Nina Dobrev on investing in candy startup SmartSweets

March 8, 2022, 1:00 PM UTC

Actress Nina Dobrev began her ascent to stardom on the beloved Canadian teen drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation, followed up with hits like The Vampire Diaries, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and most recently, Netflix’s charming holiday rom-com Love Hard. She also has a large fanbase on Instagram, with 25.3 million followers and counting.

Dobrev has since started pursuing more entrepreneurial endeavors, including partnerships with HUM Nutrition and launching a new low-calorie wine brand, Fresh Vine, with Julianne Hough. She recently shared more with Fortune about her decision to invest in low-sugar gummy candy maker SmartSweets.

Actress Nina Dobrev
Actress Nina Dobrev.
George Pimentel—Getty Images
  • Startup: SmartSweets
  • Location: Vancouver, B.C.
  • Year founded: 2016
  • Valuation: Decline to disclose
  • Investment level: Decline to disclose
  • Number of employees: 62
  • Other major investors: Shawn Mendes and manager Andrew Gertler, Zoey Deutch, PLUS Capital

Why she invested, in her own words

I have been a huge fan of SmartSweets for years now, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to invest in and be an advocate for the female-founded, better-for-you candy brand. As a fellow Canadian and entrepreneur, I was drawn not only to the product but the fact that 77% of SmartSweets employees are female. 

I am a huge advocate for balance in all aspects of my life, and SmartSweets fits perfectly into that mindset. The brand’s mission is to lower sugar consumption while still delivering a delicious product that rivals traditional candy, which is exactly what they continue to do. Since its launch in 2016, SmartSweets has kicked over 3.9 billion grams of sugar out of traditional candy.

When I think about brands that I want to invest in, I gravitate toward brands that are a part of my daily life that I find myself reaching for and craving regularly.  I usually have SmartSweets on me at all times—in my bag, car, traveling, on the counter for my friends and family to snack on at my house—anywhere, really! It’s the perfect snack to satisfy my sweet tooth. 

This is an installment of Why I Invested, a series featuring famous investors from all different backgrounds and industries, revealing what inspired them to invest their own money in a new business.