Ulta Beauty throws their hat into the M&A game with their first-ever acquisitions and two investments, and they both are in technology. Ulta announced at its investor conference that it is building “a digital innovation ecosystem,” fueled by an investment in online booking tool Spruce, digital workflow partner Iterate, and the recent acquisitions of AI and augmented-reality start-ups QM Scientific and GlamST.
WHO: QM Scientific was founded in 2014 by Faris Alqadah, Hatime Alqadah, and Rami Masri. The business is empowering the next-generation consumer retail experience in-home, in-store, and online through deep learning and computer vision. The QM Scientific AI retail platform continuously learns individual shopping habits and preferences by mining data from Point of Sale, Loyalty systems, the web, and partner IoT devices. The platform’s software service is then leveraged for the intelligence needed to create truly individualized shopping experiences that delight their customers and increase average basket size
Founded in 2014 by Agustina Sartori and Carolina Banales, GlamST is an AR Beauty Tech company that develops customized solutions for retailers and brands. The technology allows users to try on makeup virtually on mobile and web, and in-store.
WHY: These tech investments will serve to capitalize on rich-data streaming from its loyalty program and allow them to focus on personalization.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “Both GlamST and QM Scientific bring technology leadership, guest experience, focused capabilities and the right cultural fit,” Prama Bhatt, Ulta’s senior vice president of digital and e-commerce, told WWD. “We now own the technology assets to support our digital experience roadmap.”
“We may continue to look at M&A as a way to acquire capabilities,” Scott Settersten, chief financial officer, told WWD, though he noted the company does not anticipate M&A will be an enormous part of the overall strategy.
- Ulta acquires QM Scientific and GlamST.
- Ulta invests in online booking platform Spruce.
- Ulta invests in digital workflow partner Iterate.
- Financial terms of the investments weren’t disclosed.
Photo: via Ulta Beauty