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KKR Takes Minority Stake in SkinSpirit

The Seattle, Washington-based beauty services provider will use the infusion to expand its footprint.

SkinSpirit, the medical beauty services provider, has gained a new investor.

Private equity giant KKR has taken a minority stake in the company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though a joint statement from both parties described the investment as “notable.” GreyLion, the firm that took a stake in SkinSpirit in 2018, will remain a minority owner in the business.

SkinSpirit was founded in 2003 and has taken a measured approach to expansion, one that will be bolstered by the infusion from KKR.

“We will have opened nine or 10 locations in 2022, and we plan to stay on that pace,” said Lynn Heublein, the company’s cofounder and chief executive officer. “The investment will allow us to continue at that pace and maintain our quality, but also gives us the ability to make sure we’re training people appropriately, that we’re bringing in new products and services, and that we can do that with confidence even if it’s a choppy environment economically for the next year or two.”

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Heublein credited that emphasis on quality of experience as a key differentiator, in addition to its service offering. “We’re a little different than a company like Ideal Image or Lasers Away who focus first and foremost on laser hair removal or body sculpting,” she said. “We really focus on facial aesthetics and rejuvenation. We are the largest provider of Botox and filler in the country because that’s our roots, and that’s where we started.”

Though the pandemic hampered growth in 2020, Heublein said interest reached a fever pitch last year, from both consumers and investors alike.

“Aesthetics really benefited after the dust settled in 2021, and the aesthetics category had one of the biggest growth years on the record in 2021,” she said. “We had been operating the business for 19 years, and I’d never seen as much investor interest in the category as there is right now. Because it’s very fragmented, there is opportunity for someone to emerge as the provider of choice for people who are looking for a high level of expertise and artistry from their medical aesthetics provider.”

And med-spa types have been raising money to compete: medical spa marketplace Upkeep closed a seed round earlier this week to the tune of $2 million; last year, Ever/Body closed a $38 million series B.

SkinSpirit’s current service offerings span injectable neuromodulators and dermal fillers, as well as a variety of microneedling techniques, lasers and body treatments.

“To get the most natural results, you have to have really healthy skin, you can’t just get injections,” Heublein said. “We try to focus on a full spectrum of services necessary for the best-looking skin.”

On KKR’s end, SkinSpirit touches a few different areas of interest. “From a health care standpoint, a lot of what we do is partner with our other teams — we partner with retail and consumer, we partner with tech,” said Ali Satvat, partner at KKR and global head of KKR health care strategic growth. “There’s a health aspect to what [SkinSpirit does], and a retail and consumer aspect to what they do. We get to bring the best of the learnings from the firm.”

The medical aesthetics space, Satvat said, has been a priority for KKR, only boosted by the channel’s performance. “The view is it’s a space that should grow, it’s a space we’ve been following the growth of. One of the drivers is the increasing economic power of women, and increasing spend of beauty and wellness.…When you look at market leadership in the space on the medical aesthetics side, you narrow it down very quickly to SkinSpirit.”