Retail

Korean Beauty Startup Memebox Raises $60M

Korean online cosmetics and skincare startup Memebox recently announced it has raised an additional $60 million in funding only months after announcing a $66 million Series C. All told, Memebox has raised about $160 million in total funding from new and existing investors Goodwater Capital, Altos Ventures, Cowboy Ventures and Mousse Partners.

The most recent extended round of funding wasn’t exactly planned — rather, Memebox CEO Hyungseok Dino Ha was quoted in an interview as saying the cosmetics and skincare company had much more investor interest than anticipated.

Founded in 2012, Memebox only has six physical locations in Asia. The beauty company does nearly 90 percent of its sales through its mobile app and website, with a large digital consumer base in South Korea and China. As of now, Memebox is home to some 550 employees and brings in more than $100 million in annual sales, though the company is still unprofitable at the moment. Ha was quoted as saying that Memebox will target profitability in 2018.

In the meantime, Memebox’s funding will reportedly go toward augmenting its database of beauty product ingredients, increasing the number of brands Memebox will sell, as well as toward hiring product and engineering employees to work on the company’s mobile app.

Additionally, Memebox will turn its focus on expanding its position in the U.S. market, which currently accounts for some 15 percent of Memebox’s total sales.

With a millennial market spending nearly $13 billion annually on cosmetics in the U.S., there’s a huge opportunity for further growth — especially if Memebox can take on social media. Experts say the big business with millennial women is largely thanks to social media, digital influencers and certain brands that have come into the market who focused on the demographic.

The millennial cosmetics market segment is also most likely to buy online and to participate in direct-to-consumer trends, such as popular sample boxes à la Birchbox.

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