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Unilever’s VC arm backs skincare brand Plum
Photo Credit: Reuters

Pureplay Skin Sciences (India) Pvt. Ltd, which sells beauty and skincare products under the brand Plum, has raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Unilever Ventures, the venture capital arm of consumer goods giant Unilever.

The company claims that Plum is a 100% vegan beauty brand. The investment will help it scale up operations both in the online and offline space, according to a statement.

“Unilever Ventures’ global presence and expertise would be of immense value in this partnership,” said Shankar Prasad, founder and director of Pureplay Skin Sciences.

Pawan Chaturvedi, investment director at Unilever Ventures, said the firm has had a long-term interest in digital-first beauty brands.

“Beauty and personal care is a massive and fast-growing market in India with the naturals market growing well ahead of the rest of the beauty market,” he added.

Thane-based Pureplay Skin Sciences was founded by Prasad in 2013. Prasad studied chemical engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai and had stints at Hindustan Unilever, McKinsey & Company and Everstone Capital.

Unilever Ventures invests in early-stage companies, accelerating their growth by providing access to Unilever's global ecosystem, assets and expertise. The fund looks to invest in personal care and digital transformation technologies that include content creation, artificial intelligence, data analytics, e-commerce, internet of things, mobile marketing and video.

Earlier this year, Unilever Ventures had invested $3 million (around Rs 19 crore) in Gurugram-based Aaidea Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs micro-delivery grocery startup Milkbasket.

Deals in the space
A number of companies in the broader beauty and wellness space have attracted investor interest of late.

In September, mid-market private equity firm Lighthouse Advisors had invested in beauty e-tailer Nykaa.

In June, Mumbai-based Manash Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd, which operates beauty products and services marketplace Purplle.com, had secured around Rs 17.50 crore ($2.56 million) from a clutch of investors.

In the same month, fast-moving consumer goods maker Emami Ltd said that it had picked up a 7.54% stake in US-based beauty care products firm Loli Beauty Inc. for $565,000 (Rs 3.83 crore).

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