Spotlight Oral Care has raised $15 million from Development Capital with plans to expand in the clean and clinical oral care space.
The brand was founded by three dentists, sisters Lisa and Vanessa Creaven with Barry Buckley, in Ireland. Spotlight aims to create products with dentist-approved levels of efficacy, but without certain foaming agents used in traditional toothpaste. Products are gluten-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, triclosan-free, BPA-free and DEA-free. Unlike traditional toothpaste tubes, Spotlight’s tubes and other products are fully recyclable.
Development Capital, an Irish growth investment fund, has taken a minority stake in the business. With the investment, the Spotlight team plans to develop new product innovation in the oral care space, ramp up marketing, hire additional team members and expand inventory and distribution.
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“It’s doubling down on the exponential growth we’ve seen over the last number of years. We’ve gone from $2 million to $5 million to $20 million in our last three financial years,” said Buckley. In the next financial year, the company expects to double sales. “For us, this is about meeting the opportunity and about being able to expand fast enough to keep up,” he said.
Spotlight does 60 percent of its sales on its website, and sells mainly in Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S., where it is distributed at Ulta Beauty, CVS and target.com. The company’s d-to-c shoppers have a 50 percent repurchase rate, Buckley said.
The oral care space has seen an influx of natural toothpaste and new toothbrush brands in recent years.
“The modern-day consumer is looking for clean, better-for-you products but is not prepared to sacrifice clinical efficacy, certainly not when it comes to their health,” Buckley said. “You see it in skin care all the time — everybody wants clean ingredients, they want no nasty ingredients, but they also want the clinically proven active ingredients.”
“We see huge innovation to be done in the oral care market,” Vanessa Creaven said. “We really feel like there’s a huge white space where the majority, or the silent majority as we call them, sit in the middle where they’re looking for products that really work but that are clean and really bioavailable and biocompatible with our overall bodies, and that are sustainable as well.”
Spotlight’s products aim for not just oral care, but “oral beauty,” the team said. The brand has products that center around concerns including whitening, bad breath, sensitivity, gum health, cavities and thinning enamel, as well as a pregnancy-safe line. Buckley hinted at the brand’s next product, saying, “we’re the first oral care brand that’s going to move outside the mouth,” Buckley said.
“We’re not an oral care brand that has a cool toothbrush or a one-off toothpaste,” said Lisa Creaven, who noted that the company has been profitable since Day One. “We actually really wanted to spend the time to create a full spectrum of products that we can offer our customer.”
The founders said they did not take any money off the table with the fundraiser. “We believe in the size of the opportunity,” Buckley said. “We’ve walked away from very lucrative careers as private dentists and we’re the very definition of all in,” he said.
Michael Toure of Toure Capital advised Spotlight on the deal.
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