S. Korea and French company L'Oreal kick-start incubation program for 'beauty tech' startups

By Park Sae-jin Posted : September 4, 2023, 16:30 Updated : September 4, 2023, 16:32
Courtesy of LOreal
[Courtesy of L'Oreal]

SEOUL --  South Korea and French personal care company L'Oreal have kick-started an incubation program for South Korean startups that specialize in "beauty tech" products. The project is part of a partnership between South Korea's startup industry and the French beauty product company that was forged in June 2023.
Beauty tech refers to skin care technology that incorporates artificial intelligence-based devices and solutions that analyze and provide appropriate care accordingly to different skin types. According to Statista, a global market research firm, the global beauty tech market is estimated to reach about $8.9 billion by 2026.
The Ministry of SMEs and Startups signed a cooperation agreement with the French personal care company at a technology exhibition held in France on June 15. The ministry and L'Oreal promised to seek and incubate South Korean beauty tech companies with huge potential.
Helped by Hallyu (Korean Cultural Wave), the popularity of South Korean cosmetics products has shot up across the globe. South Korean cosmetics products attracted young global consumers who are familiar with K-pop and K-drama to reach an export volume of $9.2 billion in 2021, up 21.8 percent on-year. In 2018, L'Oreal fully acquired Stylenanda, a South Korean cosmetics and fashion brand, to nurture the brand into a globally-known brand using L'Oreal's marketing network and platforms.
The startup ministry said on September 3 that it will start providing support for startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a bid to establish a stepping stone that would provide opportunities for the companies to enter the global market. The support program is benchmarked after L'Oreal's startup incubation program.
According to the startup ministry, companies will participate in projects such as the development of sunscreen products, mixed-reality (MR) skin-care devices, and skin-enhancing drug carrier materials. Startups with outstanding performances will be selected into the program that would provide financial and administrative support. 
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