China Digest: Goldman invests $50m in Perfect Corp; Neural Galaxy raises $15.5m

Perfect Corp, the Taiwan-based developer of virtual beauty app YouCam Makeup. Source: Visuals from Perfect Corp's website

Goldman Sachs has led a $50 million Series C funding round in Taiwan-based virtual beauty app developer Perfect Corp, while Beijing-based brain science firm Neural Galaxy has raised over 100 million yuan ($15.5 million) in a Series Pre-A round.

Taiwanese virtual beauty app maker Perfect Corp bags $50m

Goldman Sachs has led a $50 million Series C funding round in Perfect Corp, the Taiwan-based developer of virtual beauty app YouCam Makeup, to help the startup advance its AI-based beauty technology solutions across multichannel retail and drive corporate global expansion.

With over 900 million app downloads and more than 300 global brand partners, Perfect Corp targets to transform the beauty industry by offering augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered beauty Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products.

The startup provides small- and medium-sized businesses and enterprises with makeup technology that enables virtual makeup trials, hair colour, and accessory try-on. Its AI face attributes technology allows consumers to virtually try on products, diagnose skin conditions, get personalised recommendations, and explore beauty products.

The firm’s corporate clients can list products on the self-developed app, YouCam Makeup, and access a range of beauty SaaS products, including in-store consultation, a mobile software development kit (SDK), and WeChat mini-program services.

“This Series C investment will further drive the development of our solutions globally across all beauty categories and channels for the complete 360 beauty SaaS experience for consumers,” said Alice H. Chang, CEO of Perfect Corp, in a statement.

Feng Xinyi, a managing director in the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs, said in the same statement: “The integration of technology through AI, machine learning and augmented reality into the beauty industry will unlock significant advantages, including amplification of digital sales channels, increased personalisation and deeper consumer engagement.”

The startup’s previous funding announcement was a $25 million Series A round led by TMT-focused China Creation Venture (CCV) in October 2017.

Brain science startup Neural Galaxy raises $15.5m

Beijing-based brain science firm Neural Galaxy has raised over 100 million yuan ($15.5 million) in a Series Pre-A round led by early-stage venture capital (VC) firm Lightspeed China Partners, the investor announced on Thursday.

Other investors in the new round included China-based investment firm FreeS Fund; BOHE Angel Fund, which mainly invests in early-stage healthtech firms; and 3E Bioventures Capital, an investor in life sciences and biomedical technologies. California-based tech venture fund Tsingyuan Ventures, and American entrepreneur and investor Ray Stata participated in the transaction.

Neural Galaxy, which has operations in Beijing and Boston, was jointly created in July 2019 by Professor Liu Hesheng from Harvard Medical School, Professor Robert Desimone, and Professor Feng Guoping from MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and entrepreneur Coach Wei Kecheng.

Based on scientific breakthroughs from over a decade of research at the Martinos Imaging Center of Harvard and MIT, the startup seeks to solve brain disorders in collaboration with hospitals and research institutions worldwide.

The startup plans to use the new proceeds to further speed up product R&D and optimisation, attract talent, and develop the precision diagnosis & treatment of brain disorders.

Neural Galaxy announced the completion of its angel round at $6.1 million in September 2019. FreeS Fund led the previous investment, with participation from investors like BOHE Angel Fund, Tsingyuan Ventures, and Ray Stata.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.