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Shiseido Americas acquires biomaterial tech company Olivo Laboratories

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Shiseido Americas acquires biomaterial tech company Olivo Laboratories

Related tags Cosmetics Human skin color

This month, the personal care and cosmetics company announced having bought “substantially all of the assets of Olivo Laboratories,” a venture led by CEO Amy Schulman. The deal includes Olivo’s so-called second-skin technology, which Shiseido plans to put to good use for skin care and sun care product development.

Olivo Laboratories is located in the greater Boston area, in Watertown, Massachusetts. The company spun off from Living Proof in 2015 and now operates with the backing of Polaris Partners. CEO Amy Schulman is also a partner in Polaris.

The company’s claim to fame is a “platform technology [that] consists of a tunable polysiloxane-based material that mimics youthful skin and can be engineered to provide a variety of targeted properties, including elasticity, breathability, invisibility, water resistance, [and] protection,” ​according to Olivo’s about page.

Marc Rey, president and CEO of Shiseido Americas, hinted at the company’s plans to innovate beauty in a whole new way late last year, saying, “If I really want to create a competitive advantage, I need to look outside the beauty industry....We look at how to disrupt, and how disrupters work,” ​he said in his remarks at the CEW Connected Consumer Conference last October. (Read more about that event here on Cosmetics Design​.)

Blue-sky thinking

With this latest in a string of strategic acquisitions, the company is well on its way to disrupting the industry.

In a media release about the deal, Masahiko Uotani, president and CEO of Shiseido, confirms the company’s objective to do just that, saying “Our transaction with Olivo is an exciting next step in our ongoing pursuit to create entirely new categories of beauty products at a global scale as a part of our VISION 2020, middle to long term strategy.”

“Olivo’s ground-breaking ‘Second Skin’ technology will join Shiseido’s already robust innovation portfolio, which includes the personalization technology startup MATCHCo, the artificial intelligence-empowered beauty company Giaran, and our own Shiseido-developed OPTUNE, a digital, personalized skincare platform,”​ explains Uotani.

He goes on to suggest that tech like this will only amplify the already popular personalization trend, saying, “We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues at Olivo and benefiting from the expertise of Dr. Langer [co-founder of Olivo] as we continue to reinvent the beauty industry and to create new products tailored to each of our customers’ unique and personal ideals of beauty.”

Cross-industry collaboration  

Digital technologies have shifted consumer expectations. And multinational cosmetics and personal care companies like Shiseido are working hard to stay relevant.

“As the evolution of beauty-dedicated technologies continues apace, it becomes increasingly important for companies like Shiseido Group to take an external view when it comes to innovation and product development,” ​Rey tells the press. “By joining forces with leaders in scientific research like Dr. Langer and the Olivo team, we will continue to meet the demands of the consumer while offering the very latest advances in science and beauty.”

Olivo’s CEO is equally optimistic: “We are delighted to work with Shiseido, a company that has the vision, resources and talent to be pioneers in beauty science and to create a new standard for skincare in the beauty industry,” ​says Schulman.



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.


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