by Stephen Garner

Fenwick Brands, a private equity fund focused on providing capital and strategic guidance to emerging brands, has led a $5 million growth financing round for skincare brand Ursa Major. Other investors in the financing include Finn Capital Partners and several family offices active in the personal care market. This is the company’s first round of institutional capital.

Founded by Emily Doyle and Oliver Sweatman in 2010, the Vermont-based skincare brand has attracted a loyal following of consumers across the gender spectrum with its clean, refreshing skincare products that are designed to be “low maintenance, but highly rewarding.” The company, which has grown average annual revenue by more than 60 percent year-over-year for each of the past five years, has found success by focusing on “super natural” skincare essentials and cultivating an approachable brand ethos that emphasizes wellness over vanity and celebrates the outdoors.

Ursa Major now has 18 core products in its range, which is anchored in skincare. Customer favorites include Golden Hour Recovery Cream, Fortifying Face Balm, Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum, Fantastic Face Wash, and 4-in-1 Essential Face Wipes, as well as its Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant and Go Easy Shampoo and Conditioner. In addition to its website and store on Amazon, Ursa Major’s products are available at specialty retailers including Credo, Follain, Goop, Heyday, REI and Free People and, more recently, via a rapidly growing amenity program catering to boutique fitness studios and hotels such as Y7 Yoga, Equinox Precision Run, Autocamp, Tourists Hotel, and South Congress Hotel.

“Our business was at the point where it needed an injection of mission-aligned capital to support our ambitious growth plans,” said Sweatman, the company’s CEO. “The financing will allow us to fill key talent gaps and invest further in product innovation, while carefully ramping up marketing and sales. We met with many sharp and talented investor groups and ultimately chose Fenwick because of their experience, smarts, down-to-earth approach and commitment to our brand vision. We look forward to working closely with their team as we gear up to take the business to the next level.”

The company recently completed a brand refresh with Brooklyn-based branding agency Red Antler and has new packaging rolling out this fall. “While the brand fundamentals have remained intact, we believe that the refreshed identity and honed messaging – coupled with the recent financing – will help us accelerate awareness and trial with our target consumer, who we refer to as the ‘everyday explorer’: adventurous, health-conscious individuals who want a go-to, fuss-free source for stellar natural face and body care from a brand they can really get behind,” continued Sweatman.

“We were drawn to Ursa Major because of the company’s clean product assortment, its highly-differentiated, authentic lifestyle brand, its loyal customers and its passionate founder team,” added Elizabeth Stewart, director of investments at Fenwick Brands. “So much of what Oliver and Emily are doing is relevant for today’s consumer. We are thrilled to be a part of the Ursa Major family and look forward to helping the company reach more people with its positive, empowering message and its clean face and body care essentials. We believe Ursa Major is positioned for long-term, sustained growth and true challenger brand status.”