Startup Of The Week: Veleza
Please meet Eimantas Miksys, Head of Marketing at Veleza. Veleza is social technology platform connecting beauty product consumers, brands and retailer. Eimantas introduces the company and shares his success in LOGIN Startup Fair.
So what is Veleza? How it works, what problems does it solve as a product? What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product? What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
Veleza is founded on the belief that combining community with technology can help women look and feel their best. We’ve created an app-based community of beauty lovers who help people discover cosmetic products matching their personal needs. Community members can find makeup inspiration, beauty advice and the best product offers around. For brands, Veleza offers actionable market insights and integrations to boost online conversions that are not available elsewhere.
We came to the realization that many of our female friends and acquaintances have difficulties picking out beauty products, and that it is very rare that they would find the perfect products that match their skin type and needs. They ranted on how hard it is to find the correct products, and how disappointing it is if a beloved item got discontinued and is no longer available. And that is just the tip of the iceberg, as sometimes, when they did try out a product that wasn’t a fit for their skin type, the consequences were not just wasted money, but also redness, dryness and other unpleasantries.
We believe that women shouldn’t have to play the guessing game, and waste their time and money on trial and error. A bit of research was an eye opener as the majority of the 20–50 year old female consumers we’ve surveyed confirmed that picking a suitable beauty product can be daunting at times and they’d love to get help. Despite all of this, so far no one has solved this problem yet, and that is exactly what we aim to do with Veleza.
We believe that choosing cosmetics should be a pleasant experience, therefore we focus on what is good for you, whereas other platforms usually tell you what is bad for you. We are making it easier for women to find the right products, in less time.
When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?
We launched in Spring 2015 and the main challenge at the beginning was bringing the first users to the platform. Veleza is a social platform where users post, share, follow each other and so on, so it was difficult to make them stay when they were the first ones there. Since then, we have grown a lot and our users create lots of content and are very engaged.
Our source for all the data insights is a mobile community of more than 40,000 women in the United Kingdom. We currently focus on 14-55 women from the UK but as we grow we attract the attention of beauty brands that are interested in working with us, within the UK and outside. We are targeting mass market skincare, makeup, haircare brands and retailers who sell their products in the online and offline stores. We are launching in Germany very soon and brands from the other countries such as France, Canada, Russia and United States have expressed interest also.
What are the main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
Currently, our biggest challenge is trying to figure out how big corporations work. We need to understand what they need the most in order to sell to them. We are overcoming this by listening to them and by trying to communicate to as many people, from different brands and countries, as possible.
How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
We received funding from angel investors two years ago. We are currently raising a seed round of 1M EUR and already have hard commitments for 160k EUR.
Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
Veleza is run by serial entrepreneurs with multiple exits in the past, including our CEO Martynas Nikolajevas who most recently played an important role in making Treatwell a success in beauty services space. Treatwell’s exit was one of the biggest in Europe in 2015. Co-founder & Head of Product Aurelija Pavilionyte was product manager at Eskimi, largest social network in Africa. We also have 2 backend developers, product designer and marketing manager.
Besides Martynas & Aurelija, Vytautas Povilaitis and Eimantas Miksys are among the founders, too. Vytautas is the Lead Mobile Developer and Eimantas is the Head of Marketing.
How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?
We enjoy a 20% monthly grow rate in active users and we have over 40 thousand app members. We have also collected over half a million product survey answers, which are very valuable to beauty brands. We have a major pilot project launching soon in Germany and we are looking forward to more of the world’s leading beauty brands to join us as customers.
Congratulations with 1st place at LOGIN Startup Fair Pitch Battle! In your opinion, what were the success factors that helped you to win?
Our innovation, experienced team & business model were definitely the key factors here. We are carving out new spaces in an industry that has amazing potential, but is still undisrupted. We believe in our product, and as we can see, others believe in us too.
Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
Taking over the world, quite literally. We are on a mission to connect beauty consumers, brands and retailers. That said, we will expand the app’s capabilities and make it a go-to beauty app for women worldwide.
In the future we will allow brands or retailers store visitors to directly ask questions about the beauty products and get answers directly from our community in real time. We’ll also provide the data to make conversations on chatbots really personal.
Thank you for the answers!