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In The News: new venture fund for beauty, virtual shopping tech, Cosmoprof North America turns 20

The BrainTrust Fund supports Black founders, Perfect Crop and Ubitous team up on virtual beauty showroom, and Cosmoprof celebrates 20 years in the US next month!

Photo by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash

💰💋Financing Founders

“The BrainTrust Fund exists so that as the massive, multi-trillion-dollar beauty and wellness marketplace grows, Black founders, supported by Black funders and allies, may participate in creating and selling what shoppers want,” explain Kendra Bracken-Ferguson and Lisa Stone, respectively Founder and Co-Founder of the Fund, in a joint statement to the press this week.

The new $25 million venture fund supports early stage companies with “repeatable revenues of $1+ million” and with at least one Black-identifying founder, who is also a member of the BrainTrust Founders Studio—a professional organization that supports Black founders in the beauty and wellness industries with community, education, and mentorship.

To date, the BrainTrust Fund is invested in BeautyStat, Thirteen Lune, Uoma Beauty, and most recently invested $1 million of equity in Listener Brands: “Kim Lewis grew Listener Brands into one of the top five Black-founded hair companies in the US because she's an extraordinary entrepreneur and, like most Americans, has curly, wavy or coily textured hair and she wanted better products,” say Bracken-Ferguson and Stone, in their remarks to the press.

Listener Brands is the parent company of both CurlMix and 4COnly; and Founder Kim Lewis is likely to add to that portfolio of brands with the help of the BrainTrust Fund and its concomitant membership organization. As she shares in this week’s press release announcing the formal launch of the Fund and its investment in Listener Brands, “The BrainTrust Fund team's knowledge of retail, marketing and CPG already have made them valuable investors. As we continue to grow and expand the family of Listener Brands, I'm excited to tap into the expertise of the BrainTrust Fund community.”

🛍More Perfect

At last week’s Via Technology event in Paris, Perfect Corp and renowned GPU virtualization technology and cloud streaming platform Ubitus introduced the beauty tech solution provider’s virtual try-on showroom.

Ubitous contributed cloud computing and streaming capabilities as well as AI model training and AR special showroom deployment to realize a shopping showroom experience that consumers can access on their mobile phone.

For Perfect Corp, it’s an important next step in interactive, digital beauty commerce. “We at Perfect Corp. are thrilled to partner with Ubitus in our endeavor to revolutionize the virtual shopping experience,” says Louis Chen, Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President of Perfect Corp in a press release highlighting the new technology partnership.

“Together,” he says, “we are committed to building a state-of-the-art virtual room that will bring beauty, skincare, and fashion to life in unprecedented ways.”

And Chen adds, “It's our vision to shape a virtual shopping paradise, transforming the way consumers interact with their favorite brands. With the help of the virtual retailer, we can expect an unparalleled immersive shopping journey like no other.”

🥂Anniversary Celebration

Next month in Las Vegas, Cosmoprof North America will host the 20th edition of this comprehensive tradeshow featuring both finished-goods brands and companies from across the entire beauty supply chain. The Cosmopack portion of the show hosts exhibitors specializing in raw materials and ingredients, private label and contract manufacturing, primary and secondary packaging, machinery, and other solutions. And this year, Cosmopack will be in the same hall as the Cosmoprof exhibitors, giving visitors easier access to both.

“The beauty business has never been bigger and better, and Cosmoprof North America stands at the heart of this dynamic industry,” proclaims the show’s latest media release, adding, “It is undeniably the place to be.” And rest assured, tens of thousands of beauty industry professionals will attend this year’s show July 11 – 13 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (including me! ☺ I’ll be moderating a Cosmopack panel discussion on The Unstoppable Supply Chain, Wednesday, July 12 at 2:45pm). Notably, 44% of attendees in 2022 had not visited Cosmoprof North America in the past—a stat that speaks to our industry’s growth and to value of in-person tradeshows.

This year’s Cosmoprof North America show highlights include a 20th Anniversary Soiree, Educational and Trends talks for both Cosmoprof and Cosmopack attendees, the CosmoTrends installation featuring industry research and forecasting by BeautyStreams, and more!

Cosmoprof North America is an international event and dedicated pavilions throughout the show floor make it easy for visitors to discover brands and suppliers from around the world:

“We are proud of our exclusive programs, such as Country Pavilions, which are supported by foreign governments (such as Italy and South Korea), who recognize the importance of creating exposure for their brands in the US," says Enrico Zannini, General Manager of BolognaFiere Cosmoprof, in his remarks to the media this week.

And Ed McNeill points to the opportunity retail buyers and consumer brands have to connect at Cosmoprof North America saying, “This year's edition boasts an unprecedented number of sponsored buyers, retailers, and distributors, both domestic and international, such as Bloomingdale's, Walmart, Nordstrom, Costco, Neiman Marcus, Macy's, The Detox Market, Belk, Thirteen Lune, and Sally Beauty.” McNeill is SVP of USA Beauty LLC, a joint-venture company between BolognaFiere Group, Informa Markets, and the Professional Beauty Association that organizes the show here in The States. 🌴☀️💋CLICK here to register for Cosmoprof North America


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