Exclusive Interview

Unilever Ventures takes stake in microbiome skin care player: Gallinée founder reacts

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever Ventures takes stake in microbiome skin care player: Gallinée founder reacts

Related tags: Skin, Probiotic, Bacteria

In a move that signals that the potential of probiotic skin care has caught the interest of major players, Unilever Ventures has taken the lead investor position in Gallinée’s series A financing round.

The investment is Unilever Ventures’ inaugural foray into microbiome-based products, according to Gallinée, which describes itself as ‘the first personal care brand to focus exclusively on the growing science of the human bacterial ecosystem’.

Unilever Ventures is the venture capital and private equity arm of Unilever. Its investment, along with other strategic partners, will be used to develop the Gallinée team, extend the range and finance R&D.

We caught up with Marie Drago, founder of the brand, in an exclusive interview on the investment.

A major trend

Having been on the rise for the previous few years, interest in skin care that works with the skin’s natural bacteria, rather than any attempts to remove it, has been on the rise.

It follows the trend in nutrition industry for probiotic products that claim to work with the body’s natural gut bacteria, and involves increasing efforts at the research level to determine how this science can apply to the skin.

Drago suggests it has now made it onto the agenda of market leaders in the personal care industry.

Every major player is already looking into the skin microbiome: the science is there and the consumer interest too,​” she says, predicting this interest will grow as the industry develops the related marketing messages.

I think there is still a bit of a adaption to do for all the big brands, for the pure science to trickle down to product development and marketing, but I am convinced than in three year we are going to see an overhaul of how we see and formulate skin care. It is more than a trend, I see it as a revolution.

“That’s why I would not be surprised to see more investment or acquisitions in the coming year.”

Passion for the science

Drago suggests that a shared passion for the science behind microbiome-related research is what has attracted the Unilever investment arm to the skin care player.

We feel really lucky that we were contacted by quite a few of these players. Unilever Ventures was such a perfect match for us: very innovative, curious and with a good sense of how a small brand work.

“Anna Ohlsson-Baskerville, who is going to sit on our board, is as passionate about the science of the microbiome as I am. I think this is going to be a very interesting year for Gallinée,” she says.”

We have been impressed by Gallinée’s level of innovation and consistency. It is rare to find such young brands with the right mix of science and consumer focus. I look forward to working with Marie and her team to build upon the company’s momentum and many growth opportunities,”​ Ohlsson-Baskerville, Director with Unilever Ventures, confirmed in a statement.

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