NIVEA Beauty Accelerator — Driving Innovation in Beauty & Beauty Tech

The Rise of Beauty Accelerators

Accelerator programs are used by some of the world’s most respected companies to foster innovation, enhance digital capabilities and learn about new ways of working. This concept was once only seen in the tech sphere but has now spread to a wide variety of different industries. Also, in the beauty industry accelerators are a rising trend. Many startups try to become part of a beauty accelerator these days.

Beauty accelerator programs are designed to speed up the development process of beauty and beauty tech startups. They’re credited for breathing fresh air into the industry and introducing new technologies, marketing concepts, e-commerce techniques, product trends, and skincare science.

Clean skincare pioneer and beauty startup “Drunk Elephant” is a prime example of this. The brand is renowned for revolutionizing the industry, and is also a success story of a beauty accelerator.

Many of the world’s most credible brands have launched their own beauty accelerator programs in a bid to find the next “beauty unicorn.” Among these giants is Beiersdorf with its NIVEA Beauty Accelerator. This program, shortened as NX, was launched earlier this year and focuses on providing selected startups with mentorship and innovation spaces to launch new ideas. Other notable companies with beauty accelerators include Sephora, LMVH, and L’Oréal.

What Is a Beauty Accelerator?

Since many beauty accelerators are launched by well-known beauty companies, the concept of a beauty accelerator is similar to other accelerator models launched by corporates. Some of the services they provide include business training, access to a co-working space, and introductions to mentors or investors.

Key Features of a Beauty Accelerator:

  • Mentorship with beauty industry experts

The length of accelerator programs can vary, with some lasting as long as two years. The average length is about six months.

The NIVEA Beauty Accelerator Program

The NIVEA Beauty Accelerator, built with the expertise of Beiersdorf, the German multinational personal-care company, is attractive to rising startups hoping to connect with an international network.

This global beauty accelerator was launched in 2019 and selects 5 startups to join every year.

“Focusing on the beauty industry does not mean that beauty accelerators only look into cosmetics manufacturers, but also beauty platforms, beauty tech devices, and indie brands just to name a few.”

– Jacek Brozda, Manager Ventures and New Business at Beiersdorf

The winners of NX’ first pitch contest

The NIVEA Beauty Accelerator aims to find and support new beauty brands, products, and trends for Beiersdorf consumers. It also hopes, the startups can pass on creative digital strategies and innovative marketing tools.

In June 2019, NX invited its beauty startups to move into a joint office space, located in Hongdae — one of the most vibrant and trendy areas in Seoul.

Each startup has its own exclusive office with access to a shared space for collaboration. Moreover, they can take advantage of a filming and photography studio, which is full of equipment provided by NX. On top of all this, there is a stage with a large display wall where beauty startups can hold meetups and events.

A key pillar of the program is the unique mentoring program where startups are connected with designated mentors from the Beiersdorf Headquarter in Hamburg, and global affiliates, including Beiersdorf Korea. The beauty startups also run joint projects with experts from different areas of the global Beiersdorf Group during the program. The aim is to establish a fruitful collaboration between Beiersdorf and startups. Furthermore, Beiersdorf is helping the startups to boost their global presence. In August this year, the NX team and the startups were attending the New York’s Indie Beauty Expo 2019.

NX at the Indie Beauty Expo 2019 in New York

“I am truly convinced that startup acceleration programs deliver their highest value when they focus on their core competencies. The NIVEA Accelerator is a prime example how beauty and beauty tech startups can be supported by a big corporate. NX will be able to increase consumer intimacy, identify trends at their very beginning and drive digitalization processes within Beiersdorf’s core business.”

— Thorsten Wittmütz, CEO at Next Commerce Accelerator

The NX Program offers:

  1. A customized 1-year mentoring program with internal and external mentors, including some of Beiersdorf’s top-level executives
Exclusive co-working space for NX startups

How NX is Different from Other Beauty Accelerators?

