Beiersdorf setting a milestone with first K-Beauty Accelerator

Tech and innovation are putting on their sheet masks – Global skincare brand Beiersdorf wants to find the next pioneer of K-Beauty with its K-Beauty Accelerator “NX.” Beiersdorf, who owns world-famous skincare brands such as NIVEA, La Prairie, and Eucerin, is has joined the K-beauty race. Their first batch of startups finished the NX Accelerator program and one of the startups LYCL was able to get investment from Beiersdorf’s venture fund. The investment proves Beierdorfs desire to find beauty innovations through tech and strengthen its footprint in the K-Beauty market. NX is now entering their second batch and have already achieved a unique market position as the first global beauty accelerator in Korea.

K-Beauty Accelerator Launched in Korea

On July 25th, 2019, Beiersdorf Korea held the official opening ceremony. The party was joined by the five selected startups and a host of guests. Beiersdorf is the first brand to ever 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.

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 will 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 was able to secure funds and execute the program. Within a few months the team setup everything bottom-up, including brand development, space design, startup scouting, and selection. Over 200 startups were evaluated for the launch of NX in Korea. For their second batch more than 250 candidates.


Representatives cutting the ribbon

Cutting the Ribbon with German AmbassadorStephan Auer

Also present at the opening event was German Ambassador, Stephan Auer. During his speech, Auer shared that the NX accelerator is a great 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, both 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.”

K-beauty has been dominating the Asian beauty market for years. It has found huge 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 $7.5 million worth of cosmetic products yearly with more than 275 cosmetic companies and startups in Korea to have yearly sales of over $4 million. Therefore, South Korea is looking to become the 3rd largest cosmetics exporter in the world by 2022. This kind of rapid growth will contribute to the creation of over 70,000 jobs in the beauty sector in Korea.

NX Accelerator – First Batch

The NX team and their first five startups; Unpa. Cosmetics (LYCL), Reziena, Limese, Glowhill, and Panda worked out of WeWork, Hongdae. The beauty entrepreneurs worked hard to revolutionize the beauty industry with NIVEA’s support. For one year, the beauty startups collaborated with NIVEA in a strategic partnership agreement. Support ranged from mentoring, investment, strategic projects, space as well as global exposure. For instance, in August of 2019, the NX Accelerator and the startups showcased their projects at the Indie Beauty Expo in New York. Overall the average growth rate of the beauty startups was 130%.

NX Accelerator – Second Batch

Through the first batch, NX Accelerator was able to gain important experience which will help further develop their program. For the second batch, NX focused on startups with a proven business model and some traction and growth. The five startups selected from over 250 applicants were:

  • BEIGIC – Minimalistic vegan skincare brand, powered by coffee
  • ICE CREATIVE – Leading beauty influencer network with D2C beauty brands
  • FEMMUE – Premium face care brand inspired by flower therapy
  • WOOHWAMAN – Innovation platform for co-creation with beauty consumers
  • AIONCO – A B2B platform for global e-commerce of Korean skincare brands

The second batch have already started their one-year program.

The Top Beauty Accelerator in Asia by 2022

NX Nivea Accelerator is well on its way to becoming the #1 beauty accelerator in Asia. 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 success of the program was their focus on finding high-quality startups. They put a lot of importance in looking at the team and the founders before looking at the overall potential of the company. Since their program is a year-long program compared to other accelerator programs that only last 3-6 months, it is important to find passionate entrepreneurs who are eager to work with NX and Beiersdorf.

In order 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 huge market that many of the brands will not have to leave China to find success. Will NX open a beauty accelerator in China? Stay tuned.