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.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
“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.