SVBeautytech, a first-of-its kind acceleration program in Silicon Valley, independent of major brands and players of the industry, has helped 10 startups focused on beauty, fashion, health and well-being to accelerate their development and growth this summer. We already knew that the beauty industry was changing and digitalizing itself around the topic of personalization to better meet the personal needs and expectations of every woman. It is a promise renewed by French Dr. Elsa Jungman, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based ELSI Skin Health, that offers vegan and cruelty free products made with 10 or less ingredients and without harmful chemicals or preservatives and fragrances (while adults in the United States daily apply 126 unique ingredients to their skin, even if half of them describe it as sensitive). Same motto for Susan Yoomin Im, founder and CEO of Fifteen Degrees (a startup committed to developing innovative cosmetic formulas), who wants the average woman to stop using up to 16 beauty products a day. Both of them have their chances, on a global skincare market valued at what they estimate is between $130 and $193 billion. Personalization means on-demand services too, and in California, the competition is fierce between the online marketplaces: La Mienne was launched by Patricia Ivancich Dassios, shortly after StyleBee and beGlammed, and her founder wants to get her share on the US salon and spa services market valued at $58B a year. The beauty industry also needs to focus on minorities, as Phelena Jean, founder and CEO of Madam Indigo, explained it when she pitched her company in front on investors yesterday. Black women spend $15 billion globally on hair extensions, and $7 billion in the overseas market. Her business is about selling luxurious multi-textured hair extensions and giving women of color better access to basic hair care products and services to empower them. Augmented and virtual reality are still trendy, and artificial intelligence is becoming smarter: Jiwon Hong, CEO of Sunnyvale-based AI startup YesPlz!, wants to improve online fashion search with machine learning, by browsing more relevant clothes through an algorithm focused on better fit and silhouette recognition of the user. Fashion is not done reinventing itself.
By Marie-Eléonore Noiré