Lerer Hippeau
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Lerer Hippeau

Please welcome Topicals, a skincare brand rewriting the conversation around chronic conditions

Meet Topicals, the latest addition to Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio.

HQ: Los Angeles

Cofounders: Olamide Olowe and Claudia Teng

The problem: Chronic skin conditions affect one in four people in America, a burden that comes at a financial and emotional cost. Consumers spend billions per year on products, prescriptions, and treatments. But those solutions have been largely unchanged for decades and are not designed for diverse skin types. Not only is there an underserved market for affordable, effective solutions for chronic skin conditions, especially for people of color, but there’s also an opportunity to evolve how consumers approach the conversation around these common concerns.

Topicals’ solution: Topicals is a new skincare brand with a mission to treat and destigmatize chronic skin conditions while normalizing how we talk about them. Through a focus on luxury and self-care, Topicals aims to promote skin positivity, inclusion, and community, specifically for the Gen Z consumer. The company’s first products include Like Butter, a mask for eczema-prone skin, and Faded, a serum for discoloration and dark spots.

Origin story: Olamide and Claudia both live with skin conditions and spent years looking for treatments that fit their needs only to settle for products that didn’t work for them or represent how the condition appeared on their skin. Outside of their personal experience, they developed professional expertise in beauty and skincare as well. Claudia spent years working in Stanford University’s dermatology lab and Olamide with SheaGIRL under Shea Moisture. Topicals was born from their shared vision to change the conversation around skincare and launches today.

Why we’re betting on it: Olamide and Claudia have deep founder-market fit built from their own personal experiences as well as professional expertise. They understand their consumer in an intimate way because they are their core customer. They’re on a mission to provide an underserved market with new, interesting, and innovative products that people are excited to use every single day and that speak to them on an authentic level. In meeting them, we noticed their grit, resourcefulness, and uniquely differentiated point of view on how to best serve the skincare market. Olamide and Claudia are exactly the type of founders we like to support, with unmatched passion and vision to go after a massive opportunity.

Our take: Topicals is uniquely positioned to redefine how we think about skincare and remove the stigma around common skin conditions by making products that are fun, effective, and resonate with the Gen Z consumer. Topicals introduces a much-needed conversation about everyday skin conditions and replaces shame and embarrassment with self-care and authentically embracing oneself. At the end of the day, it’s most important to love who you are, and Topicals is helping consumers do so from the inside out. We’re excited to support Olamide and Claudia as they take on the space and build a brand that helps consumers feel great about themselves.

Further reading: Three Times a ‘Go’ for Gen Z Skin-Care Brand Founders” via WWD.

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Lerer Hippeau is an early-stage venture capital fund based in New York City. As founders and operators ourselves, we see returns in relationships.

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Lerer Hippeau

Lerer Hippeau

Lerer Hippeau is the most active early-stage venture capital fund in New York.

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