As vitamin C remains one of the most popular ingredients for the “skintellectual” consumer, skin-care brand Matter of Fact launches today with a vitamin C formulation that has secured $10 million in seed funding.
Founded by Harvard grad and former K-pop artist Paul Baek, Matter of Fact makes its debut via DTC e-commerce with a serum and a moisturizer. With its hero vitamin C serum, the brand is targeted toward the growing number of skin-care consumers obsessed with ingredient research. At $92 for 30 milliliters, the serum contains a waterless delivery system for the ascorbic acid that it says maintains product stability for longer than other vitamin C serums on the market.
“Vitamin C has overtaken almost every other ingredient category,” said Baek on why he chose vitamin C as his focus.
The brand’s seed investment funding came from Horizons Ventures, Cowboy Ventures and First Round Capital, as well as Birchbox co-founder and current venture capitalist Hayley Barna. Former Allure editor-in-chief of Allure Michelle Lee is also an investor, marking her first investment in a beauty brand.
Baek’s interest in skin care began when he launched a K-pop career, signing to a record label and traveling back and forth to South Korea while attending Harvard.
The K-pop world is “very image-conscious,” he said. “I was made painfully aware of the fact that my appearance mattered,” with weekly trips to the dermatologist to get the flawless K-pop skin. “It’s very vulnerable to be in front of the camera.”
He later went to business school at Wharton and began planning his skin-care brand in 2018, renting a lab space in Los Angeles.
Vitamin C has become one of the most sought-after ingredients in skin care in the U.S. market in recent years, with vitamin C serums by brands including SkinCeuticals and BeautyStat becoming cult products in the “skintellectual” community. “Stability” of the ingredient has been a hot topic addressed in online skin-care groups as consumers seek out products that won’t lose the potency of vitamin C after opening the bottle.
Baek noticed the rise of “skintellectuals” online in the U.S. around 2015. “In 2012, consumers could read an ingredient list for a product, and they didn’t know how to decipher it. Fast-forward to today, and there are a billion online communities trying to decipher what those ingredients mean, define individual sensitivities and so on,” said Baek.
This coincided with the rise of K-beauty, which “got the consumer thinking about how to be thoughtful about skin care. It introduced them to a lot of ingredients that they weren’t familiar with.”
Matter of Fact states that based on independent third-party lab research, its serum maintained stability of 94.25% ascorbic acid concentration after 16 months. That’s a higher performance than water-based solutions that reach 82% after eight months, according to the brand.
With the investment round, the brand plans to invest in adding to its current team of 10 employees, as well as continued R&D, clinical research and product expansion. Baek plans to expand the brand to four products by the end of 2022.