Venture capital has taken a turn for the glamorous as investors funnel more venture dollars than ever into beauty products and services. In the past year and a half, beauty startups raked in nearly half a billion in 62 venture rounds.

Boston-based MiniLuxe just raised $23 million from Cue Ball Management among others to fund its high-tech beauty salon chain, following beauty brand Julep and discovery commerce platform Birchbox as the third most-funded beauty startup to date.

The recent glamor-tech movement is international, with nearly a third of startups backed this year based in Asia and a handful out of Europe and South America as well.

But for once, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are behind the trend. Only four venture rounds for beauty-related startups were seen out of the Bay Area this year, while New York, home of most-funded beauty startup Birchbox, recorded 8 primarily early-stage rounds.

a16z, Maveron, and Upfront Ventures appear to be more concerned with vanity than most – they’ve all invested multiple times in the beauty industry.

And so have a handful of high profile celebrities. In the past year alone, beauty startups have attracted the attention of Will Smith, Jay-Z, fashion stylist Rachel Zoe, rapper Nas’s Queensbridge Venture Partners, and Steve Nash’s Consigliere Brand Capital.

Check out CrunchBase Graph Insights and the CrunchBase Investor Leaderboard to discover some of your own connections.

Photo via Flickr user Melanie Holtsman

  • Originally published October 7, 2014, updated April 26, 2023