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L'Oreal Ups Digital Investment to Shape Brands of the 21st Century

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When L’Oréal announced the appointment of Lubomira Rochet as chief digital officer in 2014,  chief executive Jean-Paul Agon said, “Digital expertise will shape the iconic brands and companies of the 21st century. The mission of this new organization ... is to accelerate L'Oréal’s digital transfor­mation regarding consumer experience, service-based innovation, customer service and technology platforms.”

Since then, the company's NYX brand has opened a series of digitally integrated stores, L’Oréal has opened a technology incubator located in San Francisco, introduced the virtual makeover app, Makeup Genius, and launched My UV Patch, a stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure and help consumers educate themselves about sun protection.

“This strategic investment will give L’Oréal direct access to a powerful global ecosystem of exciting startups and innovative technologies at their earliest stage allowing us to invest in and nurture innovative business models based on digital platforms to better serve consumers’ aspirations."

Meanwhile, competitor Coty has acquired digital marketing firm Beamly to up its digital game and Sephora has launched virtual makeover app upgrades for mobile shoppers

The message is: go digital or go home.

Two years after Rochet's appointment, L’Oréal has announced an investment in "digital accelerator and incubator," Founders Factory. The deal renders L’Oréal the exclusive beauty tech startup partner for the firm.

According to the companies, L’Oréal and Founders Factory will invest and scale five early stage startups and co-create two new companies, which will produce products and services, from scratch every year.

Rochet and other L’Oréal executives will represent the company on the Founders Factory board of directors. Three L’Oréal executives will also hold seats on the beauty sector committee of Founders Factory.

“This strategic investment will give L’Oréal direct access to a powerful global ecosystem of exciting startups and innovative technologies at their earliest stage allowing us to invest in and nurture innovative business models based on digital platforms to better serve consumers’ aspirations,” said Rochet. “Leveraging the Founders Factory’s ecosystem and experienced entrepreneurs in residence, L’Oréal will provide significant contribution to the development of incubated companies in the beauty sector by bringing our knowledge of the beauty industry, the beauty consumer and our marketing and innovation expertise in all beauty categories.”

“At Founders Factory we provide ambitious forward-thinking blue-chip companies with a way to develop innovative technology startups away from their day-to-day business and connect them with elite entrepreneurial talent from across the globe," said Brent Hoberman, co-founder and executive chairman, Founders Factory. It’s incredibly exciting to be partnering with L’Oréal, the world’s leading beauty company, with a long history of scientific innovation and a champion of entrepreneurship. Marrying our expertise in digital with L’Oréal’s brands, scientific research, and audience reach offers a compelling opportunity to build and scale the next generation of beauty startups."