Nigerian entrepreneur makes history again as youngest Black woman to raise $10 million in funding

Abu Mubarik November 15, 2022
Olamide Olowe. Photo via Twitter/Olamide Olowe

Olamide Olowe, 26, is the co-founder of Topicals skincare, a brand she was inspired to start because she grew up with skin conditions. Since then, the popularity of her skincare product has grown exponentially, appealing mostly to Gen-Z via Tiktok and Instagram marketing.

Olowe launched Topicals skincare in 2020 and saw its revenue increase three-fold. In 2021, the product sold out in 48 hours at a market launch despite the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. 

She subsequently got investors to back her business in fundraising. She raised over $2 million in venture capital with some big-name investors such as the CEO of Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John and Insecure actresses Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji. The fundraising made her the youngest entrepreneur to raise such a fund, as per Face2face Africa’s previous feature.

She also made a debut on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for 2022 for her previous fundraising of $2.6 million. The 26-year-old recently announced a $10 million financing round led by CAVU Consumer Partners, making her the youngest Black woman ever to raise $10 million in funding, according to Forbes.

The outlet said Topicals will harness the CAVU funding to expand the company and fuel brand awareness. The brand will also commit funds towards raising awareness around the link between mental health and skin conditions. 

“To date, Topicals has donated more than $50,000 to support nonprofits providing mental health resources to marginalized communities. Now the company will be able to launch a 12-month accelerator program to support nonprofits in the mental health space,” Forbes wrote.

Olowe grew up with post barbae folliculitis (a skin inflammation) while her co-founder, Claudia, grew up with eczema. Olowe told Fortune that she knows what it feels like to live with skin conditions and the effect they have on one’s mental health, hence the creation of Topicals.

She is mindful of the role social media plays in how people feel about themselves or their skin. “That’s why it is important to us to create a brand that doesn’t focus on perfection or unattainable beauty standards. We want to transform the way people feel about skin and we do that on social media by showcasing people with visible skin conditions living life in full color,” she told Fortune.

Prior to starting her own skincare product, she spent two years as an intern at Shea Moisture where she learned how to build a brand following for underserved consumers. “At Shea Moisture, there was an ethos of doing well by doing good,” she told Forbes. “That inspired me to build Topicals with a social mission.”

Despite her success in fundraising to revamp her business, Olowe’s entrepreneurial journey has not been smooth sailing. According to her, she has to fight against the industry norm, which demands that beauty companies constantly roll out new products, she said to Forbes.

For others who want to be like her, the Nigerian-born entrepreneur said they should not hesitate to get started. “If you psych yourself out, even just a little bit, you won’t do it. Don’t even think about what you can’t do. Just ask, ‘Why not me?’”

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