Marketing-minded lads shake-up the stagnant prenatal space

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Startup company Innovation Prenatal women's health

Two young rugby-loving lads with a shared passion for health have become the unlikely duo behind a prenatal supplements startup which aims to shake up the category with fresh tech and a modern business model.

Henry Porpora and Max Haller, aged just 24 and 23, originally met when playing high level sport in their younger years.

But after becoming friends while studying Marketing at Newcastle University, the duo realised they shared a passion for nutrition and entrepreneurship.

“I know it seems odd - two relatively young guys getting into the prenatal supplements space.

“But we both had a strong drive to create our own business and we could just see that this was a space in the health and nutrition category that was lacking innovation, meaning it was an area that was far less saturated than others. Yet pregnancy is the most nutritionally conscious time of anyone’s life and through our research we discovered that 97% of pregnant women take prenatal supplements.”

Not coming from nutrition backgrounds themselves, the duo searched for nutritionists who specialised in prenatal health and found Rosie Letts and Sarah Shenker, who were both immediately invested in developing a new offering for the prenatal supplements market.

Porpora says: "They both expressed their frustration that companies often use cheap, un-absorbable ingredients in minimal quantities. Often throwing arbitrary ingredients into a pill, with very little care for whether or not our bodies can access and utilise the ingredients effectively."

The newly founded team researched for suppliers that could meet their needs and when they came across Lonza’s Duocap technology they knew this would be the

duocap pic

ideal USP for their brand.

“The capsules not only look incredible but the technology improves bioavailability of the ingredients thanks to the ‘time release’ capsule within a capsule. This allows us to combine a good quantity of solid ingredients alongside algae-derived DHA omega-3 oil, which is such an important aspect of prenatal nutrition as it supports foetal and infant brain development.”

Officially launched today (October 4th), after a soft launch on September 23rd, the new supplement under the brand Her.9​ is a filler-free vegan capsule combining 18 sustainably sourced, Non-GMO ingredients.

Knowing how to develop a strong brand, the duo have also gained the backing of a number of influencers including celebrity mum-of-two Binky Felstead.

“We wanted to use influencers to create a genuine brand community that isn't so in-your-face, or one dimensional, as standard advertising. We really want to create a brand that can levitate the entire prenatal supplements market by getting close to the community and educating consumers, rather than just concentrating on our sales.

“I think we are still in the early stages of seeing influencer marketing integrated into businesses marketing  plans but I do think it’s the future of marketing."

Continuing to show their understanding of the modern market, the duo have ensured all packaging is environmentally friendly.

The introduction pack contains a refillable glass jar within a biodegradable welcome pack, including an algae paper leaflet.  The customer then receives recyclable sachets in the post to refill their jar.

Looking to the future of the brand, the duo say they want to focus on the mother's longer-term journey, as well as focusing on the mind as well as the body. 

“Looking to the longer-term future, we also want to create a full vitamin range for general wellness of women - using next-generation supplements to re-energise the sector as a whole

“It’s been really fascinating researching about how hormones impact the woman during pregnancy. For example, baby brain is a very real thing due to the huge fluctuations in hormones. 

“There are many nutrients that can help mums throughout motherhood and we’d like to be with them throughout the first few years of the journey.”

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