- Seraphina Therapeutics was founded by former WHO, CDC, and US Navy scientist Stephanie Venn-Watson.
- She made a product around C15, the essential fat she discovered in dolphins, which is linked to health benefits.
- Venn-Watson shares her 20-slide pitch deck and how she won over investors in a “skeptical space.”
Twenty years ago, Stephanie Venn-Watson was working for the US Navy on a clinical research program studying the health of their dolphins. When she found the aquatic mammals possessed C15, an essential fatty acid similar to omega-3s that helped them live longer lives, she decided to bring it to market for humans.
Venn-Watson and her husband, Eric, cofounded Seraphina Therapeutics in 2017 and released their first C15 product, a dietary supplement called Fatty15, in January. The timing was perfect: Throughout 2020, the supplement industry saw a 24% growth in sales, according to a report by the Nutrition Business Journal. People bought vitamins and minerals in record numbers in the hopes of protecting themselves against COVID-19.
To be sure, most supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration but are considered “food” instead of “drugs,” according to the FDA. Seraphina’s Fatty15 has been measured by the FDA and granted GRAS status, meaning it is “generally recognized as safe.”
“If you’re introducing a new supplement, it is a skeptical space,” said Venn-Watson, who worked as a scientist for the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before researching Navy dolphins. “So a lot of the deck is leaning in heavily on the science behind it.”
Today, Seraphina Therapeutics has $850,000 in total sales, according to documents verified by Insider. Additionally, the pair completed the second part of a Series A raise in October, bringing their total funding to $11.2 million. Former Vitamin Shoppe CFO Larry Segall and Shazi Visram, founder of the organic children’s food company Happy Family, led the round.
Venn-Watson shared her 20-slide pitch deck with Insider, which she said has taken years to perfect. Here’s how she balanced scientific research and market opportunities to get investors interested in dolphins.