Beiers­dorf, WeWork Team On Beauty Ac­cel­er­a­tor

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY JEN­NIFER WEIL

PARIS — Beiers­dorf AG is the lat­est com­pany to jump on the beauty ac­cel­er­a­tor band­wagon, with the up­com­ing launch of its pro­gram fo­cused on start-ups based in South Ko­rea.

For the project, Beiers­dorf and WeWork have formed a part­ner­ship in the coun­try, for which the shared workspace giant will fa­cil­i­tate Beiers­dorf’s ac­cess to the start-up ecosys­tem there. The ac­cel­er­a­tor is to be lo­cated in Seoul’s Hong­dae Dis­trict, where Hongik Univer­sity’s cool kids hang out. The Ger­man com­pany’s Nivea brand spon­sors the hub.

Big beauty com­pa­nies, which rarely start new brands from scratch, these days can find their ma­ture brands fac­ing stiff com­pe­ti­tion from up­starts, of­ten spawned in the dig­i­tal realm. So they have been quick on the up­take to cre­ate ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­grams, fos­ter­ing nascent brands that of­fer them key learn­ings and tools to en­rich know-how, some­times paving the way for ac­qui­si­tions.

L’Oc­c­i­tane in Septem­ber said it had opened a start-up in­cu­ba­tor in Mar­seille, France, with the stu­dio fo­cus­ing on cos­met­ics and well-be­ing. Puig’s re­cently launched col­lab­o­ra­tive plat­form, called Puig Fu­tures, is three-pronged — in­volved in de­vel­op­ing new “dis­rup­tive” busi­ness mod­els, part­ner­ships with com­pa­nies and tak­ing mi­nor­ity stakes in third-party en­ter­prises re­lated to the fra­grance cat­e­gory, for in­stance.

Gen­er­ally, com­pa­nies cre­ate ac­cel­er­a­tors in their home mar­kets, but Beiers­dorf is tak­ing a dif­fer­ent tack. “We want to be where the fu­ture of skin care be­gins,” said Ralph Gusko, Beiers­dorf board mem­ber for brands, re­search and de­vel­op­ment, and the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion. “We are em­brac­ing the Korean ecosys­tem be­cause it is a fron­trun­ner in beauty and dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies.”

The se­lec­tion process for the first crop of com­pa­nies will start in the first quar­ter of next year. Cho­sen start-ups are to re­ceive exclusive ac­cess to Beiers­dorf’s world­wide mar­ket reach and the com­pany’s ex­per­tise in skin care.

There is to be a ded­i­cated Beiers­dorf team for the start-up col­lab­o­ra­tion and ac­cel­er­a­tion, which will also in­ter­face with Beiers­dorf’s se­nior ex­ec­u­tives from the mar­ket­ing, sales, dig­i­tal, sup­ply chain and R&D branches.

“At Beiers­dorf, we be­lieve in part­ner­ship,” said En­drik Hase­mann, gen­eral man­ager Beiers­dorf Ko­rea. “Our foun­da­tion and global suc­cess is based on close col­lab­o­ra­tion with part­ners in the skin-care mar­ket. To­day, we want to help Korean en­trepreneurs build their ideas and open the doors to the global mar­ket.”

“This part­ner­ship will add to our con­tin­u­ous ef­fort in build­ing a cre­ative and in­no­va­tive com­mu­nity that fos­ters di­verse cre­ators in Ko­rea,” said Matthew Shampine, gen­eral man­ager of WeWork Ko­rea.

Aside from cash-cow Nivea, Ham­burg­based Beiers­dorf’s other skin- care brands in­clude La Prairie, Eucerin and La­bello. In 2017, the com­pany’s beauty sales were es­ti­mated at 5.54 bil­lion eu­ros, up 3.4 per­cent ver­sus the prior year.

Based in Seoul, it will se­lect the first crop of com­pa­nies tak­ing part start­ing in first-quar­ter 2019.

Prod­ucts from Nivea, Eucerin and La Prairie.

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