LONDON — Gallinée, which specializes in products for sensitive skin, has secured its first major investment from Unilever Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of the food and personal care giant, WWD has learned.Marie Drago, who founded Gallinée in 2016, confirmed that Unilever has taken a minority stake in the business and that Anna Ohlsson-Baskerville, director at Unilever Ventures, will sit on the board.Terms of the deal, a Series A round of funding for Gallinée, were not disclosed. The company's start-up funds came from Kickstarter in 2015 as well as from friends, family and angel investors."We are really looking to unlock growth, and aim to grow tenfold this year," said Drago. "This investment is a great opportunity. We have plans to bring a revolution in beauty, starting with skin care, and this will help us do it quicker and better. Look out for the new products coming in 2018."Gallinée is known for products such as body milks, facial cleansers, hand creams, face masks, scrubs and soaps that work with the skin's natural bacteria. The company said it uses a patented complex of prebiotics, probiotics and lactic acid in its products.Drago said she is planning to develop the range, increase online sales in particular, and extend to new markets, with the U.S. being a priority."The brand has two patents to its name and we are planning to file more in the coming year," said Drago. "The investment will also allow us to extend clinical validation for our current and future products. Many customers report a beneficial effect on atopic or acne-prone skin, and we want to explore further."Last year, Unilever Ventures was the lead investor in Nutrafol, a nutraceutical supplement for hair growth for men and women. The company said they would use the funds to double the size of its staff and pump up the digital advertising budgets to accelerate expansion of the brand. While Blow Ltd., a London-based on-demand beauty services provider received 3.5 million pound investment by the firm and planned to expand its business in the U.K. and on the Continent. Other investments include U.K.-based skin-care brand Ren and Stockholm-based hair-care brand Sachajuan.
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