Catherine Lee (Left), Jade Oyateru (Middle) and Sneha Mehta (Right)
Thanks to a growing young and beauty-conscious population, increasing spending on beauty, and the shift to urbanization, the beauty and personal care market in Africa is growing steadily. Local brands providing tailored beauty needs have continued to emerge in the market and one of them is Uncover Skincare, a skincare brand based in Kenya looking to revolutionize the beauty sector via data-led manufacturing.
The skincare startup has received a $1 million seed investment and plans on scaling its operations in Kenya and fueling its expansion plans to Nigeria in January. The round saw the participation of investors like FirstCheck Africa, Future Africa, Samata Capital, IgniteXL. The round also saw the participation of angel investors like ex-SokoWatch COO Kwenhui Tawah, ex-L’Oreal executive, and current WPP Scangroup CEO Patricia Ithau. Following the latest funding, the total funding raised by Uncover Skincare since it launched is $1.225 million.
The new round comes after the startup introduced a new range of products in the market which is sold through its online platform, on marketplaces, and partner stores. It plans to launch more next year. “We are using the funding to launch more products, go into additional markets, and also double down on our tech and data to effectively produce, reach and market to our audience,” Uncover co-founder and CEO, Sneha Mehta said.
Uncover Skincare was founded in 2020 by CEO Sneha Mehta, COO Jade Oyateru, and Catherine Lee (the company’s advisor). The idea was to build a data-driven, digital-first, health and wellness brand for African women. The company’s CEO has more than ten years’ worth of experience helping business scale across Africa, while its chief operating officer is a nutritionist and an expert on consumer goods. Catherine Lee is an economist turned filmmaker.
The company uses African botanicals and outsources its manufacturing to Korean original design manufacturers. “Our production happens in Korea (one of the world’s biggest beauty markets), where we are leveraging the best technology, labs, and scientists in the world who understand stability testing, safe ingredients, and formulations. We are able to deliver because women in our community have graciously provided information and tried our products, to help us formulate specifically for this market,” the CEO said.
Uncover Skincare also provides virtual consultations via an in-house esthetician, skin care content aimed at increasing its reach, and a newly introduced skincare quiz for personalized recommendations. “I have experienced the lack of safety in products firsthand, the lack of information, and the feeling of being stuck. This is part of the reason why we are building these tools for people to get personalized information, and advice including diet tips,” the CEO explained.
The CEO claims that revenue has grown twenty times thanks to increasing demand for its products and the community that it is building. “We have had incredible traction since, and our community has grown from zero to about 60,000 women in Kenya in two years… we have built brand awareness, loyalty, and our values of education and knowledge and empowerment have been established at the market,” the CEO said.
Nigeria is the next stop for the startup where it hopes to continue to build and strengthen its community.