Korean beauty startup Memebox relaunches its U.S. e-commerce platform and signs Sephora deal

Beauty startup Memebox is relaunching its United States e-commerce business, about one year after putting it on hold to focus on building a review and community platform. Beginning today, the company will sell its in-house brands, I Dew care and Nooni, through the site before adding makeup line Pony Effect next month. Memebox, which is based in San Francisco and has raised about $160 million in funding so far, also announced a partnership with beauty retail giant Sephora to launch a new cosmetic line this fall.

The Y Combinator alum’s online retail business has continued operating in Asian markets including South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Founder and CEO Dino Ha told TechCrunch they decided that increased consumer awareness about Asian beauty brands in the United States meant it was the right time to relaunch there. Memebox’s last round of funding was its Series C in 2016, which included participation from Goodwater Capital, Cowboy Ventures and Formation Group.

One of Memebox’s advantages over other beauty brands is its short development cycle, which product manager Danielle Zhu says is about six months, compared to the 18 months or so that it typically takes to create a new cosmetic or skincare product. Memebox is able to do this because of data about skin types, preferences and trends generated by its five million monthly active users.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Zhu and Ha said the company will continue building the U.S. site’s community feature with an affiliate program called Insider Access. Called ambassadors, affiliates create a customized profile with reviews, videos and recommended products, and receive a percentage of sales made through their page. Memebox has had a close relationship with social media influencers since its inception: Pony Effects is a collaboration with Hye-Min Park, one of Korea’s most popular beauty vloggers.

Founded in 2012 as a subscription box service, Memebox began expanding into the U.S. two years later. At that time, it was one of a handful of stores selling Asian skincare and beauty products to American consumers and gained a following among people who didn’t want to order directly from Asian sites, but were wary of third-party vendors on Amazon and eBay. In 2017, however, Memebox halted its U.S. e-commerce platform and instead began directing users to other e-commerce sites through affiliate links (the company will continue its affiliate partnerships for products from non-Memebox brands).

Ha says one of the reasons Memebox decided to focus on building a community was because the company had to do a lot of consumer education when it first expanded outside of Asia. Korean brands like Laneige, CosRX and Dr. Jart are now sold in Sephora, Ulta and Target, but back when Memebox originally launched its U.S. e-commerce business, Asian beauty was still a relatively niche market driven in large part by Asian American bloggers and YouTubers.

The company realized that building a community where members shared product information dramatically increased Memebox’s user engagement to 25 minutes, up from about just three minutes when it was an e-commerce site. (The site also allows users to add items from any brand to its database of reviews, which already includes 8,000 products).

The beauty industry has also changed a lot over the last couple of years. While smaller than Memebox, e-commerce sites like Soko Glam and Glow Recipe have become successful selling Asian beauty products to American consumers. Meanwhile, beauty startups like Glossier, The Ordinary and Drunk Elephant have built loyal followings thanks to social media marketing, but also because they promise more transparency about ingredients and sourcing than many of their longer-established competitors.

While luxury beauty brands like Estee Lauder and Lancome produce splashy marketing campaigns to sell toners and moisturizers, many younger consumers turn to communities like the Asian Beauty subreddit to research ingredients and create multi-step skincare routines (Asian skincare users tend to eschew brand loyalty in favor of combining products from several companies).

One of the ways in which Memebox differentiates from other beauty companies is its focus on data, which is collected from its site to forecast trends and shorten development cycles for brands created in-house and by its partners. For example, the site’s data inspired the launch of Memebox’s clay and peel-off masks, even though sheet masks are much more ubiquitous in Asian skincare. The site also used to include a discovery engine that let people search by ingredient. Ha says it will relaunch soon, with added education features, since many Asian beauty fans are also obsessed with learning about the science behind actives like Vitamin C and retinoids.

While the growing popularity of Asian skincare brands have helped many users feel empowered to fight acne and other dermatological issues, it’s also raised questions about inclusion. Many makeup brands from Korea and other Asian countries have a limited range of foundation shades, while their skin products emphasize “brightening” and other euphemisms for paleness. In other words, much of the marketing is targeted to very light-skinned women, which obviously excludes many potential users, especially black and Latinx people. Zhu says Memebox wants to help fix that by finding a diverse group of ambassadors to reach new customers.

