LONDON — In its bid to back purpose-led consumer brands, Iris Ventures has invested 6 million euros in Olistic, a science-backed nutraceutical brand that treats hair loss and the lifestyle factors that contribute to it.
Iris, which led the Series A funding round in the Barcelona-based company, said it invested because Olistic “has broken the mold, developing best-in-class, vegan, all-natural products backed by science for both men and women, a category often ignored by competing brands.”
Iris noted that the hair growth industry was worth multibillions of dollars, “and remains dominated by prescription and traditional synthetic solutions, with little to no customer feedback and relationship.”
Olistic sells its products in Spain and Portugal through its website and top pharmacies and hospitals. The brand’s cofounders said the investment will be used for further research, to scale the product line, and to expand in the U.K. and Continental Europe, specifically France, Italy and Germany.
Montse Suarez, founder and managing partner of Iris Ventures, said with health care at the forefront of consumers’ minds, Olistic has the potential “to become a major wellness player, addressing the needs of the modern consumer. The convergence between beauty and wellness is a fact, and problems such as hair loss for women have been overlooked for too long, creating an opportunity for investment.”
Inés Ures, partner at Iris Ventures, said the fund was impressed by Olistic’s “early days traction and positive customer feedback,” and noted that it has been performing equally strongly across online and offline channels.
“An immediate success, the product has been enthusiastically received by the industry, including leading dermatologists and pharmacists,” Ures added.
Hair care is among the hottest product categories in beauty today, with investors honing in on the wellness and nutritional angle.
The investment in Olistic comes a few months after Unilever signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Nutrafol, a maker of wellness products and the top dermatologist-recommended hair-growth brand in the U.S. Nutrafol’s product range addresses issues such as thinning hair and compromised hair health for women and men of all ages.
Olistic sees itself as a 360-degree health and well-being brand, offering advice to customers and helping them address the myriad factors that could be contributing to the hair loss, such as diet, stress, menopause and aging.
Its cofounders are Pedro Luis Gonzalez Atienza, global director of Innovation and Product Planning at Almirall, one of the top derma-pharma companies in Europe, and Pablo Nueno, a former consultant at digital strategy firm ABN Metrics and e-commerce expert.
After five years of research and clinical trials, Olistic launched in January 2021. In an interview, the cofounders said they are working with the latest-generation nutraceuticals, a term used to describe products derived from food sources that have health and nutritional benefits.
The natural, vegan formulations are rich in vitamins and minerals and come as drinkable daily doses. Olistic said the innovative liquid formulation, which it worked on for more than five years, guarantees maximum absorption and effectiveness.
The company said it has 100,000 clients and has been endorsed by more than 300 pharmacists and dermatologists.
According to Nueno, whose title is chief executive officer, an estimated 40 percent of men suffer some degree of hair loss by the age of 35, with that number rising to 70 percent by the age of 80. Some 80 percent of women suffer hair loss from the age of 60.
“Our aim is to deliver innovative products that address hair health while improving people’s intrinsic wellbeing,” he said.
González Atienza, Innovation adviser at Olistic, described the company as a “mission-driven” wellness brand.
He added that hair health is only the beginning. Now that Olistic has developed and its proprietary formulations it plans to scale and add hair growth products, then quickly move into skin, nail and antiaging, categories in the next couple of years.
González Atienza added that Olistic’s products are the fruit of 20 years spent in the pharmaceutical industry, and said he was particularly proud of the brand’s liquid formulation, which took a long time to develop, but guarantees maximum absorption.
Iris Ventures describes itself as a growth equity fund targeting European and U.S. “purpose-led consumer-centric brands and tech-enabled solutions that provide for healthier, happier and easier lives.”
It has a presence in Barcelona, London and New York.
Earlier this year, the fund took stakes in Allyson Felix’s Saysh footwear brand, and Artemest, a curated platform that sells furniture, lighting, kitchen and homeware made by Italian artisans.
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