A small startup from the Pacific Northwest is now part of a global food and beverage behemoth.
Nestlé Health Science this month acquired Snoqualmie, Wash.-based Persona Nutrition, a startup that customizes daily supplement regimens using algorithms designed with the help of doctors and nutritionists.
The deal gives Nestlé Health Science the technology to make sense of the “confusing, cluttered marketplace” of nutrition, said Jason Brown, co-founder and CEO of Persona. “They see the tipping point of real information coming across your phone that is all about you and can enhance your personal life.”
The companies declined to share financial details of the deal. Persona will remain an independent brand operating under Atrium Professional Brands, which manufactures vitamins and other supplements. Through Atrium, Persona will be able to source its supplements at a lower cost, Brown said. Nestlé acquired Atrium in 2017 for $2.3 billion.
Persona’s platform suggests vitamins to consumers based on gender, age and health. It also has has a parallel service for health care providers called Persona Pro, which clinicians can use to create their own recommendations or use Persona’s algorithms.
“People are becoming increasingly interested in personalization when it comes to nutrition. For us, everything has to be science-based, and that’s where the technology comes in,” said Jacquelyn Campo, senior director of communications at Nestlé Health Science, in an email. “[Persona has] technology and experience that we don’t have ourselves, so it was a good fit for us to acquire their expertise and allow us to eventually scale up.”
Founded just two years ago, Persona raised a total of $15 million prior to the acquisition, with backing from L Catterton and Emil Capital Partners, among others. Brown co-founded the company with CTO Prem Thudia and Tamara Bernadot, chief nutrition officer. The company plans to double its workforce of 40 people in the next 18 months.
“Persona’s expertise in personalized nutrition brings a new dimension to the growing Nestlé Health Science portfolio,” said Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science, in a statement.
Startups like Care/Of and Zenamins have competing services that recommend and package daily vitamins. Persona also faces also the lingering threat of Amazon, which through its acquisition of PillPack stands to disrupt the delivery of vitamins, supplements and medications.
As a subsidiary of Nestlé, the second-largest global food and beverage company, Nestlé Health Science gives Persona access it never had before, Brown said.
“We have a seat at the table,” he said. “We get to work with the largest companies in the world.”