Kat Schneider quit her VC gig while pregnant so she could launch a vitamin brand for the Instagram generation. Now her $125 million startup, Ritual, is facing its biggest test.

ritual founder kat schneider profile 2x1

On Tuesday, female-focused vitamin startup Ritual announced that it was launching a men’s daily multivitamin in its latest attempt to upend the $123 billion vitamins and supplements market.
Founder and CEO Katerina Schneider told Business Insider that the company is also planning to expand into supplements for children and teenagers, a major evolution for the five-year old startup, last valued at $125 million.
Trained in applied mathematics and economics at Brown University, Schneider started Ritual after her experience shopping for prenatal vitamins left her with more questions than answers.
She is relying on her analytical background to guide her company through the minefield that is the sparsely-regulated world of vitamins and supplements at a time when the coronavirus has put health misinformation in the spotlight.
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A slim, gender-neutral hand holds a small capsule between two manicured fingers. Set against a pale yellow backdrop, the transparent capsule gleams like a miniature work of art. But female Instagram users over 18 will recognize the image as one of the app’s most ubiquitous ads for the vitamin startup Ritual.

The brains behind the company and its calming aesthetic belong to Katerina Schneider, its founder and CEO. She has spent nearly five years building a brand tailored for an Instagram audience, with a healthy dose of female empowerment in its marketing messages, educational material, and product formulas.

Schneider was a mathematician, business development exec, and then venture capitalist before she started Ritual as a personal mission and raised her first funding round against the odds — she was a pregnant woman in the mostly-male world of venture capital. Schneider took a cold plunge into the huge vitamin and supplements industry as a tiny challenger to giant, entrenched corporations, and within about three years clinched a $125 million valuation for her startup.

Ritual broke into the market in 2016 with its flagship daily multivitamin for women, and followed up with a prenatal multivitamin in October 2019. Just a month later, the startup released another multivitamin designed for women over 50 years old.

So it might come as a surprise when Schneider’s company rolls out its latest offering on Tuesday — a daily multivitamin tailored for men. Such men’s products already fill drugstore shelves, many from mundane brands like One-A-Day and Centrum. But the men’s vitamin market also abounds with performance-enhancement claims for supplements such as GNC MegaMen Healthy Testosterone, as well as conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s Infowars product line, which purports to include an ingredient called Horny Goat Weed.

All this is a far cry from the serene atmosphere of purity that Ritual projects, with its crystal-clear bottles and transparent vitamin capsules that boast “clean” nutrients such as vegan-certified Vitamin D3 derived from lichen.

For some startups, a plunge into such a widely different customer base would call for a separate and sweeping marketing redesign targeted at men. But Schneider, Ritual’s founder and CEO, told Business Insider that she doesn’t plan on relaunching the men’s vitamin with a new, macho-branded ad campaign. …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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