VC firm Iris Ventures has invested £5.5m ($6.9m) in UK gut-health beverages brand Biomel to fund an “unprecedented scale-up”.

The funding will be used to expand production capacity at Biomel’s “innovation and manufacturing facility” in west London.

Founded in 2017 by husband-and-wife team Steven Hegarty and Janett Lozano, Biomel produces plant-based drinks, snack bars and powders with a focus on promoting gut health.

Their probiotic shots come in single-serve 125ml bottles and 510ml bottles in flavours including coconut, chocolate and strawberry. Its dairy-free, lactose-free and gluten-free prebiotic cereal bars come in chocolate and chocolate hazelnut flavours.

The company said “soaring demand… has driven its impressive sales trajectory and operating profitability since its second year”.

It added: “Biomel’s omnichannel route-to-market has driven extraordinary organic growth, averaging over 80% per annum since launch.”

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By GlobalData

Biomel products are available in national UK retailers including Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose. It also has a D2C subscription service via its website.

The start-up also has a “growing footprint” in independent retailers and international markets, it said.

Hegarty, Biomel co-founder and CEO, said: “Biomel was born out of our own desire to live healthier and more fulfilling lives and is based on the premise that your gut is at the heart of your health.

“We have developed proprietary IP to bring differentiated and better solutions for consumers looking to improve their health and well-being through next-generation probiotic and prebiotic solutions that support digestive and immune health.

“Biomel is the market leader in the category and we are partnering with a global investor powerhouse to fulfil our mission to make good gut health delicious and easy through products modern consumers enjoy and love.

“We are excited to leverage Iris’s sector expertise and know-how to further drive total category growth and market expansion through our unique products and innovation pipeline.”

Iris Ventures said Hegarty and Lozano were “clear trailblazers in the plant-based gut health category”.

The VC firm is the advisor to Iris Fund I FCRE, a €100m ($109.19m) growth-equity fund targeting European and US brands. Its other investments include Spanish vitamin-drink brand Olistic and Germany-based pet-health start-up Mammaly.