One of Y Combinator’s hottest startups is a Korean beauty brand that just raised another $60 million


Memebox does more than $100 million in annual sales.

There are two lines of thinking when it comes to raising venture capital: raise money when you need it vs. raise when you can.

A beauty product startup called Memebox is falling into the latter camp.

The four-year-old startup, which sells thousands of brands of Korean beauty products through its app and websites, has raised $60 million just a few months after announcing an initial $66 million Series C investment. The company has now raised $160 million in total.

In an interview, CEO Hyungseok Dino Ha said his company did not plan to raise an extension to its initial round, but had much more investor interest than expected. Some of the money would go toward building out a database of beauty product ingredients that would be exposed to both customers as well as beauty brands that sell through Memebox. Other funds would be used to continue aggressive hiring of product and engineering employees to work on its mobile app.

Founded in 2012, Memebox sells moderately-priced makeup and skincare items from thousands of brands with a focus on K-Beauty — or a style of product made popular in Korea, but now on trend elsewhere around the world.

The company, which graduated in 2014 from the Y Combinator startup incubator, also sells products under four in-house brands it created itself. With a large customer base in Korea and China where mobile shopping is super popular, Memebox does 88 percent of sales through its mobile app and website. The company also operates six brick-and-mortar stores in Asia.

Memebox has 550 employees and more than $100 million in annual sales, but is unprofitable. Ha said the current plan is to target profitability in 2018.

In the meantime, Memebox is making a big push in the U.S., with Ha re-locating from Asia to lead the company from a San Francisco headquarters. Just 20 percent of employees are in the U.S. today and just 15 percent of sales, but those ratios are expected to shift.

“We see the biggest opportunity in the world here, even more so than China,” he said.

The company’s latest round of funding came from a mix of new and existing investors including Goodwater Capital, Altos Ventures, Cowboy Ventures and Mousse Partners.

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