Unilever Acquires Minority Stake in True Botanicals

NEW YORK, United States — Unilever Ventures, the venture-capital and private-equity arm of consumer packaged goods conglomerate Unilever PLC, 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.

The deal is Unilever Ventures’ first with a direct-to-consumer luxury skincare brand, and demonstrates the appeal of natural products and digital business models that propelled the likes of Warby Parker, Everlane and Dollar Shave Club, now owned by Unilever, to beauty industry investors.

Unilever Ventures has poured an estimated €450 million into some 40 startups 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.

“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.”