Beauty Brand “KIKI World” Raises $7M from a16z crypto and The Estée Lauder Companies’ NIV

KIKI World, a Los Angeles-based company that sells beauty products such as temporary hair paint and a liquid makeup pen, recently raised $7 million in funding from investors including New Incubation Ventures (NIV), the investment arm of Estee Lauder Inc.

According to the press release, other investors in KIKI include consumer-tech funds Double Down and 2Punks Capital, as well as Advancit. Digital communities RedDao and OrangeDao, along with digital creator GMoney, have also invested. The investment from a16z crypto follows KIKI’s participation in its spring 2023 Crypto Startup Accelerator program, while NIV invested in November 2022 during KIKI’s concept stages before launch.

Courtesy of KIKI World

New retail format of “Web 3.0 x Community

KIKI World is a beauty community commerce company launched in 2023. The platform has an online community of over 12,000 members who “co-create” the beauty products they want through a blockchain platform.

The platform is a new way for consumers to connect with brands beyond the traditional web2channel and social media. KIKI World consumers can co-develop products, receive rewards for engagement, participate in product innovation, and connect with other fans.

Since May 2023, KIKI World has launched five innovative physical product collections, including the Skin Development Kit, a skincare line that allows customers to vote on key ingredients and launch orders, and Pretty Nail Graffiti, an NFC tag-enabled nail pen that lets consumers choose their next color. KIKI’s goal is to share the rewards with consumers as products and experiences are created by the communities that use the platform in this way.

Beauty products co-created by community members and brands/ Courtesy of KIKI World

Jana Bobosikova, Brendon Garner, and Ricky Chan, KIKI’s Co-Founders, said: “Brand websites are valuable for not only selling but also educating, and KIKI’s innovative platform strategically takes capabilities a step further to leverage community and drive creativity as trends rapidly emerge. KIKI sees the internet and the communities it connects as the engine that creates, not merely consumes, the brands and products that will define the next generation, and is building tools to make this elevated customer experience a reality.”

“Consumers are at the heart of what we do at The Estée Lauder Companies,” commented Shana Randhava, Senior Vice President, NIV, The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC). “That’s why we’re excited by the KIKI team’s vision of finding new ways to put the customer first. KIKI brand with their custom-built platform is leveraging the forefront of web3 tech to rethink the future of how consumers can co-create with brands and engage in new and relevant ways. This exploration of a new consumer-centric model provides ELC with a valuable window into the future of beauty.”

Community Commerce on the Rise in New York City

Meanwhile, “co-creation,” which involves customers in the product development phase more tangibly and substantively than traditional user testing, such as Kiki World, is a growing trend among brands seeking to connect with consumers.

BeautyStat, a New York-based skincare brand, engages top fans on social media in discussions about product development. Bubble Skincare, also based in New York, runs a product testing program with dozens of brand ambassadors.

KIKI World’s Future Plans After Successful Fundraising

Starting in April 2024, KIKI World will be releasing new platform tools and applications. These tools will not only showcase KIKI’s own product lines but also facilitate engaging campaigns by connecting creators, brands, and fans through a community.

From blockchain-powered profiles and collectibles that empower peer-to-peer connections and dynamic rewards, to robust discovery engines and community management tools designed to reward fans first, and platform API’s that enable the creation of incentive-driven engagement campaigns and conversion-focused rewards, KIKI World will open up all possibilities.

With this investment, the company is expected to create a fundamentally new corporate form across its on-chain, online, and real-world ecosystems, and to leap forward as a user-centric, data ownership, reward participation, innovation company for the next generation of creators and customers.

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