May 29, 2019
Media Center, Korea University, Seoul
Beautytech Seoul #5 was held on May 29th, 2019 at the gorgeous event room in the Media Center at Korea University in Seoul.
The first panel, The Disruptors in Beauty & Wellness was moderated by Diane Rhim, Product Development Manager at Dames, a natural beauty products startup and previously worked at IBM. Speakers included Jasmine Park of Knockout Global and Hana Lee of Melixir.
How did you get started in your business?
Jasmine suffered from bulimia with anxiety and depression and though she sought help there was nothing that addressed both mind and body.
> Most fitness approach was aimed at losing weight, not about ‘healthy’ lifestyle.
> She decided to leave Microsoft Singapore and build Knockout Global that enables individuals to approach fitness as both mind and body health.
> Knockout Global is uniquely positioned as a wellness brand that advocates new fitness culture that embodies both mind and body to lead a healthier life.
Hana was working at Memebox back in 2014 and while she was there, many customers would ask for vegan products.
> Hana didn’t understand it at that time but started noticing more demand for natural products. > At that time, there were no ‘vegan’ beauty in Korea to meet the increasing demand
> Hana recognized the opportunity and decided to create all plant based vegan beauty brand Melixir with sustainability in mind.
Is technology part of your business?
Jasmine — Knockout Global is currently OFFLLINE. BUT that they do want to be able to bring the best talents (trainers) and have them be accessible to everyone. For example, Jasmine would want everyone to experience her boxing class but if a person is in Dubai, he/she cannot access offline class. In this situation, technology enabled online platform can allow this person in Dubai to access and experience Jasmine’s boxing class! How we curate and how we deliver and the scalability of the business comes hand in hand with technology.
Hana — Currently sells in the domestic market and also via Amazon. She is leveraging technology platform to expand to the global markets. But she also combines offline marketing by offering classes to educate our customers about vegan products. Hana is using these classes to build awareness about vegan products and Melixir. She also focuses a lot on content creation and work actively with influencers to build awareness through their word of mouth.
On the topic of pivoting, Jasmine commented that she has pivoted over 20 times over the last 3 years. But each time, the mind and body health was at the core. Hana, by engaging with the customers through content and education sessions, she continues to focus on R & D to continue to improve products.
The panel ended with the wisdom shared by each founder:
Jasmine noted that there is no 8 to 5 in startup life. What helped Jasmine through the process is that she didn’t go to bed hating what she did day to day. Even if everything doesn’t seem to work out IF You believe in what you are doing, find ways to figure it out and keep at it.
For Hana, do what you love and stick to your philosophy!
Panel 2: Beautytech and Investments
We went on to discuss our 2nd panel to discuss investment trends in both Silicon Valley and in Korea. Invited guest speaker is Liz Wu from JnJ Innovation who has recently moved from Silicon Valley to Seoul.
1. What’s exciting about the beauty/wellness markets?
- Technology merging with beauty to create novel approaches that bring consumers deeper insights into their needs and offer personalization
- Digital connectivity — strong consumer engagement
- Increased consumer awareness (social/influencers)
2. What are some of the innovation you’ve in SV?
- Personalization, including using AI / machine learning — predictive algorithms and product recommendations
- Augmented reality — allows consumers to virtually try on products or visualize how products will affect their skin health
- Devices — both for diagnostics and for treatment
- Naturals & microbiome
- Ingestibles — inside out (including gut microbiome)
3. What’s next for K- beauty?
- We asked the audience! But one thing that was brought up by the previous panel was around natural/sustainability (whole life cycle of product)
- Clean beauty is up and coming in Korea
4. What’s your focus/mandate for Korea.
- Find innovative startups/companies to partner with or to invest in — in order to accelerate innovation that will improve the wellbeing of our Consumers. In the area of skin health in particular –we are looking for technologies that are rooted in science and that can be endorsed by professionals.
Next Beautytech Seoul will be held on August 22nd, 2019. Stay tuned for more information!
About igniteXL Ventures We are a global seed fund investing in and igniting kickass entrepreneurs at the intersection point of technology, beauty, and global innovation.
About FAB — FaB Fashion and BeautyTech community http://www.beautytechcommunity.com/ is a global movement founded in San Francisco. A fast-growing community in the last 18 months, with 2500+ founders and funders sharing their learnings in meetings in America Asia and Europe. Our 15 chapters leaders are all amazing founders and funders connected in their local environment. We aim at creating bridges between different ecosystems and learn from each other. Claire Chang proudly leads Beautytech-Seoul Chapter.