Nykaa launches beauty incubator with Rs 4 Cr pool, may acquire stake in some brands

The incubator has been launched with a prize pool of Rs 4 crore in partnership with the American beauty brand Estee Lauder.
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Beauty and personal care marketplace Nykaa launched an incubator in partnership with Estee Lauder, an American beauty brand that entered India over a decade ago. Along with Nykaa, the company has accumulated a prize pool of Rs 4 crore to be distributed among the chosen companies.

The move comes at a time when Nykaa has been expanding its product portfolio by acquiring beauty and personal care firms, in addition to launching new international brands. The Ordinary, a US-based pharmacy skincare brand, was one of the most recent launches.

"We are giving a grant from the prize pool to beauty and personal care companies. There is no exchange of equity or term sheet, and no talks around valuation. Think of this as like scholarship money to develop one's company," Anchit Nayar, CEO of Beauty and Ecommerce at Nykaa, said at an event on Wednesday.

The incubator would have a judging panel, which would include Hindi film actress Katrina Kaif, designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, stylist Anaita Shroff Adajania, US-based beauty brand Live Tinted's founder Deepica Mutyala, and Nykaa's Anchit, among others. Some of the panel members would also act as mentors to the brands, which end up winning the grant money.

Nykaa, which was founded in 2012 by former investment banker Falguni Nayar, is a beauty and personal care marketplace. The firm also has a fashion and a men's grooming vertical. Apart from selling international and domestic brands, through its website and physical stores, the firm has also been acquiring brands. In October 2021, the beauty vertical acquired Kolkata-based Dot and Key while the fashion vertical acquired Pipa Bella, a jewellery brand in April last year.

The beauty giant also plans on scooping up a few brands from its incubator.

“We do see a potential to build a house of brands,” Anchit said at the event. On the incubator programme, he said “it will be a grant that will be pure capital with no equity taken by us.”

(Updated to replace quote on the house of brands strategy, and incorporate a clarification from the company that it will not take equity in brands selected for its incubation programme.)

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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