Galway oral care company to expand US presence after enlisting new shareholder

Dermot Desmond’s IIU has invested €2m in Spotlight Oral Care in exchange for a 10% stake

Galway-based dental care brand Spotlight Oral Care will use funds raised from Dermot Desmond’s International Investment and Underwriting (IIU) to bolster its US position having signed deals to enter about 4,000 beauty and pharmacy retail outlets.

The company, founded in 2016 by Dr Lisa Creaven, Dr Venessa Creaven and Dr Barry Buckley, last week said IIU has invested €2 million in exchange for a 10 per cent share of the company. The process to find an investor was run by Davy, and it is understood that three UK-based venture capital firms were also interested in investing in the brand.

Spotlight Oral Care develops and sells products such as toothpaste, teeth whitening kits and toothbrushes amongst others.

The company has sought to single itself out by producing sustainable products. For example, its toothpaste tube is made from sugarcane and is fully recyclable. As it stands about 10 billion tubes of toothpaste are not recycled each year, meaning that they often end up in landfill.


Speaking to The Irish Times, Dr Buckley, the company's chief operating officer, said the fundraising was required to help the company improve its US presence. Spotlight has signed a deal with Ulta Beauty, a US chain of beauty stores with about 1,200 outlets. The company is also in a further 2,800 pharmacies operated by pharmacy retailer CVS.

Dr Buckley noted that the move into Ulta was their first deal in the US, adding that the company has a “history of incubating brands”. “For instance, all the Kardashian brands started in Ulta,” he said.

Dr Buckley added that the company would seek to raise an additional €10 million in a series B investment round in the coming years to further expand.

Spotlight anticipates to reach revenues of €20 million in its current financial year having reached turnover of €5.8 million in its financial year for 12 months to the end of June 2020. In the financial year 2021 to 2022 the company has forecast turnover of between €40 million and €50 million.


The group anticipates it will need to raise further funds in a series B round “to get to that crazy turnover number to be a global brand”. It is likely that the company will raise the funds after reaching the €20 million target.

Separately, the company has witnessed substantial growth through its online platform as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, Dr Buckley said. “We were doing €100,000 in turnover online in January and we’ve grown that to €1 million online in August.”

Spotlight has also had to increase staff numbers.

"This time last year we had four employees and now we have 30," said Dr Buckley, adding that the Covid-19 crisis was an advantage to the company in allowing it to hire staff notwithstanding their geographical location. "Now we have people working for us in New York, Cork and some in England. "

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business