Unilever Ventures Re-ups Investment In Perelel As The Supplement Brand Closes $6M Series A Round
Perelel’s customers are sticking with it—and so are its investors.
The supplement brand designed for women’s different hormonal stages has completed a $6 million series A funding round led by Unilever Ventures, Willow Growth Partners and Selva Ventures. Unilever Ventures, the venture capital arm of consumer packaged goods giant Unilever, and Willow Growth Partners were involved in its $4.7 million seed round in 2022. In total, Perelel has raised $12.1 million in funding. Among the other brands in the portfolios of Unilever Ventures, Willow Growth Partners and Selva Ventures are Live Tinted, Bubble, Jupiter, Crown Affair, Exponent and Minu.
Victoria Thain Gioia, co-CEO and co-founder of Perelel and soon-to-be mother of four, points out that a big reason the brand’s investors have returned to participate in a follow-on round is it’s validating its early thesis that women will persistently use its products through various life milestones like trying to get pregnant (Conception Support Pack is its product for that purpose) and being pregnant (1st, 2nd and 3rd Trimester Prenatal Packs are its products for pregnancy).
Perelel reports that a third of the customers that enter its product universe for a first child depend on it as they prepare to have a second child. The business has grown over 200%, doubled revenues annually and is on track to be profitable in 12 to 24 months. Perelel didn’t release exact sales, but discloses it sold almost 31 million capsules in the last year. This year, it forecasts its sales could more than double.
“It’s definitely a sticky customer. They have strict adherence to taking the product every day, especially the Conception and the Trimester Pack,” says Thain Gioia. “So, it’s a subscription business that really works because they are taking this product every day for 30 days, and they do not want to miss a day.”
Thain Gioia, a Harvard Business School graduate who formerly held finance and strategy positions at Olive & June and The Honest Co., launched Perelel in September 2020 with Alex Taylor, previously president and executive editor in chief at Who What Wear owner Clique. OB-GYN Banafsheh Bayati is another co-founder. Thain Gioia acknowledges Perelel’s series A round is on the small side for series A rounds, but the sum was intentional. She says, “We don’t need a huge amount of capital to become profitable.”
Perelel’s series A funding will go toward building its team—it has around 12 employees now and could have about 20 by the middle of 2025—increasing efficient marketing and expanding distribution and merchandise. The brand premiered with five products, and it currently has 19 products priced primarily from $25 to nearly $62 for a one-time purchase. As it’s enlarged its assortment, it’s widened its wellness product aperture. Notably, Synbiotic Greens Powder, a product introduced last year, has quickly become a bestseller.
“We want to continue to develop products that will serve this woman, and we can extend that lifetime with her,” says Thain Gioia. “We launched very concentrated in the fertility and motherhood journey. That is very core to who we are as a business and why we started this, but with this broader vision from day one to have products for all women throughout all of their hormonal ups and downs, we want to support her from her first period throughout menopause and beyond, but continue to have this lens of targeted nutrition that’s really specific to each of those moments and women’s needs.”
“It’s definitely a sticky customer.”
While most of Perelel’s sales are via direct-to-consumer distribution, it’s cracked retail and e-tail at Erewhon, Free People and Revolve. It’s also in 250 doctors’ offices. Thain Gioia says Perelel’s retail presence has evolved slower than she might have imagined at the outset of the brand, but a large-scale retail partner is on its roadmap, though not in the near term. “There’s been a lot of product proliferation on some of these retail shelves, and some of the retailers have not done as well in the last two years,” she explains. “So, we really want to make sure that we’ve built the brand in such a way that we can be very successful when we do have a large-scale rollout in retail.”
Customers, predominantly women aged 25 to 35 years in metropolitan areas across the country (Thain Gioia notes Perelel shipped to all 50 states in the United States within eight weeks of launching), typically arrive at the brand through Instagram and Facebook, but it’s experimenting with TikTok and focusing on educational content. Brand and influencer collaborations are key awareness drivers, too. Perelel has created online educational hub “The Menstrual Knowledge Gap” and YouTube series “The Hormonal Hotline.”
“Many women don’t start to learn about their cycles until they’re trying to get pregnant, and then they’re discovering that there’s a very short window to even become pregnant and how their cycles work and how their hormones work,” says Thain Gioia. “We are doubling down in our content marketing on education and supporting women in understanding their bodies and their health system.”
The vitamins and supplements market is projected to escalate in the United States (market insights firm Statista figures it will advance at a compound annual growth rate of 4.23% through 2028), and deals in it reflect an expectation that interest in wellness will only mount. In November last year, Pharmavite, maker of Nature Made vitamins, announced it would buy menopause supplement company Bonafide Health for $425 million.
Perelel is highly conscious of constructing a business that can fit in a potential acquirer’s portfolio. “The metrics really do matter and your margins matter. You need to be profitable, the business needs to make sense,” says Thain Gioia. “You no longer can just kind of explode a brand, but you really have to prove that it’s a business, and it’s going to make sense in a larger portfolio and that growth can be accelerated.”
Perelel has a one-for-one program in which it gives prenatal vitamins to underserved communities. It’s donated $2.5 million worth of prenatal vitamins as part of the program. At the center of the brand and the program, reproductive health will undoubtedly play an important role in the upcoming presidential and congressional elections in the United States. Perelel is sorting through what role it will play.
“It’s a tricky world to be a brand today and how you participate, and it’s very easy to make missteps. I think we will participate in the places that make sense to us,” says Thain Gioia. “We are not a political brand, but we are a brand that stands for women’s health and reproductive health and with that comes reproductive rights, and so I think that is where we tend to have a voice in supporting women and their right to healthcare and reproductive health.”