In 2020, Victoria Thain Gioia, Alex Taylor, and Dr. Banafsheh Bayati started Perelel to give women a better option for prenatal vitamins. Gioia’s daughter had just been born with a cleft lip, and Gioia was shocked to realize that this was associated with a folic acid deficiency, given that she’d taken great care to take her vitamins and do her research. Taylor, meanwhile, found that researching which vitamins to take and sourcing them during her pregnancy was time-consuming and expensive. The pair teamed up with Bayati, an ob-gyn, to develop a product line of vitamins with high-quality ingredients personalized for each trimester.

Perelel also baked giving into its business model. Today the company is announcing a $10 million donation to Magee-Womens Research Institute, which focuses solely on researching women’s health and reproductive biology, and Good+Foundation, which addresses family poverty and provides support for new mothers, to fund women’s health research and close gaps in maternal healthcare.

The donations will be distributed over three years as in-kind product donations and grants. Earlier this month Perelel raised $6 million in series A funding from Unilever Ventures, and last year it raised $4.7 million in seed funding.

Founders Alex Taylor (left), Victoria Thain Gioia (seated), Dr. Banafsheh Bayati (inset). [Photo: Perelel]

 “From day one, giving was a very clear line item for us,” says Gioia.

She explained that the company examines its financial models to determine what it can donate, and giving is based on a certain percentage of sales. In the past, Perelel donated $2.5 million in products and grants to help fund more women’s health.

“We bootstrapped the company at the beginning with funds from friends and family, so we were able to create our own business model with giving baked in. This meant by the time we brought in investors, they were on board with our giving model,” Taylor said.

Taylor noted that the plan for Perelel is to keep scaling its giving as the company grows. “Vitamins keep the lights on,” Taylor said, “but we stand for so much more. Our experiences made us realize how much we don’t know about our bodies; we want to help close that research gap.”

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