[Reporter Lee Kwang-soo of Daily] “10 years. I will do my business in India after 10yrs. ” Seung-Wan Yu, CEO of Vely Monkeys (39), joined Samsung Electronics in 2010 and made this promise with himself. Yu, who had the opportunity to choose between Brazil and India market, chose India. “I think it would be good to do business in India after 10 years.” He said.
For about five years, he worked as Southwest Asia PM, a mobile division that sells Samsung mobiles and takes PM role for smartphones to India. As he frequently traveled to various parts of India, he gained expertise in the region. “I visited over 50+cities, including Tier 5 cities, to sell mobile phones.” He said.
After leaving Samsung Electronics, he worked at Balance Hero, a fintech startup that provides recharge and loan service with 60+ million downloads as Deputy Chief of India, for 2.5 yrs. In 2019, it was 10th year from the day he started working for the Indian market and he founded Vely Monkeys. Maccaron, the First beauty e-Commerce launched in July that introduces Korean cosmetics in India and sells them online while making you shine.
The world’s second-largest country with a population of 1.3 billion. The annual growth rate of 9.1%. Beauty market scale is USD 16 billion and the e-commerce channel is USD 0.64 billion which is 4% of the Market share. The average growth rate of beauty e-commerce from 2018 to 2022 is 54%. The forecast of Yu, who expected India will be good for business in the near future, fell just 10 years ago. In fact, Vely Monkeys’ Maccaron continues to grow more than 40% each month.
Going to K drama … Indians who fell in love with K-Beauty
“Flipkart (Indian e-commerce company) said that Indians are buying Korean cosmetics like never before,” is the title of an article by Indian local journalist QuartzIndia in July last year.
Following Korean food, movies, and dramas, we covered the reasons why cosmetics became popular in India. Actual Hallyu and Korean Beauty are best friends. It is because of the movement to apply Korean cosmetics and beauty products while wanting to have a look similar to Korean celebrities across the screen. So did China and the United States. In India, as the 4th generation, mobile communication (4G) Long Term Evolution (LTE) service began in earnest in 2017, the population consuming K-pop and K-drama on mobile has been rapidly increasing.
“The reason Indians like beauty products in Korea is because these products are A value for money products and have good functionality such as clean skin expression,” said Seung-wan Yu. “Especially, Indian air quality isn’t good, so Indian people have a lot of concerns about skin problems especially Acne.
The product that recorded the most sales in Maccaron is the ‘COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch,’ a troubled skin improvement product. He explains that Indians with many skin problems due to poor air quality, purchase a lot regardless of their age and gender. Indian demand for white skin is well known. In fact, ‘Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop’, a functional cosmetic that has the effect of brightening the skin, is recording the second-highest sales.
40% monthly average rapid growth… All Korean employees work in India
Vely Monkeys is based in India. As a population of 1.3 billion people, various races, languages, and cultures coexist, it is necessary to have various local experiences, and to respond to rapidly changing trends in the field. CEO Seung-wan Yu said, “It is composed of 6 Koreans and 8 Indians.” “Indians are all marketers, and Koreans are experts who have lived in India for many years and have experienced various businesses.”
In addition to cosmetics sales, it is also expanding its business area. In India, the agency also deals with sanitation permits (CDSCO), which is a license to import cosmetics. Yu said, “We have also received collaboration proposals from one of the top Korean research companies for skin and sales data of Indians accumulated by Vely Monkeys,” and said, “We are also receiving lots of marketing requests from cosmetics brands.”
Covid-19 in India, which is undergoing a proliferation trend, also gave Vely Monkeys a chance. Some local companies were smuggling and selling Korean brands because the Indian border was blocked with Covid-19, making smuggling impossible. “The foreign brands must have a CDSCO certificate so that only the official importers can import and sell products in India,” said Yu. “Because of Covid-19, more people try to purchase cosmetic products online and it has been fruitful for Vely Monkeys.”
Vely Monkeys is an early startup company that has been less than a year. In fact, it has only been six months since the operations began. But Maccaron is growing at an average rate of over 40% per month. It is expected that the first milestone of 6 Crore GMV will be achieved in the coming July.
Raising Series A investment in the second half of this year… “meet BEP at the beginning of 2021”
Vely Monkeys is planning to attract Series A investment in the second half of this year. Earlier, he received two seed investments from Mashup Angels and Schmidt. CEO Seung-wan Yuo said, “There are 50 plus beauty brands of Korean cosmetics distributed in India, which is absolutely small.”
Video contents are fit for the marketing of cosmetics brands. “We have the capability to achieve 1000% of the advertising return rate (ROAS) using video content through SNS channels without global top brands like Innisfree and Laneige,” said Yu.
It plans to achieve a break-even point (BEP) early next year. He said, “A short-term goal is to achieve 6 cr. GMV and a break-even point at the beginning of next year. Additionally, Yu added, “I want to be the first Korean startup to become a unicorn in India.”
CEO Seung-wan Yoo
△ Born in 1981
△ 2002 ~ 2010 Seoul National University
△ 2010 ~ 2015 Samsung Electronics Mobile Division, Southwest Asia PM
△ 2016 Action Power CEO
△ 2016 ~ 2019 Balance Hero India Deputy Chief Executive Officer
△ 2019 ~ Vely Monkeys CEO
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