Some companies operate quietly, known only to industry insiders. But Intelligent Beauty, an ecommerce conglomerate, is so far off the radar as to be almost extra-terrestrial. Little known to most of tech ecosystem — or even its Los Angeles neighbors — the team that incubated MySpace long ago has shed its InterMix Media shell. Their new venture, Intelligent Beauty, is on pace to generate nearly half a billion dollars in revenue this year. Not bad for a company no one has heard of.
The company’s three ecommerce businesses include a Sephora competitor, a subscription fashion company that thinks it has ShoeDazzle licked, and a widely successful diet system based on smell and taste therapy. In true LA ecommerce style, they’ve even got a celebrity in Kimora Lee Simmons, but unlike most others in her position, she’s an experienced executive and apparently a force in the boardroom.
Intelligent Beauty is shockingly large and profitable and the people behind the company and the story of how they got here are fascinating. Here’s the exclusive peek inside this juggernaut that may be Southern California’s best hope at a multi-billion exit.
The Early Days at Intermix Media
Our story begins the last time LA seemed to have a multi-billion dollar hit on its hands — MySpace. Intermix Media is known mostly for incubating the one time social media powerhouse. What is less well known is that at the time of its sale to News Corp, Intermix had a highly successful ecommerce and performance advertising division called Alena Media, which generated hundreds of millions in revenue and was its only profit center.
Alena was built in large part by Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler, the co-founders of Intelligent Beauty. They were bought into the Intermix fold by founder and President Brett Brewer, who acquired Goldenberg’s first company, Gamers Alliance and Ressler’s FitnessHeaven.
Gamer’s Alliance was an advertising network for gaming sites and had grown fast enough to catch the attention of bigger players within the space. Brewer rushed to acquire it, doing the entire deal over the phone from Intermix’s then headquarters of New Haven, Connecticut. It was not until the deal was done that he learned that Goldenberg was just 17 years old.
Visions of corrupting the youth flashed before his eyes, as Goldenberg told him of his plans to drop out of school and move from his parents house in LA to his new job at Intermix. “I couldn’t believe it when this kid showed up at the door of my office just a few days later, parents in tow and dressed in an ill-fitting brown suit,” Brewer says. “Somehow he had built this company and talked me into acquiring it, and I never knew he was still in high school.”
It was only after his lawyers okayed the decision that Brewer went ahead with Goldenberg’s employment contract. It was clear already that this was no ordinary acquisition and that Goldenberg was no ordinary entrepreneur.
Despite the initial impressions, he proved to be a relentless worker and was promoted to COO of Intermix, which was already a public company, at the age of 19. He may be the youngest COO of a public company in history.
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