Unilever has invested in Youvit, a vitamins supplier based in Indonesia.
Youvit, set up in 2016, said it had raised US$6m in a Series B round of funding that included Unilever Ventures, the FMCG giant’s corporate-investment vehicle as one of the backers.
The company plans to use the funds to expand its range, hire staff and launch its full product range across Malaysia. It also wants to “ramp up” across south-east Asia after becoming Indonesia’s “number one gummy vitamin brand”. No data was provided to support the claim.
Youvit argues the vitamins market is “rusty and old-fashioned” and believes there is “a large market for quality products that specifically target millennials from the emerging middle classes in growth markets such as Indonesia”.
Wouter van der Kolk, co-founder and CEO at Youvit, added: “Customers deserve a better experience. We aim to improve the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of customers and as a result grow into the number one vitamin brand for urban millennials in south-east Asia.”
In recent years, Unilever has added to its food portfolio with acquisitions in the vitamins and supplements markets. Last year, the Knorr soup and Magnum ice-cream maker acquired US supplements business Onnit. The year before, Unilever snapped up US-based SmartyPants Vitamins. In 2019, the company purchased US-based vitamins-to-snack-bars firm Olly Nutrition.
Pawan Chaturvedi, a partner at Unilever Ventures, set out why the fund had invested in Youvit. “With its modern and innovative product formats and an omnichannel approach to distribution, Youvit is poised to disrupt the large vitamins and supplements market in south-east Asia,” he said. “Youvit also marks our first investment in the vibrant start-up ecosystem of south-east Asia, a market which offers us immense opportunities to partner with visionary founders.”
Private-equity firm DSG Consumer Partners, which was the investor in Youvit’s Series A round, also took part in the latest raise.
Just Food has contacted van der Kolk for further comment.