Cosmetic ingredient maker Symrise invests in natural fragrance startup Phlur

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

image courtesy of the brand
image courtesy of the brand
Late last year the company’s flavors division launched a full-service platform for beverage entrepreneurs. And, it was only a matter of time before Symrise invested in the development and expansion of its beauty and fragrance clients too.

Near the end of November last year, Symrise launched Califormulations, an incubator program for beverage companies in development.

As Cosmetics Design noted at the time​, “startup culture is changing the way business is done in nearly every industry. It makes sense that longstanding corporations are looking for ways to get involved in the indie movement beyond simply turning to indie leaders for inspiration or considering the brands as acquisition targets.”

Ingredient makers launching in-house consumer brands, retailers incubating and accelerating startups, and this month’s deal between Symrise and Phlur are all indicative of how the boundaries between established industry and independent innovation are blurring.

The deal

Describing his brand’s progression from client to investee, Eric Korman, founder and CEO of PHLUR, says, “We’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with Symrise and its team of world-renowned perfumers since our inception. We’re thrilled to be taking this next step in our relationship with Symrise, one that provides further alignment and validation of our model, as well as the capital investment to continue on the aggressive path we’ve laid out.”

Early last week the brand announced the closing of a series A funding round led by Symrise. Phlur picked up $6m in funding, bringing the fragrance brand’s total financing thus far to $12m, according a media release.

As a unisex, sustainable, and-direct to-consumer fragrance brand, Phlur has (since launching in 2015) garnered a fair amount of attention from shoppers and media alike.

The business

Phlur makes 6 fragrances, 3 scented candles, also sells a sample kit and a refillable travel spray container.

The site design, fragrance descriptions, and curated music playlists for each scent are all crafted to help consumers understand and select a fragrance they’ll enjoy. And sampling is encouraged: consumers who buy a selection of 3 samples-size scents, get the $18 cost back as a discount on the purchase of a full-size fragrance within 30 days.

Symrise created 4 of the brand’s existing fragrances and believes the Phlur business model is a good one. “The moment Eric shared his concept for Phlur with us almost three years ago, we knew it was a category disrupter in a market which has seen no real innovation over at least the last decade,” ​Achim Daub, Symrise global president of scent and care, tells the press.

“As one of the world’s premier fragrance suppliers, our ambition is to embrace new opportunities arising from the digital revolution and through that help shape the markets of tomorrow. Phlur is a great investment as well as an amazing platform for learning," ​says Daud, "and we are thrilled at the opportunity to help continue the brand’s growth.”



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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