Recently launched at Sephora, chocolate supplements brand Sourse has now received a total of $4 million in funding as beauty-focused wellness attracts investors’ attention.
Founded by actress Sarah Hyland and Jenne Moore, the 3-year-old brand raised $2.4 million in seed funding from New Theory Ventures, H Ventures, JAWS Ventures, Satori Capital, Short List Capital, Harlo Capital and LDR Ventures. Model Sanne Vloet and gluten-free wellness influencer Nicole Cogan also participated in the round. It followed a pre-seed round of $1.6 million received in 2021 by several of the same investors as well as 25madison.
The funding is being used to support the brand’s entry into Sephora that was announced earlier this month, as well as clinical research, product development and critical hires, said Moore, the brand’s founder and CEO.
Sourse launched last week in 61 Sephora stores and online. It is also sold at over 100 Whole Foods locations. The brand offers multiple supplements focused on beauty, including its Sephora-exclusive hair growth supplements and its skin-focused “Glow” supplements, the latter of which are its top seller.
“Beauty is a great place for a consumer to start thinking about supplementing,” said Moore. It also currently sells a partner gift set with Joanna Vargas on its site featuring its Glow supplements and Vargas’ Daily Serum.
New Theory Ventures was “incredibly focused on having an asset in functional nutrition,” said Katherine Mossman, managing partner of the female founder-focused VC firm. Beauty and the concept of “snackable skin care” was an especially big selling point for the firm, which was started by the founder of Bellami Haircare and also invests in Thirteen Lune and Ceremonia.
“When you think about wellness, it’s permeating every single category,” she said. “And as you think about skin care, it’s not just something that you put on your face anymore. People are really invested in inside-out beauty.”
Hyland, the brand’s co-founder and creative director, promotes the brand to her audience of 10.5 million Instagram followers and 1 million TikTok followers. New Theory Ventures sees celebrity founders as an asset, thanks to their large audiences. “A lot of these different companies are trying to affect changes in consumer behavior. It’s very helpful to have an amplifier to articulate the message,” said Mossman.
Vocal about sharing the story of her kidney transplant experience publicly, Hyland has attracted an audience especially focused on health and wellness.
“Sarah has been on this long health journey and she’s taken her audience along that with her,” said Moore.
Investors Vloet and Cogan also feature Sourse on their wellness- and nutrition-centered social channels, which include Vloet’s popular YouTube account with 1.55 million subscribers that features healthy recipes and workouts.
According to Moore, enlisting influencers as investors “moves the needle, because it can be really impactful,” she said.
“Sometimes those sponsored posts can be expensive for early-stage brands,” said Moore. But influencers with a stake are “all about featuring the brand in content, whenever it makes sense.”
VC funding is becoming more of a challenge for beauty brands, as the total amount of funding for beauty brands decreased last year.
“The bar is higher” for brands right now, said Mossman. “People are more focused on unit economics upfront. And this space is so crowded.”
But she sees big growth potential in the supplements category, especially as functional nutrition brands expand into specialty beauty retailers. “On the one hand, we’ve been talking about supplements and wellness for so long. But on the other hand, when you really go mass, it feels like it’s in its early stages.”