The NX Mentoring Program

Beiersdorf has a wealth of knowledge its startups can benefit from. One way that they share this knowledge is through the NX Mentoring Program, which is a main focus of the program, and includes both internal and external mentoring opportunities. In order to ensure an effective mentoring for every startup, NX only accepts the top 5 startups each year. By focusing on quality, not quantity, the NIVEA Beauty Accelerator is able to provide tailored mentoring modules.

Internal Mentoring

  • R&D, Packaging Development, & Regulatory — Guidance on improving product formulations and packaging, and information about the unique requirements of individual markets with regards to product characteristics, testing procedures, and regulations.

External Training

  • Pitch Training — In-person training on how to prepare the perfect pitch to a potential investor.
NX’ unique mentoring program

Selection Criteria: The 4P’s of Startup Selection by NX™

People — Who’s leading the startup?

The main consideration for any startup is its founding team. NX is looking for passionate teams with a strong vision and diverse skill set. The CEO’s track record, experience, education, skills, capabilities, and motivation are all taken into consideration, as well as each team member’s background and role, and, of course, the pitch presentation.

Performance — Did the startup already demonstrate success?

The product or service is another important factor for the selection. NX considers the product readiness, market fit, USP, existing sales channels, and predicted consumer base.

Potential — What is the potential together with Beiersdorf?

Since the NX program is part of Beiersdorf AG, collaborative potential is essential. NX evaluates different synergy criteria such as marketing, innovation, distribution, market size, and growth potential. They also consider patentability and entry barriers against other competitors.

Price — What is the valuation of the startup?

Finally, NX analyzes the valuation outlook of the beauty startup by looking into their current financial standing, price-earnings ratio, and past financing valuations.

Through these criteria, the team carefully reviews hundreds of applications to recruit the five most promising beauty startups.

The 4P’s of Startup Selection by NX™

Current NX Batch 1

The startups selected for the first NX program are as follows:

LYCL Inc. (unpa.Cosmetics) — One-stop e-commerce and beauty content platform with its own brand.

Reziena — An at-home anti-aging device using intense focused ultrasound.

Limese — First-mover platform that exports K-Beauty to India.

Glowhill — A viral indie brand that combines skincare with makeup.

Panda — Handmade and fresh cosmetics skincare brand.

Reasons to Join a Beauty Accelerator?

Joining an accelerator in any industry comes with a massive range of benefits. The first batch of NX startups is benefiting from Beiersdorf’s vast network of potential partners and mentors in the beauty sector. Their mentors are experts who understand the current beauty trends and marketing strategies in the digital age, and can provide advice worth more than money. Even though money might not be the main reason for joining a beauty accelerator, accelerator programs can help in overcoming financing hurdles that prevent brands from reaching their success potential.

By joining a beauty accelerator, startups can get access to knowledge and money. At the same time, large FMCG companies gain fresh knowledge and insights from the startups. Many large companies don’t have sufficient knowledge about disruptive industry influences, such as AI, big data, and new business models.

This combination of different knowledge sets and skills leads to valuable synergy for both parties. Joining a beauty accelerator is, therefore, an ideal opportunity to collaborate and create new ideas. When creative minds come together, they can tackle fast trend turnarounds with speed and innovation.

How to Join a Beauty Accelerator?

Research “Beauty Accelerator” or “Beauty Tech Accelerators” to find open applications through the programs’ websites. While some beauty accelerators require you to apply, others openly scout for promising startups. Application periods, processes, and criteria vary from each program, so research is essential.

More and more established beauty brands are in the process of starting their own beauty accelerator, even if they don’t currently have one setup. Therefore, it’s recommended to also reach out with speculative applications.

Why Join NX?

  1. Mentorship from some of the most renowned companies in the industry

How to Join NX?

The NX program is actively looking for beauty startups to join their second Batch next year.

If you are interested in having your startup considered for the NX program, please send your startup deck to info@nxnivea.com.

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