Helijia, a platform for booking in-home, on-demand beauty services, has received hundreds of millions of yuan from Alibaba, its biggest shareholder, furthering the two companies’ cooperation in the beauty sector, the startup announced on Tuesday via its WeChat official account.
Helijia was launched in 2014 by serial entrepreneur Meng Xing, who founded Diaoye Niunan, a formerly sprawling restaurant chain, and Afu, the top essential oil brand on Taobao by sales. The app allows users to make reservations for facials, manicures, nail treatments, massages, and more, and have technicians serve them at home instead of going to brick-and-mortar locations. Investors include IDG Capital, Qiming Venture Capital, GX Capital, and Mason Capital.
“Alibaba’s investment not only deepens our partnership, but also benefits our business model thanks to the surge in customer acquisition and orders,” Helijia said in the release, adding that their business aligns with Alibaba’s new retail strategy. Following the deal, the e-commerce powerhouse has become Helijia’s largest shareholder.
Alibaba and Helijia began partnering last year on a series of initiatives and deals. These include a Helijia mini-program on Alipay, a retail collaboration that equipped Helijia’s vendors with cosmetics brands from Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall, and discounts for services to Tmall’s 88VIP members.
The online-to-offline beauty sector saw a highly promising period from 2014 to 2015, boosted by the growth of the so-called “she economy” and service providers’ desire to digitize their businesses. Apart from Helijia, startups like Dudu Nail, Meidaojia, and Rongmeme sprang up, and giants such as classifieds site 58.com and review site Dazhong Dianping (which later merged into one half of Meituan-Dianping) moving into the industry, with the former acquiring Dudu Nail.