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Cosmetics startup Birdview readies for 2022 listing

The operator of Korea's No. 1 beauty data platform Hwahae is expected to see strong demand from the IPO market

By Sep 23, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Cosmetics startup Birdview readies for 2022 listing

South Korea-based Birdview, the operator of leading cosmetics platform Hwahae, is aiming to make a trading debut as early as the first half of next year, according to the investment banking industry on Sept. 23.

Birdview has hired Daishin Securities as its IPO manager.

Industry watchers expect Birdview to draw much attention from investors in the initial public offering market given that platform businesses have emerged as an attractive segment as of recent. For example, digital platform developer Plateer; referral-based recruiting platform Wantedlab; and K-beauty e-commerce platform Silicon2 have all seen high demands in public subscriptions.

Founded in 2013, Birdview operates the country’s No. 1 cosmetics platform Hwahae which offers an extensive database for all types of beauty products. Users can look up specific products and see if the product ingredients are suitable for their skin types. They can also check reviews uploaded by other users.

The platform offers ingredient analysis for around 220,000 beauty products with around 6.27 million user reviews. Thanks to its robust data pool, Hwahae has become extremely popular among women in their twenty- and thirtysomethings, driving the app to secure over 10 million downloads in just seven years.

Birdview has been successful with building up a profitable revenue model while maintaining a sound growth trend. The drastic surge in user numbers allowed for the company to carry out profitable businesses such as running advertising services for beauty products and managing a cosmetics online shopping mall.

The company's growth potential was highly regarded from the beginning. In 2015, Korea's credit information service provider, National Information & Credit Evaluation Group, acquired Birdview in pursuit of a fresh growth driver that would generate synergy with its core businesses mainly in the finance segments.

KIS Information & Communication, which is in charge of the credit card payment business at NICE, is currently the biggest shareholder of Birdview with a 59.9% stake. Even after being acquired, Birdview has attracted a total of 5 billion won from investors including Daishin Securities, KB Securities, HB Investment and NICE F&I, an affiliate of NICE group.

In 2020, Birdview swung to a positive for the first time, logging an operating profit of around 1.1 billion won ($934,000) and a revenue of 22.8 billion won, up by 79.5% compared to the year-earlier period. 

Write to Jin-seong Kim at jskim1028@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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