her1 Secures EUR5.5m in Series A fundraising round

Female wellness brand her1 has closed a Series A investment of EUR5.5 million, led by leading FoodTech investor Five Seasons Ventures. 

The direct-to-consumer company provides natural and plant-based products to boost gut health and aid women’s health and beauty from within. The latest investment will enable the company to grow in the European market, develop new products for different life stages, and expand the team.

Previous seed investors in her1, Rheingau Founders and IBB Ventures have also reinvested in the company’s Series A. To date, her1 has raised EUR9M in funding. In the past year, the company has grown by 815 per cent and continues to grow by 55 per cent, quarterly.

her1 was founded in 2017 by serial FoodTech entrepreneur Chanyu Xu. Its vision is to become the leading digital health impact company dedicated to female wellbeing. 

Chanyu Xu, Founder and CEO of her1, says: “My mantra for her1 is that you are what you eat and everything starts from within. her1 was created to accompany women through different life stages with essentially everything they need, focussing on the connection our general health and wellbeing has with what’s happening in our guts. From mood and sleep to cognitive performance and sexual wellbeing, everything is connected. With this investment and the support of Five Seasons Ventures, we’ll be introducing more products to an even wider market as we look to expand to help more women across Europe.”

The company launched its flagship product, Inner Beauty, in 2019 after over a year of research and development. The product contains over 25 billion active, natural and good microorganisms per daily serving, to support a healthy microbiome. 

her1 develops all its own products, using natural, plant-based, gluten and sugar-free blends made from locally sourced whole foods and containing prebiotics and probiotics to feed the gut microbiome. In addition to powders and supplements, her1 accompanies customers through care packages, helping new healthy habits to be created, and provides accessories. Most recently the company launched Gut One a daily supplement to help the gut-brain-axis with probiotics and essential b-vitamins for optimal brain and cognitive functioning, which is also available on subscription. 

Rita Ugwu, Chief Medical Officer for her1, says: “Our microbiome is still in the early stages of research but it is currently one of the most promising and interesting research topics. The more we learn about the microbiome, the more it becomes clear that it has an essential impact on our overall health and wellbeing. A healthy microbiome is not only important for our digestion it also plays a central role in our mental wellbeing, immune system, skin health, and other areas. As a medical doctor, I’m motivated by the fact that we can have a holistic influence on the wellbeing of our customers through our products and help them causally from the inside out with their problems instead of just treating symptoms as in classical western medicine.”  

The global supplement market was estimated to be worth EUR120 billion in 2020, with an expected annual growth rate of 8.5 per cent over the next five years. In 2020, the worldwide market for probiotic supplements used for gastrointestinal health was worth USD1.1 billion and is expected to double by 2027.

Saskia Hoebée, Senior Associate at Five Seasons Ventures, adds: “her1 is our first portfolio company where the founder, the majority of the management team and a large part of the company is all-female – a true for women, by women approach! At Five Seasons Ventures, we were already convinced that there was a big opportunity for gut health as a large addressable market, but until we spoke with Chanyu we didn’t realise that almost twice as many women suffer from digestive health issues on a weekly basis, compared to men. We believe in her1’s vision to provide a convenient, effective and elegant remedy for an underserved market and help more women to go with their gut, focussing on health and wellness from within.”