HUM, which calls itself a “beauty nutrition” company, announced a $5 million Series A investment round with participation from CircleUp Growth Partners, Natalie Massenet and Nick Brown's Imaginary Ventures, and Strand Equity Partners.
In a statement, the privately owned company said it “has already reached profitability and [has] seen strong quarterly growth of 30% or more for the past 12 quarters.” The company said the new investment is the first institution funding round for the company which up to now has been backed by private angel investors that have worked with HUM co-founders Walter Faulstroh and Chris Coleridge in past ventures.
The investment is the company's first round of institutional funding. HUM had been privately funded through angel investors that have backed the HUM founders in previous ventures. HUM offers a personalized product selection process that includes a questionnaire and evaluation by a nutritionist, and a suite of products aimed at skin and nail health, gut health, energy, and other indications, all with a “beauty starts from within” message.
"HUM is pioneering an exciting new area in personal care that's rapidly growing in popularity—ingestible beauty," said Ben Lee, Managing Director of Funds, CircleUp. "The emerging category is at the intersection of two very large industries dominated by incumbents that have dated products and brands out-of-touch with modern consumers: beauty and supplements.”
"We are fortunate enough to be a profitable, fast growing start-up, which allowed us to take time finding the most aligned investors that offer a great understanding of our space and the know-how to help us implement our vision," Faulstroh said.
Distribution, appearance keys to success
In an anti-aging forum aired on NutraIngredients-USA last year, experts said where beauty from within products are sold and what they look like are keys to success. Consumers seem to view these more as personal care adjuncts rather than as straight nutritional products. Carl Freund, an executive with Unistraw Corp., said many of these products end up jumbled into the dietary supplement aisle where their message gets lost.
“That’s a very large selection of products and it can be confusing for consumers,” he said. “You don’t get the whole tie-in with skin care that you’d like to see. The consumer is not seeing the overall picture. They are not seeing supplements alongside high end serums or facial creams. Only a few retailers are doing it that way.”
HUM seems to have taken that message to heart. The products feature bright, engaging labels that play well in dedicated displays in high end retailers, where a more stodgy, drug-like label of the typical dietary supplement might look out of place. This was one of the brand’s attributes that attracted the institutional investors.
“HUM's proven and passionate executive team, data-driven, personalized approach to building customer relationships, as well as strong traction in Sephora and other leading retailers make it a highly compelling brand for us to partner with,” said Ben Lee, managing director of funds for CircleUp.