Fung Capital USA is betting that it is pictures and videos — not text — that will help brands see a return on their social media investments.
This story first appeared in the July 30, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We’ve seen hard numbers,” John Seung, partner at Fung Capital, said of Olapic, a two-year-old technology company that just secured $5 million in Series A funding led by Fung Capital USA, the private equity arm of the families of Victor and William Fung. Longworth Venture Partners co-led the round, and existing investors Great Oaks and Brad Harrison ventures also took part.
Olapic marries social content with the e-commerce experience. The technology allows a brand to take pictures or videos shared by fans on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or direct upload, cull those images and then present them on its Web site with links to e-commerce product pages. This allows brands to almost crowdsource a portion of their marketing efforts.
Olapic clients include Coach, Lancôme, Nasty Gal, Lululemon, New Balance, Steve Madden, BaubleBar, Dannijo and JetBlue. Since May, Olapic has signed Alex and Ani, Bebe, Desigual, Equipment, Vineyard Vines, West Elm and Westward Leaning.
The New York City-based firm’s cofounders — Jose de Cabo, Pau Sabria and Luis Sanz — said Olapic is on track to generate at least $45 million in e-commerce revenues for its clients collectively this year. Since December, Olapic’s own revenue has increased 600 percent. The partners declined to reveal Olapic’s actual revenues.
De Cabo, Sabria and Sanz said clients that use their software have increased online conversion by 7 percent on average once the software is fully integrated, and some have seen growth in the double digits.
New Balance, which has almost 461,000 posts on Instagram with the hashtag #newbalance, said because of Olapic it’s seen a 39 percent bump in conversion surrounding its Heidi Klum for New Balance initiative, which launched the third week of June on newbalance.com. User-generated images tagged with #HKBG are aggregated on the collection’s landing page.
For skeptics who think brands need to take a step back with their social media spending, Olapic’s statistics suggest fashion companies can see a return on social spending that goes beyond brand awareness.
Seung said Olapic is the first firm that’s really “demonstrated financial benefits” for participating organizations that use social media.
“It’s not just money,” he said. “It goes far beyond financial benefit as well. I look at [brands like] Lululemon. It almost creates a cultlike following, and Olapic allows other brands to do this. The entire social media space is going [toward] videos and photos, and text is already last century. It’s figuring out how to monetize on image — [whether it’s] Instagram, Pinterest [or] Snapchat. Olapic is right in the middle of that — converting those images and video into true value.”