K-beauty has been receiving a lot of global attention in 2019. Only a month 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, officially announced its investment in the K-beauty startup LYCL Inc. By acquiring stakes, the German conglomerate, which also owns NIVEA, is 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 early this year. 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 this year to bring fresh talents on board. Therefore, the investment into the K-beauty startup further strengthens Beiersdorf’s footprint in Korea and the region.

Why Beiersdorf invested into LYCL Inc.

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, sees 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 within 2020.”

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 1.2 million users and 550,000 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 own 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 to make 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 is able to develop and market new skincare products for its own brand Unpa.Cosmetics.

Beiersdorf Joins LYCL’s $5 Million Series B Round

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