Open Innovation: L'Oréal Announces its 2019 cohort

OSMO and L'Oréal Canada are pleased to reveal the identity of the 5 startups that have been selected to participate in their corporate accelerator program, which is part of their new Open Innovation Program, created in collaboration with the OSMO Foundation.

L'Oréal Challenge Competition

A Venture Competition held at Notman House, on June 27, allowed the L'Oréal Canada selection committee to choose the 5 finalists. OSMO, acting as L'Oréal Canada's startup ecosystem partner, executed a 2-month long startup scouting mission and generated a pipeline of 160 potential startups to tackle the initial business challenges shared last April by L'Oréal Canada. From 41 applications, 12 startups were invited to pitch their innovative technological solutions that could be implemented during the accelerator program.

The 2019 L'Oréal Canada corporate accelerator cohort is:

  • Blutag AI - New York, USA: Blutag is a SaaS company that creates branded voice experiences for retailers. The voice shopping market is growing rapidly but retailers struggle to deliver good voice experiences, as building for voice requires a completely different set of skills. Blutag is a turnkey solution where retailers can connect their existing stores to quickly deliver voice-shopping experiences to their customers.

  • Live Scale - Montréal, Canada: Livescale enriches and transforms the way to broadcast live events. By simplifying the distribution of content on all of its client's social networks and websites simultaneously, Livescale allows them to reach, engage, and monetize their audience, as well as understand the behaviors and interactions of their users.

  • Faimdata - Montreal, Canada : extracts unprecedented consumer insight from any security camera feed. These insights help operators craft remarkable experiences in retail stores, malls, banks, public spaces, theme parks, restaurants, digital signage, and many other physical settings across the world.

  • Vantage Ai - Toronto, Canada helps brands selling directly to consumers to monetize their proprietary shopper data to drive new traffic and sales, deepen their digital relationships and be more relevant in the lives of today's digitally active customer. Vantage offers partners the ability to segment their data and deliver hyper-targeted and hyper-relevant ad campaigns across the breadth of online platforms—such as third-party publishers like Google and Facebook.

  • Youneeq AI - Victoria, Canada: offers marketers a proven, highly-effective personalization engine that uses AI and Machine Learning to improve the customer experience through increased relevance from personalization. Youneeq personalizes the anonymous customer journey, where 97% of website visitors fall into. Youneeq provides a better customer experience focused on matching anonymous users to the right products, content, messages, calls to action, emails and more.

In its quest to become the #1 beauty tech company, L'Oréal is rolling out an increasing number of initiatives to bolster its open innovation strategy, which involves collaborations worldwide with startups. In addition to the Group's existing partnerships with Founders Factory, Partech International Ventures and Station F, L'Oréal recently signed a partnership with Partech Africa and created BOLD (Business Opportunities for L'Oréal Development), an investment fund designed to take minority shares in innovative start-ups with strong growth potential.

This accelerator program, launched in partnership with OSMO, is the first collaboration in Canada and could possibly lead to an investment with the BOLD fund.

"Digital technology brings a major shift to the world of beauty, offering us new opportunities to innovate and interact with our consumers. L'Oréal leverages technology and digital to shape tomorrow's "limitless beauty" for all," says Frank Kollmar, President & CEO of L'Oréal Canada. "We profoundly believe in "open innovation". By combining our innovation potential with those of start-ups, we will co-create the future of beauty," concluded Mr. Kollmar.

"Innovation is at the heart of L'Oréal's business and Montreal is a hub for innovation. We are excited to partner with talents from all across the country to develop new solutions and further establish ourselves as the number one beauty tech company in Canada, " says Samantha Daude Di Nacera , CMO of L'Oréal Canada.

"During the next few months, the 5 startups will participate in an accelerator program designed to help them implement and validate their solutions (Proofs of concept) in collaboration with the internal executive teams at L'Oréal Canada. The startups will also receive support from OSMO to develop a business proposal and to create a scaling plan for a potential larger implementation throughout the L'Oréal brands. Our goal is to facilitate and accelerate the L'Oréal-startups collaboration process by initiating a win-win relationship," explained Valérie Forget, Program Director of the OSMO Foundation.

To learn more about the partnership between L'Oréal Canada and OSMO please read the previous press release: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/osmo-et-l-oreal-canada-joignent-leurs-forces-pour-propulser-l-ecosysteme-startup-montrealais-832268223.html

About L'Oréal Canada
L'Oréal Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of L'Oréal Group, the largest cosmetics company in the world. Headquartered in Montreal, the company had sales of $1.280 billion in 2018 and employs more than 1,300 people. The company holds a portfolio of 36 brands, encompassing all aspects of beauty, and is present across all distribution networks: mass market, department stores, salons, pharmacies, drugstores, and branded retail. L'Oréal Canada, whose operations are carbon neutral, supports the L'Oréal Foundation's programs such as L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science, which has promoted the advancement of women in science in Canada since 2003, Beauty for a Better Life, a social reintegration program in hairdressing for immigrant women since 2017, and the just recently launched Women in Digital support program.

About OSMO
As a non-profit organization, OSMO's mission is to provide ecosystem development for local start-ups and to ensure that Montreal is in the top 20 of the global business ecosystem. OSMO's flagship achievements include: Innocité, Startupfest and AI For Good Summer Lab. Thanks to the Notman House, OSMO offers a vibrant and accessible environment for all, promotes collaboration, knowledge transfer and sharing of know-how between the various actors of the entrepreneurial community. For more information, visit www.osmomtl.org.

SOURCE L'Oréal Canada Inc.

For further information: OSMO program information and interview requests: Valérie Forget, Director, Programs, OSMO, valerie@osmomtl.org; Information on L'Oréal Canada: Virginie Hotte-Dupuis, Manager, External Relations and Philanthropy, virginie.hotte-dupuis@loreal.com