Supplements-Maker GEM Health Raises $10.5 Million


Venice-based GEM Health Inc., a health food products company offering edible nutritional supplements, has received a $10.5 million seed fund raise led by San Francisco-based CircleUp Growth Partners, a consumer goods venture investment firm.
New York-based venture capital firm Collaborative Fund and other minority investors participated in the early stage funding, as did new investors S2G Ventures, a Chicago-based venture fund investing in food and agriculture, and Pentland Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm investing in software, business services and manufacturing.

With the help of an advisory board made up of doctors, scientists and researchers, GEM offers food bites designed with essential nutrients, vitamins and probiotics that work to improve body health at a cellular level, according to Sara Cullen, GEM’s founder and chief executive.

Cullen said her goal is to replace a category long dominated by pills, capsules and candy.

The bites contain zinc, Vitamin D, probiotics and beta-glucans, all designed to help improve the body’s immunity, respiratory support, gut health and cellular support. She also is interested in researching the health benefits of algae, which can be ingested to lower blood pressure.

The cube-shaped supplements are purchased from GEM’s website, but some are available at downtown-headquartered Erewhon, an upscale organic grocery chain with six stores in wealthy enclaves throughout Los Angeles County.

Part of the seed funding would accelerate brand growth and kickstart retail expansion.
The bites, which cost $1.30 to $2.16 each, sell in packages priced between $39 and $65, depending on whether a consumer buys sample pouches filled with five bites or signs up for a monthly subscription with 30 bites in compostable pouches. Cullen said she has sold more than 8 million of the bites.

Plans are underway to expand GEM’s manufacturing beyond California, Cullen said. 

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