“We really look to diversity in our influencer network,” she says. “We have females, males, different ethnic backgrounds.” She points to one of Memebox’s ambassadors, Tristian Kho, as an example of the people they want to sign up. “He’s obviously male, he’s doing makeup and I think that’s why it’s important for him to show it,” Zhu says, adding that “he definitely isn’t one of the majority in the U.S. market. It’s powerful to represent diversity and we want to foster that.”

Trump Administration Seeks to Limit Court's 'Sanctuary Cities' Order

The Trump administration, escalating its fight with so-called sanctuary cities, asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to narrow a lower court’s nationwide order preventing the federal government from denying public safety grants to municipalities that limit cooperation on immigration enforcement.

The Justice Department asked the high court to make the injunction issued by a federal judge in Chicago cover only that city and not the entire country.

Republican President Donald Trump’s administration has gone on an offensive against Democratic-governed cities and states that protect illegal immigrants as part of his hard-line immigration policies.

The Justice Department said the injunction “strays far beyond the traditional, proper role of federal courts.” The justices likely will ask the city of Chicago for a response before deciding on the request.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has criticized lower courts for imposing nationwide injunctions against some of the administration’s most contentious policies.

Chicago sued the administration last year after Sessions said he would cut off cities from certain grants unless they allowed federal immigration authorities unlimited access to local jails and provided advance notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations.

Since the injunction was issued last year, the Justice Department said it has not issued grants to the nearly 1,000 state and local jurisdictions that have applied, amounting to more than $250 million in funds.

The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the injunction in April, saying Sessions likely exceeded his authority in imposing the conditions on the grants. The 7th Circuit said that because nationwide injunctions have such a powerful effect, judges should rarely grant them, but doing so was proper in this case.

Nationwide injunctions also have blocked Trump’s bid to wind down a program protecting immigrants brought into the United States illegally as children from deportation, and to exempt more religious-based employers from a requirement that health insurance provided to employees covers birth control for women.

Upping Ante, Trump Threatens New Tariffs on Chinese Imports

President Donald Trump directed the U.S. Trade Representative to prepare new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports Monday as the two nations moved closer to a potential trade war.

The tariffs, which Trump wants set at a 10 percent rate, would be the latest round of punitive measures in an escalating dispute over the large trade imbalance between the two countries. Trump recently ordered tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods in retaliation for intellectual properly theft. The tariffs were quickly matched by China on U.S. exports.

“China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” Trump said in a statement Monday announcing the new action. “Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong.”

Trump added: “These tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced.”

Trump said that if China responds to this fresh round of tariffs, then he will move to counter “by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods.”

Trump’s comments came hours after the top U.S. diplomat accused China of engaging in “predatory economics 101” and an “unprecedented level of larceny” of intellectual property.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at an Economic Club of Detroit luncheon in Detroit, June 18, 2018.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at an Economic Club of Detroit luncheon in Detroit, June 18, 2018.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the remarks at the Detroit Economic Club as global markets reacted to trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Both nations started putting trade tariffs in motion that are set to take effect July 6.

He said China’s recent claims of “openness and globalization” are “a joke.” He added that China is a “predatory economic government” that is “long overdue in being tackled,” matters that include IP theft and Chinese steel and aluminum flooding the U.S. market.

“Everyone knows … China is the main perpetrator,” he said. “It’s an unprecedented level of larceny.”

“Just ask yourself: Would China have allowed America to do to it what China has done to America?” he said later. “This is predatory economics 101.”

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pompeo raised the trade issue directly with China last week, when he met in Beijing with President Xi Jinping and others.

“I reminded him that’s not fair competition,” Pompeo said.

President Donald Trump had announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion in Chinese imports. China is retaliating by raising import duties on $34 billion worth of American goods, including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey. Trump also has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies.

Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump’s watch. Gary Cohn, Trump’s former top economic adviser, said last week that a “tariff battle” could result in price inflation and consumer debt — “historic ingredients for an economic slowdown.”

Pompeo on Monday described U.S. actions as “economic diplomacy,” which, when done right, strengthens national security and international alliances, he added.

“We use American power, economic might and influence as a tool of economic policy,” he said. “We do our best to call out unfair economic behaviors as well.”

In a statement, Trump says he has an “excellent relationship” with Xi, “but the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world.”

