The best way to stay healthy. Our investment in Feel

Alexey Bulygin
Apr 20 · 4 min read

Have you found yourself thinking about your health recently? I bet you have — and so have I. Not about anything specifically, but more generally thinking about how to look after myself following the pandemic and adopt a healthier lifestyle moving forward.

First things first, I obviously need to start working out again …

Then there’s the usual steps — eat healthily, get enough sleep, and so on. Anything else?

Well. Vitamins?

Personally, I’ve never taken them before, though I have thought about it in the past. And every time I did, I had to ask myself — do I need to see a GP or take a blood test to check what I can take? Do I just buy some vitamin C and that’s it? Is it safe after all without seeing a GP?

The good thing about my VC nature is that ultimately, I ended up approaching it with the perspective of “OK, it’s a thing — shouldn’t there be a startup that solves this for me?”

I started to dig deeper, trying to find out if there was anyone out there providing an affordable, no hassle solution to support intake of vitamin & supplements without complications.

Almost immediately, I learned that vitamins and supplements is a huge industry — more than 18m adults in the UK take them, and 40% do it on daily basis. The UK market alone was valued at more than £480m in 2020, and estimated to be growing at 4–5% per year. This discovery seemed compelling enough for me to take an even closer look at the sector.

While doing my research, I realised that there are actually a number of issues to be solved in the vitamins and supplements space:

1. Vitamins are often very expensive and of poor quality — many consist of unnatural or low-efficiency ingredients and synthetic filters.

2. Consumer information is lacking — most consumers can’t tell the difference between multiple brands, and choosing the right vitamin or supplement is a challenge.

3. On some occasions, people just don’t know what they need to take — and thus have to take themselves to GP, or give blood samples and undertake other tests, which is an additional complication.

Eventually, the seemingly simple endeavor of choosing which vitamins to take becomes a completely non-trivial task. It requires the investment of considerable time and effort, and one can easily find themselves down a rabbit hole of scientific articles about different vitamins and their respective ingredients (like I did), simply to find the right one.

Not good…but what about modern brands? Most of them offer do personalised solutions that simplify the choice, but also often require a customer to undertake regular testing, and remain costly. Thus, they mostly focus on the super-health conscious, such as professional sportsmen. But what about the wider market of 18m vitamin users who are more price-sensitive[1]?

With all of that in mind, we asked ourselves: where is the secret sauce that can lead to a disruption of the retail market?

Fortunately, I met Boris — founder of Feel.

This was the first time I had found someone who could answer me clearly and concisely with regards to how to make this complicated process (1) efficient (2) hassle-free for the consumer and (3) appropriate for a larger retail market.

Feel offers direct-to-customer (D2C) vitamin packs via a monthly subscription service, and aims to make the process of taking vitamins simple and seamless. With the help of industry-leading professionals, Feel develops its own formulas for multivitamins that consist of high-quality, effective ingredients. Each of their products is tested in reputable labs and has all necessary quality certificates. Its effectiveness is also endorsed by high customer ratings as well as the results of surveys showing that 80% of Feel’s multivitamin users noticed an improvement after 1 month of taking the product. In addition, due to its D2C approach, Feel avoids significant retail mark-ups and can offer its product at a competitive retail price.

And guess what? They don’t need to do any additional testing — all of the formulas are developed in a way that ensures safe and balanced provision of different vitamins and minerals, catering to everyday people rather than elite athletes.

As a result, Feel’s customers receive the best-quality multivitamins, delivered straight to their door at the same price as in the local pharmacy (or even lower). And this is exactly the experience a customer should get in 2021.

Moreover, from an investment perspective, Feel is a great example of a company that during its early days managed to build a highly professional and dedicated team, implement effective processes, and achieve very impressive growth rates. Due to its asset-lite platform approach, we are also optimistic about Feel’s potential for scaling both inside the UK and abroad.

That is why we invested in this company — we believe that through this approach, Feel and Boris can change the way people take vitamins.

[1] Low price is top 1 factor affecting vitamins’ choice according to Mintel’s research

Sova VC

An international investor focused on backing ambitious and disruptive early-stage technology companies to grow. We work with ambitious founders and entrepreneurs looking to accelerate their company’s growth and disrupt the status quo.

Alexey Bulygin

Written by

Associate at Sova VC. I work alongside a passionate team to empower early stage tech disruptors in their journey

Sova VC

An international investor focused on backing ambitious and disruptive early-stage technology companies to grow. We work with ambitious founders and entrepreneurs looking to accelerate their company’s growth and disrupt the status quo.