An 18-year-old Myers Park High School graduate is teaming up with three Brown University classmates to build VitaLives, a company aimed at reducing global malnutrition and vitamin deficiency.
VitaLives’ product is children’s multivitamin gummies. The company is taking preorders now for shipments beginning January 2016. Cost is $17.99 for one-time shipments, and $16.19 per bottle for a monthly subscription. Every bottle of 90-count vitamins triggers a stipend to hospitals and pharmacies in poor regions that can use that stipend to purchase locally-made vitamins, according to Charlotte native Pierre Lipton, chief operating officer of the company.
Lipton’s classmate, Henry Belcaster, is VitaLives founder and CEO. He drew inspiration for the company from a 2010 New York Times column about the importance of mulitvitamins in the developing world, according to a company statement.
Belcaster explains that using stipends for regions to purchase their own vitamins - rather than shipping them bottles of VitaLives made in the U.S. -- will help stimulate local economies.
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“Even better,” Belcaster says, “why not use proceeds from vitamin sales in our country to provide seed funding for a local entrepreneur in Rwanda to create her own vitamin company?”
VitaLives’ launch follows a months-long incubation period through the Catapult program based at Harvard Business School, and a successful crowdfunding campaign, according to the company.
The Brown University team plans to balance their studies with building their VitaLives business. “It’s exhilarating to be part of such a promising and globally relevant cause,” says Lipton, who is studying languages, international relations and economics.