Right-Wing Italian Interior Minister Wants to Look into 'Roma Question'

Italy’s new right-wing interior minister Matteo Salvini said his department has to look into “the Roma question” in Italy — a comment the opposition said reminds them of Italian fascism.

Salvini said Monday he wants to take a census of Italy’s Roma population.

“Unfortunately, we will have to keep the Italian Roma because we can’t expel them,” Salvini told Telelombardia television.

Center-left politicians immediately jumped on Salvini’s comments, likening it to ethnic cleansing.

“You can work for security and respect for rules without becoming fascistic,” lawmaker Ettore Rosato tweeted. “The announced census of Roma is vulgar and demagogical.”

FILE - A Roma woman sits next to her tent in a camp on the outskirts of Rome, July 21, 2008.

FILE – A Roma woman sits next to her tent in a camp on the outskirts of Rome, July 21, 2008.

But Salvini said he wants to help the Roma, an itinerant ethnic group. He said he wants to know who they are and where they live, and protect Roma children, whose parents he said did not want them to integrate into society.

“We are aiming primarily to care for the children who aren’t allowed to go to school regularly because they prefer to introduce them to a life of crime,” he said.

The interior minister said he has no desire to take fingerprints of the Roma or keep index cards of individuals. He also said he wants to see how European Union funds earmarked to help the Roma are spent.

Many Roma live in camps on the outskirts of Italian cities. They complain of lifelong discrimination, being denied job and educational opportunities.

But officials say many Roma are responsible for petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and theft.

Salvini’s comments about the Roma came a week after Italy refused to let a shipload of migrants dock at an Italian port. Spain gave permission for the ship to dock in its country Sunday.

Looking for Truth Behind Separating Families at US Border  

The Trump administration at least since April has been separating children and parents who enter the United States illegally at the border — that much is supported by the numbers. But much of everything else surrounding the practice has become mired in confusion.

Here is what we know:

In recent weeks, news stories of children in detention centers have circulated more widely, and the numbers of detained children have grown.

Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters Friday that between April 19 and May 31 of this year, nearly 2,000 (1,995) children were separated from their parents or other adults with whom they were traveling.

A video released Monday by Customs and Border Protection shows what appears to be humane conditions at a shelter site for children, but many worry that this video, the only video that has been released from within one of the detention centers, may not accurately depict them.

A policy or a law?

As criticism over the separation of parents and children at the border grows, the Trump administration has struggled to explain the policy.

Trump, himself, said the practice is the result of a law passed by Democrats, which has forced his administration into separating parents and children. Trump tweeted last Friday:

But there is no such law.

Rather in May, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero-tolerance” policy, which means that those detained entering the United States illegally would be criminally charged. This approach generally leads to children being separated from their parents because the law requires it.

On Sunday, senior policy adviser to the Trump administration Stephen Miller told The New York Times that the crackdown “was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal entry. Period.”

Administration officials, including Miller and Sessions, have defended the separation of families, saying that having children does not exempt anyone from the consequences of breaking the law.

“If you cross the border unlawfully, even a first offense, we’re going to prosecute you. … If you don’t want your child to be separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally,” Sessions told a gathering of the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies.

The administration has said the new practice is directed at combating a “surge” of unlawful border crossings. But the “surge” appears to be numbers marking a return-to-normal after a dip last year.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the National Sheriffs' Association convention in New Orleans, June 18, 2018.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the National Sheriffs’ Association convention in New Orleans, June 18, 2018.

Not a new idea

Though the practice of treating all people who cross the border unlawfully as subject to criminal prosecution is new under the Trump administration, it is built on existing policies from the Bush and Obama administrations.

Amid a surge of unlawful migration from Central America to the United States in 2014, the Obama administration considered many plans to deter illegal border crossings, including separating parents and children. Ultimately, Obama decided against separations but did expand the detention of immigrant families. New facilities were opened along the border, which held women and children for long periods of time before their cases were processed.

Following widespread criticism after photos of detained women and children, accompanied by testimonies of people being held for extended periods, a federal judge in Washington effectively ruled that asylum-seeking mothers could not be held for longer than 20 days, leading to what has been called a “catch and release” system where adults were released with GPS ankle monitors tracking their movements until their cases could be heard in court.

But this “catch and release” system has been heavily criticized by Trump and his administration.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks at the National Sheriffs' Association convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 18, 2018.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks at the National Sheriffs’ Association convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 18, 2018.

