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The Estée Lauder Companies’ New Incubation Ventures and Nykaa Announce Finalists for Their BEAUTY&YOU Awards

The finalists will be invited to pitch their business plans on November 2 to an esteemed jury including Bollywood actor and beauty entrepreneur Katrina Kaif and fashion designer Gaurav Gupta.
A person stares out wearing bright blue drapery with a pink blossom obstructing their vision.
The finalists of the competition have been divided into four categories: Imagine, Grow, Create and Breakthrough. (Dolly Devi)
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The Estée Lauder Companies’ New Incubation Ventures team (NIV) is taking the opportunity to elevate emerging companies into the expanding beauty and personal care space in India — a market expected to grow from $15.8 billion in retail value sales in 2022 to $23.7 billion by 2027, reflecting an increase of 51 percent, according to Euromonitor International. NIV is the strategic early-stage investment and incubation arm for The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), which aims to build “an actionable pipeline of diversified brands and new engines of growth for the ELC portfolio,” according to the group.

This month, it announced the finalists of its BEAUTY&YOU Awards, in partnership with e-commerce company Nykaa. By investing in these nascent brands, it hopes to make an impact on the industry’s future while accommodating the evolving needs of consumers. NIV also recently helped launch a report on the changing landscape and opportunities within the Indian beauty market.

NIV first introduced the awards in 2022, “to discover, spotlight and propel the next generation of Indian beauty brands.” The programme invited entrepreneurs in the space, as well as creatives considered to be pushing the boundaries of the beauty space to take part in the competition for a prize of $500,000, alongside the opportunity to be mentored by some of the industry’s leading professionals.

Contestants were invited to apply in one of the following categories: Imagine, Grow, Breakthrough and Create, reflecting ELC’s NIV and Nykaa’s joint efforts to inject energy into all commercial aspects of an already lively market. Indeed, Shana Randhava, senior vice president of NIV, said that the finalists reflect “all aspects of the beauty ecosystem – from innovative founders and R&D experts to creative photographers, filmmakers and experiential artists.”

Meanwhile, Anchit Nayar, executive director and CEO of beauty at Nykaa, said that it is “the next generation of entrepreneurs and homegrown brands that will fuel innovation and category growth for years to come.”

This year, the competition attracted over 600 entries from across more than 150 cities, with 68 percent of applicants being female founders and 62 percent including a sustainability mission statement in their pitch. Across all categories, 75 percent of applications covered skincare and 14 percent in makeup, while the remaining fall under the umbrellas of body, haircare, fragrance, home fragrance and men’s cosmetics.

This year, the competition attracted over 600 entries from more than 150 cities, with 68 percent of applicants being female founders and 62 percent including a sustainability mission statement in their pitch.

Brand, product and investment experts from ELC and Nykaa reviewed all applications and created a shortlist of the most promising brands among the pool. ELC says of the finalists that they “represent a variety of concepts ranging from breakthrough product innovation to wellness-led concepts and new experiential storytelling.”

The winners will be announced at the BEAUTY&YOU Awards event on November 2, which will also play host to an exhibition entitled “1000 Years Past, 100 Years Future: The Power of Indian Beauty”.

The finalists will be requested to present their brand’s pitch to the BEAUTY&YOU jury, which includes entrepreneurs and specialists from across the industry, such as actor and founder of Kay Beauty, Katrina Kaif, actor Bhumi Pednekar, stylist, creative director and founder of Style Cell, Anaita Shroff Adajania, and fashion designer Gaurav Gupta, among others. The winners will then be announced later that evening at the awards ceremony.

Beginning on October 25 until November 1, the general public and beauty enthusiasts alike will be invited to vote on the competition entries to help determine the winner on the BEAUTY&YOU Awards website. BoF is pleased to announce the finalists for each category below.

A model with floating red drapery in front of a green backdrop covers her shoulders.

Imagine

The “Imagine” category is catered to applicants proposing pre-market concepts. The finalists chosen are those considered to have the most in-depth and astute consumer insights, whose unique concept solves a particular problem within the space. ELC and Nykaa were particularly interested in the founders’ backgrounds and how they applied this experience to their concept.

The finalists are: Ādikriyā by Aditi Mundra & Riya Ranka, Amanaura by Aman Dahele, Baboski by Hetali Kamdar, Dr. Sonia MD by Dr. Sonia Badreshia and Havah by Giti Datt.

Grow

“Grow” is for those who applied with in-market concepts. These applicants have businesses with focused KPIs around performance, distribution, consumer adoption and brand execution. There is also a focus on product innovation within this category.

The finalists are: Beautywise by Anousha Chauhan and Shreyansh Chauhan, Dearist by Meher Jadwani, Flossy Cosmetics by Sanshi Aggarwal, Call of the Valley by Jean-Christophe Bonnafous, Glutaweis Cosmetics by Khayl Lalani and Karim Lalani, Megaglow by Shenai Bridglall, Skin Q by Dr Chytra Anand and Meera Iyer, and Vēr वेर by Sanchaya Soundhar.

Create

For the “Create” category, the priority was storytelling. The finalists chosen were all considered to have a clear mission and vision for experiential beauty, which was presented according to their individual aesthetic. Unlike the other categories, this was open to founders and creatives alike.

The finalists are: Diya Ahuja, Nishanth Radhakrishnan, Shivani Joshi, James Lalthanzuala, Doyel Joshi and Neil Balser, Priya Minhas, Henry DaCosta, Sachin Gogna and Furmaan Ahmed.

Breakthrough

The “Breakthrough” category highlighted product innovation. The finalists are founders considered to have a unique product or product offering that could be an active player in the beauty market.

The finalists are: Adapté by Surabhi Nimkar, Roshni Jaura and Vedant Hood, Biome Laboratories by Rhea Goenka, C16 Biosciences by Shara Ticku, Jasmine Concrete Exports Private Limited by Raja Palaniswamy, Keva Fragrances Flavours & Aroma Ingredients by Kedar Vaze and Dr. Avani Mainkar, Sohrai by Khanak Gupta and Rupesh Pawar, and Waleria Healthtech Pvt Ltd by Komal Baldwa.

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