Ultra Violette, the premium Australian SPF-based skincare brand, has just taken its first outside capital since launching in 2019.
In its fifth year of operation, Ultra Violette, which was founded by Rebecca Jefferd and Ava Chandler-Matthews, has secured a partnership with US consumer growth equity firm, Aria Growth Partners, which will see the SPF-skincare brand receive $15 million in investment.
It marks the first time the company has taken outside capital, after being bootstrapped since its 2019 launch. The company, which hit $12 million in turnover in FY 2022, has so far expanded into 28 international markets, including Europe, the UK, Middle East and South East Asia – and now plans to use this investment to propel its expansion throughout North America, starting with Canada via beauty retailer Sephora in March 2024.
“This investment marks a significant milestone for our business, one we are confident will be remembered as the starting point of something greater than we could have imagined,” Jefferd said.
“Through our expansion so far, we’ve been overwhelmed by the response to our product formulations, but we’ve only just scratched the surface.”
Jefferd and Chandler-Matthews appeared at the Forbes Australia Women’s Summit in March 2023, sharing their founder journey. The pair, who were both former Mecca employees (Jefferd was Chandler-Matthews’ supervisor), formulated the idea for Ultra Violette over dinner in 2016, and decided to pool about $200,000 of their own cash to bring the business to life three years later.
Jefferd looks after finance, operations, legal and HR, while Chandler-Matthews takes care of branding, marketing and education. And the key all along has been product.
“We know how important a product is to a brand, and you really have nothing without it,” the pair told Forbes ahead of their Summit appearance last year. “You know, it’s the epicentre of our brand. We invest a lot in product development. Our team, internally, is probably one of the most widely resourced in the business. We invest significantly in chemists.”
Now, Chandler-Matthews says attitudes towards SPF application are growing increasingly positive: “People are happy to wear it every day if they enjoy the experience,” she says. “Our Skinscreens have gone from being ranged seasonally to a year-round, daily skincare staple, proving the Australian proposition translates to other markets and consumers.”
The company’s new investment partner has a history in providing growth capital to consumer brands, like The INKEY List, Lesser Evil and Onda Tequila Seltzer. It was also previously an investment partner to Hero Cosmetics.
“Bec and Ava are impressive entrepreneurs that have created a beautiful brand, with truly amazing, high-performance products. As consumers change their SPF habits from occasion-based to daily usage, Ultra Violette is perfectly positioned to lead the charge,” Aria Growth Partners’ co-founder and partner, Jackie Dunklau, said.