Add Rael to the list of new entrants in the wellness market focused on feminine hygiene — it’s also just closed on a $2.1 million pre-Series A funding round.
The round was led by SoftBank Ventures Korea, an early-stage venture capital arm of SoftBank. Also joining the investment, among others, was Thrive Market Ventures, the venture investment arm of Thrive Market. Thrive Market is an e-commerce platform known for affordable natural and organic products.
The company plans to use the funds to expand its overseas base and to grow its team.
Rael previously raised a seed round of financing that included as investors BAM Ventures, cofounded by Brian Lee, who is also the cofounder at The Honest Co.; Strong Ventures, a seed fund, and Primer, a start-up accelerator in South Korea.
Rael was founded in 2017 by Aness An, a journalist; Binna Won, an architect-turned-art-director, and Yanghee Paik, a former distributor at the Walt Disney Studios. Paik is the firm’s chief executive officer.
According to the ceo, the company did an initial test on Amazon to get customer feedback after months of research and development. “We became an Amazon bestseller within a few months. Women started writing in, sharing their stories, thanking us for creative organic pads that actually worked. In that moment, our vision for Rael was affirmed,” she said.
In addition to pads, panty liners and biodegradable tampons made from 100 percent certified organic cotton, the company also makes facial sheet masks and cleansing washes and wipes.
Edward Chung, principal at SoftBank Ventures Korea, said, “Aness, Binna and Yanghee are visionary leaders who value women’s personal development and happiness….I believe they have established a solid foundation to build a strong brand in the organic product category.”
Nick Green, cofounder and ceo at Thrive Market, said, “For years, customers have been looking for an effective and affordable feminine care line that uses only clean ingredients. The Rael team has built a beautiful brand around exactly that.”