K-beauty has been receiving a lot of global attention. Only a few years ago, Estée Lauder announced its acquisition of the beauty company Have & Be – the owner of the k-beauty brand Dr. Jart+cosmetics. Now, another globally known skincare giant, Beiersdorf, another globally know skincare giant, has been investing in K-beauty startups through their Beauty Accelerator. Their first investment was in the K-beauty startup LYCL Inc. By acquiring stakes, the German conglomerate, which also owns NIVEA, was the second-largest shareholder of the rapidly growing beauty tech start-up.

Beiersdorf launched a new strategy called “C.A.R.E.+” with an investment program. The strategy focuses on the acceleration of new businesses. As well as the innovation of skincare and consumer engagement. Therefore, Beiersdorf aims to boost the opening of new markets, digitalization, and up-skilling of the workforce. Furthermore, the skincare company launched its first beauty accelerator “NX” in Seoul back in 2020 to bring fresh talents on board. Therefore, their investment in the K-beauty startups further strengthened Beiersdorf’s footprint in Korea and the region.

Why Beiersdorf invests in K-Beauty Startups

From left to right: Jihoon Jeon, Endrik Hasemann, Manhwi Han, Jacek Brozda

“We see great potential in LYCL’s disruptive business model and its high degree of digital consumer connection,” – Dessi Temperley, Chief Financial Officer of Beiersdorf

“The digital innovation capabilities and strong consumer centricity of LYCL have resulted in triple-digit growth rates over recent years. We believe the business model is geographically scalable,” Temperley added.

Endrik Hasemann, General Manager Beiersdorf South Korea, was the investment into the K-beauty startup also as a proof of concept:

“The decision to launch the NIVEA accelerator in Korea as part of our global venturing activities was made based on the belief that the Korean ecosystem is a frontrunner regarding beauty and tech trends. We strongly believe in the future success of LYCL, and we are looking forward to driving excellent consumer experiences and skincare innovations to the next level together.”

Jacek Brozda, Manager Ventures, and New Business shares: “We identified LYCL from over 200 beauty startups for the NIVEA Accelerator program. Since then, we started several projects on a local and international level with Beiersdorf.” Looking ahead, he highlights the strategic relevance of the investment: “This is the first venture investment of Beiersdorf in the Korean market, hence sending a signal of our commitment to the startup ecosystem. We are confident to become the leading Beauty Accelerator in Korea.

About the K-beauty startup LYCL Inc.

LYCL Inc. is a Korean skincare and tech startup founded in 2013. The company consists of three different business models:

  • unpa.me, a review and content platform for K-Beauty products,
  • palett.me, an influencer network platform, and
  • unpa.cosmetics, the startups’ own skincare brand

With over 1.4 million users and 650,000 monthly active users, LYCL Inc. has set a strong footprint in South Korea. The company’s major product sales are generated through a direct-to-consumer (DTC) business model via LYCL’s website. On the company’s beauty platforms unpa & palette.me, users share their opinions. In addition, they can write reviews about cosmetic products. Therefore the reviews are not only helpful for consumers in making their buying decisions but also help the company. In addition, after collecting all the feedback and user data from the reviews, the k-beauty startup can develop and market new skincare products for its brand Unpa.Cosmetics.

Beiersdorf Joined LYCL’s $5 Million Series B Round

Beiersdorf participated in LYCL’s Series B round, which raised $5 million. Therefore, this shows that Beiersdorf is active in helping beauty startups as they transition from their beauty accelerator program.