4th BeautyTech Seoul: “How technology is driving innovation in beauty and fashion”

K-Beuaty brands

At the fourth Beauty Tech Seoul Meetup — hosted by igniteXL and held October 31 at the Chanel Korea office — over 50 founders, investors, and other participants gathered to share ideas and discuss “How technology is driving innovation in beauty and fashion.” We invited four startups in various categories to learn what they are working on and how they are leveraging technology in their respective fields.

Given its robust beauty market, estimated at more than US$13 billion in 2017, and extensive technological infrastructure, including the world’s fastest broadband, South Korea offers a fertile ground for beauty tech. To bring together those innovating in this unique market, Beauty Tech Seoul held its first Meetup, “Let’s Talk Beauty-Tech”, in February 2018 at the Google campus in Mountain View. Since then, Beauty Tech Seoul has evolved to become one of 12 chapters in the global Beauty Tech Community, founded by Odile Roujol, former CEO of Lancôme.

4th Beautytech Seoul

The October Beauty Tech Seoul Meetup opened with introductions to the panelists:

o YoungWook Jo of Biostandard, a research-and-development company that uses a module-based algorithm to deliver quality, customizable skincare products at reasonable prices

o MinKyung Kim of Sara’s Fit, a company that combines 3D-scanning technology with body-imaging data to develop affordable, customized undergarments for women

o Ho Won Song of Cosmochain, a business-to-consumer beauty website that uses blockchain technology to gather customer reviews and product information

o Seung Woo Son of Fastlane, an app that allows consumers to compare and book beauty and skincare treatments

Panelists were invited to share the unique technology solutions they are using to meet the needs of today’s beauty consumers.

First up was YoungWook Jo. YoungWook explained that Biostandard’s modular approach allows the company to produce cosmetic products personalized to fit each consumer’s demands. By performing everything from ingredient sourcing to manufacturing in its Biostandard Lab, the company can produce small quantities cost effectively.

Next on the panel was MinKyung Kim of Sara’s Fit. MinKyung recognized that the lingerie industry was failing to address the full range of sizes and shapes of the female body. As a result, many women were wearing undergarments that were not fitted for their individual bodies. To address this issue, Sara’s Fit developed proprietary 3D-scanning technology the company uses to provide custom-fitted undergarments and bras.

Ho Won Song of Cosmochain explained that his company adopted blockchain technology to ensure that customer reviews and product information could be trusted by consumers. The token reward system relies on user interactions to encourage customers to provide quality content. These interactions not only improve the reliability of reviews but also create a robust and engaging community.

Finally, Seung Woo Son explained that Fastlane arose to address issues such as non-standard pricing and imbalances of information between customers and dermatologists in the existing skincare market. The abundance of clinics and services makes it hard for consumers to evaluate the pricing of procedures and select the best options for their needs. Fastlane set out to solve this problem by creating an app that allows consumers to compare skin treatments from nearby skincare clinics and book and pay for treatments — all on their phones. In just two years, Fastlane has added 180 hospitals to the app and achieved over 100,000 downloads.

All four panel participants shared that their companies plan to expand to markets beyond Korea, but they also emphasized that Korea has been a great testbed market. Building a successful case study in Korea is critical to their global market-expansion plans.

In terms of customer acquisition, most panelists rely heavily on social media channels — YouTube and Instagram are the top choices. Sara’s Fit uses a Naver blogpost page the company initially started to educate the market.

Following the panel, a special shoutout session was held for the beauty-tech startups in attendance:

o Instant Tattoo: erasable tattoos

o The Vegan Glow: vegan-based skincare

o Baybiotech: non-contact skin-assessment devices and software used to monitor skincare and recommend treatments and products

o ShezMirror: a smart mirror consumers can use to evaluate the daily skin condition

o Reziena: a beauty device that uses high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to create a convenient at-home spa treatment

At the networking session immediately following the panel discussion, attendees came together to learn about each other’s work and form friendships, partnerships, and more. Two participants from the August meeting are already discussing a collaborative partnership to leverage each other’s strengths!

It was great to see so many new and familiar faces from the Beauty Tech Seoul community and see continued participation from the media, universities, government organizations, and brands like AmorePacific, Beiersdorf, and MCM.

We look forward to seeing you again in 2019!

About Beauty Tech Seoul Beauty Tech Seoul is one of 12 chapters of the global Beauty Tech Community, which has engaged with over 1,500 founders and funders and featured over 150 speakers from Asia, the United States, and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.beautytechcommunity.com.

About igniteXL Based in Silicon Valley and Asia, igniteXL is a global accelerator and seed fund investing in promising beauty, fashion, and wellness startups from all around the world. To learn more, please contact info@igniteXL.com.

About SVBeautyTech SVBeautyTech, powered by igniteXL, is the world’s first independent acceleration program focused on early-stage startups in beauty, fashion, and wellness. SVBeautyTech is now accepting applications for its immersive BeautyTech Accelerator program 02, which will begin in March 2019. To apply, please go to SVBeautyTech page and APPLY.