The average shopper probably hasn’t heard of SuperOrdinary, but if they are a beauty or skincare fan, they’ve definitely heard of some of the brands the startup works with: Olaplex, Farmacy and Biossance, to name a few. The Los Angeles-headquartered company works behind the scenes to help American and European consumer brands scale on marketplaces like Amazon, sell through social commerce and break into the Chinese market. SuperOrdinary announced today that it has raised $58 million in Series B funding at a $800 million valuation. Investors in this round included Manzanita, Alliance Consumer Growth, Demira Gate Investments, Upper90 and SuperOrdinary founder and CEO Julian Reis.
Since launching six years ago in Shanghai (it still has an office there, along with one in New York) to bring international brands to China, SuperOrdinary has expanded its offerings to include global expansion for its brand partners, Amazon account management, brand protection and creator monetization through social commerce.
Over the next year, SuperOrdinary expects to hit profitability, growing by more than 50% and reaching $350 million in revenue. The company says that over the last year it’s clocked 30% annual revenue growth, while its engineering team tripled in size. SuperOrdinary’s creator economy business has also grown 15x since last year after SuperOrdinary acquired Fanfix, a subscription content monetization platform. The company now has 500 employees.
Before launching SuperOrdinary in 2017, Reis worked in hedge funds and trading. While observing changing dynamics in the marketplace, Reis tells TechCrunch he noticed that there were very few Western brands in China. The ones that were there were from large luxury conglomerates like LVMH.
“A lot of the cool new indie brands that were available in America and Europe weren’t there,” he says. “The second thing I noticed was that there was this livestreaming phenomenon taking place where you could walk down any high street and people were filming themselves. Social commerce was really taking off and that wasn’t available in the West.”
The first brand SuperOrdinary brought to China was Farmacy, which Reis says his company built into one of the largest cross-border brands within a couple of years. Farmacy was acquired by Procter and Gamble in 2021.
SuperOrdinary helps brands navigate regulatory hurdles in China, including testing. But Reis says developing go-to-market strategies is a more exciting challenge for SuperOrdinary, and it has a team of 300 people in China to help brands sell through social commerce, retailers and marketplaces like Tmall and Taobao.
“It’s very important that we are able to localize the marketing, speak to the consumer and navigate the plethora of channels that consumers are spending their time,” he says. That includes working with key opinion leaders, or influencers, in China. Reis says SuperOrdinary is now one of the biggest livestream operations in the market. Its runs its own digital talent management agency for influencers and GalaGala, a e-commerce platform with products promoted by creators.
“There were a lot of people who were skeptical on livestreaming thinking that it was going to rise and come down,” he says. “But what has happened is that it’s continued to rise and become a very powerful channel.”
After building its China business, SuperOrdinary expanded to include an Amazon services agency in the United States, which launched in 2021, and its acquisition of Fanfix, which lets creators monetize content through subscriptions, messaging and livestreaming.
With the new funding, SuperOrdinary plans to add more capabilities in the U.S., including livestreaming and creator-led e-commerce. (When asked if SuperOrdinary plans to make any more acquisitions, Reis says its “always on the lookout for opportunities to acquire brands that we can accelerate through our global flywheel.”)
SuperOrdinary works with brands that are making at least $10 million in annual revenue. In the U.S., it is open to working with any type of consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand, including beauty, skincare, home, pet and electronics. Sales channels include direct-to-consumer, marketplaces like Amazon and Tmall and retailers like Sephora and Ulta. Nearly all of its brand partners are based in the U.S., while 50% of its business is brands launching and selling in China. Reis says SuperOrdinary manages its partners’ businesses exclusively in China and on some platforms in the U.S., like Amazon.
When SuperOrdinary launches a brand in a new market, it builds custom go-to-market strategies for each one. “In China, for example, the social platforms and marketplaces are completely different from the U.S., so our team really builds the brands from scratch, utilizing their local expertise to ensure the marketing resonates with the local consumer base,” Reis says.
An example of a go-to-market strategy is the one SuperOrdinary worked on for Biossance, the skincare line. One of its key ingredients is squalene, which in its original form is harvested from sharks. Biossance created a raw ingredient that mimics squalene. “When we went to market, we focused on why this is good for the environment, why this is good for the world,” says Reis. “We really focused on the quality of the product. When we think about building a brand, it’s really going to the grassroots, as if we own the brand ourselves because we are the brand partner, and then communicating that in a local fashion that really resonates with the consumer.”
For brands that sell on Amazon, SuperOrdinary buys inventory from them, so they see an immediate upside to working with the company. Then SuperOrdinary provides services like demand planning, advertising and brand protection. It also handles customer service. The company’s brand protection services include proprietary scraping technology to track unauthorized sellers and take legal action against them if necessary.
Thanks to the reach of the platforms SuperOrdinary’s brand partners sell on, its scope goes beyond China and the U.S. For example, it operates brands in Europe through Amazon. “We’re able to livestream and connect to consumers all around the world,” Reis says. “Depending on whether we have the logistics capabilities, we can service those consumers. I think where we’ve really leaned into is being right at the top of the funnel and the creator economy, so we work with creators at scale. We’re able to understand where their audiences are and we have a lot of data on who they connect with, so we’re able to then figure out which brands are most suited to sell to those consumers.”
In terms of competition, Reis says he doesn’t think there is a company that is doing what SuperOrdinary does at the same global scale, but there are local competitors, or people who are scaling up brands on specific marketplaces. SuperOrdinary’s size gives it an advantage because it helps reduce customer acquisition costs. “We work with creators very closely and our CAC can get close to zero because they work within our ecosystem and on our platform. A lot of the algorithms that are on different platforms, particularly on TikTok, can give you traffic at a very cheap price because of the content you create.”
SuperOrdinary will use part of its funding for more data and digital capabilities. “Our philosophy has always been to focus on the channels where the customers are spending their time,” Reis says. “If it’s on Snap, we will focus there, or TikTok then we will help brands scale there. Given our knowledge of growing brands 50% per year on TikTok in Asia, we feel we have a lot to offer brands, especially when it comes to lending expertise in the social commerce space.”