Watch out for Memebox.
Why? Because the beauty e-commerce site with offerings to China, the U.S. and Korea announced today that it has raised $29.4 million in funding from Formation 8, Goodwater Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, Y Combinator, Pejman Mar Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, Cowboy Ventures and Altos Ventures. With this investment, Memebox will use the funding to expand the business in China, build out the logistics system in the U.S. and advance the mobile apps with better UI and UX capability.
“What we are bringing into the beauty industry is technology,” said Hyungseok “Dino” Ha, chief executive officer of Memebox. “Right now 28 percent of our employees are engineers.”
Launched in 2012 and incubated by Y Combinator, Memebox sells more than 1,000 companies’ products on its site and introduced its own data-driven, private-label cosmetics brand in 2014. Also in 2014, the company came out with new iOS and Android mobile apps for the Korean, Chinese and U.S. markets. Since its unveiling, Memebox has experienced more than 400 percent growth, year-over-year, with one million app downloads.
“Having a mobile-first strategy is something very common in the tech industry, but just selling cosmetics on mobile was considered something that could never be done,” Ha noted. “We’re providing services that are better than off-line where you’re able to return your products and we’re analyzing the ingredients for you. Our core is bringing together data and technology.”
Memebox’s mobile strategy is second to none. In Korea, it generates 80 percent of sales from its mobile apps, and Ha predicts that it will be the same for the U.S. and China in about a year.
Meanwhile, the company plans to launch more than 10 additional apps in the near future. On the back end, the data will stay the same, but each app will have a different front end. For example, one will display cosmetics, where another will exhibit more editorial content.
“Last September, we launched our first private-label product and collaborated with a beauty vlogger. We sold 25,000 units in 40 minutes,” Ha said. “There is a very big gap between what brands are selling and what the online or mobile consumers are looking for.”