As part of an Open Innovation initiative, the L’Oréal Innovation Runway (LIR) was live for the 4th year! This startup challenge is part of a partner competition of SLINGSHOT, one of the biggest deeptech startup challenge event in Asia, during the Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology (SWITCH). Global deeptech startups were invited to pitch their technology to L’Oréal R&I teams. Two winners each won S$5,000 cash prize, S$30,000 StartupSG grant, mentorship and the opportunity to work with L’Oréal.
As the entire SWITCH event was held online, L’Oréal also had a virtual building where we are able to showcase L’Oréal Group and our commitments, as well as Research & Innovation and Open Innovation activities to the event’s participants. L’Oréal Innovation Runway finalists were also given the opportunity to feature their company and technology within the building’s exhibition hall.
Re-invent concept & Idea of beauty!
This year’s challenge proposes to answer to this difficult question : what goes beyond the traditional concept and idea of beauty?
There were 4 main categories:
· Protect: Solutions for broader and superior protection against external aggressors and lifestyle stressors
· Cleanse: Solutions for robust and natural cleansing systems to simplify one's routine)
· Repair & Enhance: Technologies that can repair damage and/or transform the quality of skin and hair
· New Ingredients & Materials: Opportunities to develop disruptive products based on technical functionalities coming from outside of beauty industry
Despite concerns that COVID-19 situation would dampen startups appetite to participate in competitions, there was a 15% increase in the number of applications compared to 2019. Applications arrived from all over the world, with high numbers coming from the South APAC region where the LIR team focused most of the outreach effort. Out of 100+ applications, 10 finalists were selected to compete in the finals.
Due to travel restrictions and social distancing rules, the organizing team also had to pivot quickly from a physical final event to a hybrid setup combining virtual pitch and Q&A session with live studio components.
And who are the Winners ?
The finalists pitched their technologies virtually to a panel of judges: Sanford Browne (Senior Vice President R&I APAC), Ivan Rodriguez (Global Open Innovation Director, R&I), Mark Phong (Asia Director of Advanced Research Labs and Business Development), Yogesh Suradkar (Director R&I India), Matthieu Cassier (Director R&I Japan), and Seow Hui Lim (Director, Startup Development Division, Enterprise Singapore).