Tech and innovation are putting on their sheet masks – Global skincare brand Beiersdorf launched the first K-beauty accelerator in 2019. They aimed to find the next pioneer of K-Beauty with NX Accelerator. The German-based Beiersdorf is a leading provider of innovative, high-quality skincare products with over 135 years of experience in the beauty industry. They own world-famous skincare brands such as NIVEA, La Prairie, and Eucerin, and because of the NX Accelerator program, they have joined the K-beauty race.

Beiersdorf Korea

Beiersdorf entered Korea in 1997 when they established a local company called NIVEA Seoul. This was their way of building a long-term perspective on the Korean market. Then in 2012, they introduced Eucerin, and now they hold the #1 market share for lip care, deodorant, and sunscreen categories in Korea. In 2019, Beiersdorf Korea launched its beauty accelerator, NIVEA Accelerator (NX). Many of the startups that have finished the NX Accelerator program have gotten investment from Beiersdorf’s venture fund. This level of investment has shown Beierdorf’s desire to find beauty innovations through tech and strengthen its footprint in the K-Beauty market. NX has officially achieved a unique market position as the first global beauty accelerator in Korea.

K-Beauty Accelerator in Korea

Back in 2019, Beiersdorf Korea held the official opening ceremony for their K-beauty Accelerator. The party was joined by the five selected startups and a host of guests. Beiersdorf is the first brand ever to launch a K-beauty accelerator in Korea. In partnership with WeWork, the beauty giants first announced their plans for a beauty innovation hub in December 2018. Beiersdorf Korea understood that the Korean market was among Asia’s most influential beauty markets. In addition, the Korean beauty market was at the forefront of innovative skincare products and digitalization. Therefore, many of the latest trends and innovations in the beauty industry, like beauty tech and personalization, have come out of Korea.

Beiersdorf has made Korea the flagship location for its NIVEA Accelerator. No other location in the world has the combination of a leading-edge startup ecosystem, technology ecosystem, and “beauty” ecosystem. Therefore, this makes Korea the best space for developing new skincare trends and innovations.


Jacek Brozda, Manager Ventures, and New Business

How the NX Accelerator was Born

Jacek Brozda, Manager of Ventures and New Business, shared that the initial idea came about a year ago. Inspired by the booming startup scene in Korea, the team wanted to do something “out of the box”. At first, the team wasn’t sure whether the concept would get approved. However, the board member for Asia-Pacific, Mr. Ralph Gusko, loved the idea of a beauty innovation hub. Ralph encouraged the team to carry on with the idea. And as a result, the team could secure funds and execute the program. The team set up everything bottom-up within a few months, including brand development, space design, startup scouting, and selection.


Representatives cutting the ribbon on opening launch day

Cutting the Ribbon with German AmbassadorStephan Auer

Present at the opening event back in 2019 was German Ambassador Stephan Auer. During his speech, Auer shared that the NX accelerator was an excellent opportunity for both parties. As a global brand, NIVEA helps startups broaden their horizons. In addition, it gives them access to a worldwide market. On the other hand, startups provide their technical skills and digital knowledge. They can help traditional companies adapt to current and future trends. Furthermore, the ambassador believes that through the NX Accelerator, startups and Beiersdorf “can become the backbone of Korea’s economic future and sustainability.”

German Ambassador Stephan Auer

“The NX accelerator program sets an example and shows the diversity and liveliness. It’s a complementation between German-Korean economic relations.”

Advantages of Doing Business in Korea

K-beauty and the Korean cosmetics industry have dominated the Asian beauty market for years. It has found substantial international recognition. Korea’s makeup products alone are globally competitive due to the Korean Wave and the positive feedback from consumers on the quality of K-beauty products. This makes Korea one of the leading experts in the beauty industry worldwide. The Ministry of Health and Welfare aims to export more than $8.5 million worth of cosmetic products yearly, with over 300 cosmetic companies and startups in Korea having yearly sales of over $5 million. Therefore, South Korea is looking to become the 3rd largest cosmetic exporter in the world by 2025. This kind of rapid growth has created over 100,000 jobs in the beauty sector in Korea.

With NX Accelerator, Beiersdorf works closely with future beauty disruptors and innovators. It allows them to identify long-term partnerships for skincare innovations, new business models, and investment opportunities to secure long-term success for Beiersdorf. In addition, there are over 600 beauty startups in Korea, so it has been difficult to find the right startups for their batches.

Therefore they have targeted startups they see for potential collaboration projects. The ultimate goal has been to establish a win-win partnership between beauty startups and Beiersdorf. Therefore through the NX Accelerator, they have been delivering global business opportunities to the startups while at the same time bringing innovation to the existing businesses of Beiersdorf.

The Top Beauty Accelerator in Asia by 2025


NX Nivea Accelerator is close to becoming Asia’s #1 beauty accelerator. They are already the #1 beauty accelerator in Korea. Their goal is for up-and-coming beauty startups in Asia to see NX Accelerator as the leading destination for acceleration. The main reason for the program’s success was its focus on finding high-quality startups. They put a lot of importance on looking at the team and the founders before looking at the company’s overall potential. Since their program is a year-long program compared to other accelerator programs that only last 3-6 months, it is essential to find passionate entrepreneurs eager to work with NX and Beiersdorf.

NX Accelerator has already become the top beauty accelerator in Korea. Now they are on the journey to becoming the leading beauty accelerator in Asia. Therefore, to become the top beauty accelerator, NX will look to take the program to China at some point. There has been a rise in local brands in China, and NX feels that C-beauty is coming. China is such a massive market that many of the brands will not have to leave China to find success. Will NX open a beauty accelerator in China in 2023? Stay tuned.