Beauty Tech Specialist Perfect Corporation in $1 Billion Merger Deal

The Alibaba-backed company that counts Chanel and Shiseido among its investors and clients is to merge with Nasdaq-listed Provident Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The process will raise up to $355 million to fund ongoing expansion and product development, including adapting its products for the metaverse.

Perfect, founded in Taiwan in 2015, has built augmented reality (AR) software specially designed for the cosmetics and beauty industry. Using machine learning and AI technology, its selfie-editing app YouCam allows consumers to virtually try out make-up and hair colouring online giving them more confidence in buying beauty products or hair dyes without seeing physical samples in-store or having sales assistants test products live. Its clients include US department-store chain Macy’s and US beauty giant Estée Lauder.

YouCam has been downloaded more than a billion times worldwide and the company says its enterprise solutions are used by more than 400 beauty brands across more than 80 countries.

As part of the merger and fundraising process, Shiseido, Chanel, US camera technology company Snap, and others, will invest around $50 million. Perfect has previously raised $75 million over three funding rounds: Goldman Sachs Asset Management led one in January last year and Alibaba another in September 2019, according to Crunchbase.

Perfect’s founder and chief executive, Alice Chang, said demand for the technology has been fuelled by increased hygiene awareness since the advent of Covid-19 which has reduced personal contact in beauty halls, bringing an end to in-store testing.

“Current consumer trends, such as hygiene awareness and focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) [issues], provide us with favourable tailwinds to accelerate growth and adoption of our services,” she said.

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