In recent years, personal care incumbents and independent companies have launched accelerators, incubators, and other programs focused on developing new beauty brands.
Since 2015, we’ve seen a domino effect of leading global food giants from Tyson Foods to Land O’Lakes launching venture funds and incubator programs to attract early-stage startups.
Now, we’re seeing a similar phenomenon in the beauty industry.
Corporates are facing more competition than ever, and with up-and-coming beauty brands gaining market share, incumbents are under pressure to develop compelling brands that can compete with a seemingly endless crop of startups offering haircare, skincare, makeup, and more.
Often, it can be cheaper for personal care incumbents to incubate or accelerate new companies (which could serve as potential partners or acquisitions down the line) instead of developing in-house brands.
Below we highlight notable beauty accelerators and incubators established by corporates that are displacing traditional R&D in cosmetics. These programs tend to emphasize community building, mentorship, and incubation rather than simply providing funding to startups.
Sephora Accelerate invests in inclusive beauty
Sephora Accelerate launched its first cohort in 2016 to help empower female beauty entrepreneurs, who are still largely underrepresented in the industry.
Sephora offers nominal funding for 8 to 10 selected startups (that must be invited to apply in the first place), which mostly covers travel expenses. The chosen companies participate in a week-long beauty bootcamp featuring workshops, events, and mentorship, culminating in a final Demo Day.