German personal care giant Beiersdorf has chosen five South Korean early-stage startups to join its accelerator program at its new innovation hub in Seoul, according to sources on April 9.
Sponsored by Beiersdorf’s flagship cosmetics brand Nivea, the innovation hub will house its first batch of K-beauty startups -- Reziena, Mesquare, Limese, LYCL and PANDA.
Reziena develops internet of things devices for cosmetics and personal care. Mesquare owns a brand Glowhill that specializes in skin care products and perfumes. Limese operates a platform that delivers Korean products to salons, spas and stores in India. LYCL operates a mobile app for user reviews and recommendations for beauty products, while PANDA sells rice flour soap.
Beiersdorf said the program is a part of its “Open Innovation” initiative for building long-term relationships with external partners to spur innovation.
The chosen startups will be offered mentorship for research and development, funding, as well as free access to the innovation hub at WeWork Hongdae that is slated to open in June. Beiersdorf and WeWork formed a strategic partnership in Korea for the accelerator program last year.
The five were finalized on April 2, from among some 200 Korean startups dedicated to beauty business that applied for the program.
Of the five, LVCL and PANDA were participants in “Fortune 500 Connect” project by the Korea International Trade Association, designed to connect Korean companies with global firms.
“Accelerator programs for early-stage startups have been mostly funded by the government, which makes this program an unprecedented case,” a high-level official of KITA’s global startup acceleration department said.
“Through the program, startups in Korea will get opportunities to globally scale-up.”
Beiesdorf’s Korean unit could not be immediately reached for comment.
By Son Ji-hyoung (firstname.lastname@example.org)