Unilever Ventures funds weight loss firm

New Venture Partners has joined the venture capital arm of Unilever in funding MiLife Coaching, a UK-based provider of biometric devices such as wristbands and scales designed to help people to achieve and maintain weight loss.

Venture capital firms Unilever Ventures and New Venture Partners have invested in a first funding round for MiLife, a weight loss technology platform which produces wristbands and scales designed to stimulate healthy behaviour. Details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

The investment in MiLife, a provider of biometric devices which track the progress of people trying to lose weight, is a move by the venture firms to tap into the weight loss market which generates more than $50 billion annually in the US alone, according to a press statement.

Unilever, a vast conglomerate whose brands include Dove soap, Hellman’s mayonnaise and Marmite spread, established its venture capital arm in 2002. MiLife spun-out from Unilever’s corporate research department and seed investment was provided by Unilever Ventures in 2007. It specialises in start up and early stage investment opportunities, but has recently moved into investment in later stage companies and management buyouts.

New Venture Partners traditionally invests in corporate technology spin-outs and has more than $700 million under management.