaged goods conglomerate Unilever PLC.  They invest in young, promising companies, accelerating growth by providing access to Unilever’s global ecosystem, assets, and expertise. Unilever Ventures has poured an estimated €450 million into some 40 start-ups since its establishment in 2002. It concentrates on digital and beauty companies in the US, Europe, and Asia with investments ranging from 5 percent to controlling shares.

WHY:  The seed funding will allow the brand to further expand the digital infrastructure.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “True Botanicals ticked a lot of boxes for us: an early, but demonstrable high growth trajectory, a great founding management team, an authentic brand with a distinctive positioning as well as an innovative, digitally native business model,” said Olivier Garel, the London-based head of ventures at Unilever Ventures, continuing, “From a business perspective, the direct distribution enables the company to invest much more than has been traditional in the product quality and the shopping experience.”

DETAILS:

  • Unilever PLC, has secured a minority stake in True Botanicals as part of a $3 million round of seed funding.
  • Mats Lederhausen, managing partner of investment firm Be-Cause, former managing director of McDonald’s Ventures, and former chairman of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., participated along with lead investor Unilever Ventures in the seed round.

Read more in Business of Fashion.

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