The top 3 Beauty-Tech opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs in Brazil

I had the great pleasure to partner with Alessandra Zonari and Carolina Oliveira, the co-founders of OneSkin (the most promising anti-aging cosmetic I’ve heard until now) to bring the first beautytech event to São Paulo, Brazil!

We were guided and supported by no one else other than (drum roll please) Odile Roujol, the former CEO of Lâncome who started this worldwide movement in order to spark discussions between beauty founders and investors. I met Odile Roujol while leading a beauty-tech in San Francisco. Back then, the beautytech movement was a small gathering at her place, which quickly grew into a larger network of more than 1,500 beauty-tech founders and investor worldwide. The conversations and connections facilitated during some of the early beautytech events were remarkable, and the idea of helping to foster a chapter in my home country, Brazil, — which Carolina and Alessandra had already started — quickly won my enthusiasm.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

The event took place in São Paulo in October 23rd and was hosted by Alessandra and Carolina with the support of Startse. We’re grateful for the 50+ beauty founders and investors that joined and contributed to the conversation.

Photo by Alécio Cezar

It’s of utmost importance to highlight that Brazil might be a global reference for soccer, beaches, and Gisele Bündchen— but in the context of this event, it’s so much more than that. Our country is one of the largest beauty & fashion consumer markets across the globe. In fact, it accounts for almost 10% of the global beauty market. Culturally beauty and personal care are also highly valued in Brazil. And interesting enough, the key trade partners for the Brazilian beauty market are US and France. Oui, two of the pioneering chapters of the #BeautyTech movement. Which takes us back to the learnings.

Caroline Reis and Alessandra Zonari. Photo by Alécio Cezar

I was given the opportunity to go through Carolina and Alessandra’s summary of the event. They were the ones present on the day-of and rolling up their sleeves to bring forth an energizing meetup. Thank you for the honor of sharing your learnings, ladies!

THE BRAZILIAN BEAUTY-TECH SCENE

Despite the fact that Brazil has such a powerful presence in the international beauty market, the event highlighted the increased attention that the beauty industry has been receiving because of its growth. The discussions affirmed the entrepreneurial belief that creativity and technology are key ingredients to explore more opportunities in beauty. We also noticed an emphasis on sustainable beauty businesses that seek to impact the country positively in its financial, social, and environmental spheres.

WANTED: BEAUTY THAT RESPECTS HUMAN AND ENVIRONMENTAL LIFE

The first panel was moderated by Xavier Leclerc (Rio Futuro). We were inspired by the story of the founder of Souvie, Caroline Villar. Environmental awareness has always been a part of her life, who after having had triplets, felt guilty about going through a full pack of disposable diaper a day. It’s not the first time we hear that beauty cosmetics focused on pregnancy are still in its baby stage, and Caroline felt the same way. She found it difficult to buy products that were not aggressive to her skin during pregnancy — when the skin is already very sensitive. So, Souvie was born, this insight moved the entrepreneurial couple, Caroline Villar and her then-husband launched what is now a leading line of organic cosmetics that are safe for to-be-moms’ skins and conscience: it does not harm or offers risk for the body or the environment.

Photo by Alécio Cezar

Beyond just organic beauty, we’re led to think broader, meaning sustainable beauty. Souvie has its own farm and factory which means full control of the entire production chain and the ability to make a sustainable product not only for its ingredients but also for its process. As part of the expanding Brazilian beauty market, Caroline knows that sustainable beauty isn’t just an issue that speaks to only to her, but that, instead, captivates more and more Brazilians each day. According to her, around 64% of Brazilians believe that organic products are a better choice than conventional ones.

The panel stressed the importance of an issue now faced by other companies in the sustainable beauty space, the certification of organic cosmetics. It’s relevancy matters because in obtaining a certification, companies are proofing its compliance with quality assurance sustainable practices.

The first panel ended with a revelation: one of Caroline’s greatest challenges has been the development of an entirely organic sunscreen. It is a daring project that she has invested now more than 6 years and has not yet reached a satisfactory formula.

EARLY START-UPS IN THE BRAZILIAN BEAUTY MARKET FACE ISSUES WITH GENDER, INVESTOR-PROFILE MISMATCH, AND LACK OF ACCELERATION OPPORTUNITIES

In the second panel, Itali Collini from 500 Startups led the conversation with the founders of Horvarth — Luciano Bueno, OneSkin — Caroline Reis, and Vaniday — Cristiano Soares.

Photo by Alécio Cezar

So you know a bit more about the panelists:

  1. Horvath — LucianoBueno is applying nanotechnology to innovate in the fashion and textile market.
  2. OneSkin- Carolina Reis is pursuing the ambitious challenge to develop cosmetic products that promote skin age reversal.
  3. Vaniday — Cristiano Soares created a beauty and wellness services marketplace.

It was a hearty discussion around the challenges of starting up from the ground zero. Among the main challenges reported, was the cultural challenge of replicating the startup investment model found in the U.S. due to the profile of Brazilian investors, who are more conservative. The living proof is the fact that all three startups raised their first investment outside Brazil. But there is hope! They believe that investors in Brazil slowly are starting to risk more and bet on new technologies.

Another focus point was the lack of gender diversity among investors. According to the founders, the male-predominant VC world is a challenge for beauty entrepreneurs since, traditionally, the world of beauty is not an area of interest for them, thus they end up not being aware of the opportunities in this market.

The panel was moderated by Itali Pedroni Collini, hence we could not close the panel without discussing an important subject: acceleration programs. Brazilian entrepreneurs are well aware of the growing power of a good acceleration program for early-stage start-ups. Cristiano, the founder of Vaniday, shared his inspiring story that started at a weekend startup program and in less than two years raised €15 million in investment from Rocket Internet and has now expanded its operations to seven countries. This is a great example that a well executed good idea in the beauty market can be an excellent bet.

THE DIGITAL TAKER OVER

The third panel was moderated by investor Edson Rigonatti , representing Astella Investimentos. He wisely brought light to the topic of digital influence in consumer choices. For Juliana Rakoza, the founder of the first school of professionalization for digital influencers — Beauty4share, believes that the influencer marketing will still be strong and powerful in the near future. For Juliana, there’s a need for influencers to acknowledge their social responsibility towards their audience.

Photo by Alécio Cezar

Rui Miadaira, founded Career Beauty, a marketplace for beauty professionals, and Ahazou a digital content company built around influencer marketing. He wasn’t an entrepreneur at first, but having worked to help his sister in digital marketing and succeeding, he took a leap of faith to do the same on a larger scale. For Juliana, Pinterest will be the next power-tool in the beauty digital influence.

Before closing-up, Fábio Garcia, the founder of AREA, spoke about the impact of AR and VR in the beauty sector. The simple but incredible reality that it is already possible to try out makeup without having to get your face dirty is a great case example on how technology can help to leverage the current businesses in beauty

This is only the beginning of how the #BeautyTech movement can help to foster a richer and brighter entrepreneurial community in Brazil. Join the community, it’s free!

Photo by Alécio Cezar

MEET-UP BEAUTY TECH BR — https://www.meetup.com/beautytechBR/

BEAUTY TECH GLOBAL — https://www.beautytechcommunity.com/