“This get out of jail free card for families and groups who pose as families has spread,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. “The word of this has spread. The smugglers and traffickers know these loopholes better than our members of Congress. I’m sad to say that from October 2017 to this February, we have seen a staggering 315 percent increase in illegal aliens fraudulently using children to pose as family units to gain entry into this country. This must stop,” she said.

Crate.io raises $11M and launches its hosted IoT data platform.

Crate.io, the winner of our Disrupt Europe 2014 Startup Battlefield competition, today announced that it has raised an $11 million Series A round. In addition, the company also launched its ‘Crate Machine Learning Platform’ today, a new hosted solution for businesses that want to use the company’s SQL-based database platform for working with IoT data.

The new funding round was led by Zetta Venture Partners and Deutsche Invest Equity, with participation from Chalfen Ventures, Momenta Partners and Charlie Songhurst. Existing investors, including Draper Espirit, Vito Ventures and Docker founder Solomon Hykes also participated.

Crate co-founder and CEO Christian Lutz told me that over the course of the last year or so, the company has seen a large increase in paying customers, which now tally up to about 30. That has also allowed Crate to grow its revenue beyond $1 million in annual run rate. He attributed the current success of the startup to its renewed focus on machine data, something the team wasn’t really focused on when it first launched its product.

It was also this focus that made fundraising easier, Lutz told me. “What made the difference no is that very strong focus on machine data — in combinate with delivering sales,” he said. The fact that Crate now also has a number of well-known reference customers, including the likes of Skyhigh Networks and ALPLA, a packaging manufacturer that you have probably never heard of but that produces virtually all the bottles for Coca-Cola and Unilever for the U.S. market (as well as a bunch of other bottles that you probably have at home).

Unsurprisingly, the company, which now has over 30 employees, plans to use the new funding to expand its marketing and sales efforts, as well as to expand its core engineering team.

Talking about engineering. With its Machine Platform, Crate also today launched its first hosted offering, which lives on Microsoft’s Azure platform. That’s not a major surprise for two reasons: a) many of Crate’s industrial customers are already betting on Azure anyway and, b) Crate was part of the 2017 class of the Microsoft Growth Accelerator in Berlin. The focus of the new platform is to provide businesses with a single solution for ingesting large amounts of data from IoT devices. The platform supports real-time analytics and allows users to set up their own rules to trigger workflows and alerts as necessary. The platform itself handles all of the scaling (which is handled by the popular Kubernetes container orchestration tool), as well as backup, archiving and the usual role-based security functions.

Crate also today launched version 3.0 of its open source offering. While the company’s commercial focus is obviously on the value-added features for enterprises, it continues to actively develop the open source version, too and Lutz noted that this new version offers a 100x performance increase for some types of queries.

A Throwback Video Of Small Janhvi Kapoor As She Presented ‘The Best Actor Award’ To Shah Rukh Khan

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A Throwback Video Of Small Janhvi Kapoor As She Presented ‘The Best Actor Award’ To Shah Rukh Khan

There have been awards in various fields. Awards are usually given to people who have done an excellent job in their respective fields. Like all other fields have awards given to people, Bollywood also hosts many Award shows for people to let them know how important their contribution towards a movie or their field of work is important.

Shah Rukh Khan was presented with the Best Actor award in 2002. It was Jhanvi Kapoor who announced his name and presented the award to him.

Memories that have been captured in the photos and videos are always special. They remind us of the past times and make you revisit the past. It makes you nostalgic too.

Check out the video:

Now that Jhabvi Kapoor has become an adult and is all set to make her debut with the movie Dhadak, fans just cant stop gushing over this beauty.

The trailer of the movie was out a few weeks ago. The movie also stars Ishaan Khatter in the lead roles. It is an adaptation from the Marathi superhit film ‘Sairat’.

A video of Janhvi Kapoor has become viral all over the internet. In the video, she is seen grooving to a song called ‘Jhalla Wallah’ from the movie ‘Ishaqzaade’.

The backdrop in the video looks like it is a sangeet ceremony of maybe a friend or a relative. It looks more like a sangeet ceremony of a friend as all girls are seen dancing and they also look of the same age.

Have a look at the video below: 

Well, we wish Jhanvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter all the best for their upcoming movie.

Published by Minal Gupta on 18 Jun 2018