L’Oreal beauty tech accelerator looks to analytics and visual search

Global beauty brand L’Oréal and digital incubator company Founders Factory have chosen an analytics platform and a visual search engine to form part of their beauty technology accelerator programme.

The start-ups, Sampler and Riviter, will take part in the six-month development plan tailored to their respective growth objectives, receiving mentoring from a range of digital experts. L’Oréal sees it as a two-way relationship, and will be looking for the tech companies to influence the way its own brands can evolve their digital propositions.

Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer of L’Oréal, said: “Merging the innovation capacities of L’Oréal with those of beauty tech startups creates a powerful synergy which helps to address the aspirations of our consumers and to build a new generation of personalised and smart digital services.”

Who are the start-ups?

Sampler: Founded by Marie Chevrier in Canada in 2013, Sampler helps brands manage and measure their product sampling strategies through a more effective and targeted approach.

Chevrier believes the traditional ways brands have distributed samples and managed consumer response to these products can be improved. Her company looks to personalise samples and ensure consumers get access to the most suitable items.

Riviter: Created by Andi Hadisutjipto, Kris Woodbeck, and Rachel Chen in the US, Riviter has developed a visual search engine that uses patented artificial intelligence technology to recognise products in images and matches them to products online.

The engine can detect precise location and detailed attributes of the products. It is the type of technology, although not the exact solution, fashion retailers such as Asos are backing for future growth.

L’Oréal is also supporting the growth of Alegra, a company that is already part of the Founders Factory accelerator ecosystem.

Founded by Alp Ocal in Turkey, Alegra helps brands to build their digital online platforms for content and eCommerce simultaneously on multiple devices.

Rochet added: “In this test and learn approach, we are supporting the development and growth of promising young entrepreneurs by sharing our expertise and network, and in the meantime we invite them to bring new ideas to the digital projects of our brands.

“Open innovation is a win-win strategy that fosters disruptive thinking and pushes forward our digital leadership in beauty.”

Henry Lane Fox, CEO and co-founder of Founders Factory, commented: ​“We fully understand the difficulties in launching a technology business and we are providing these start-ups with a competitive advantage; unrivalled support both via our Founders Factory operations team and the insights and scale of L’Oréal.”

The first L’Oréal and Founders Factory beauty tech accelerator, which ran earlier this year, involved five start-ups including London-based Tailify which connects big brands to social media influencers to create campaigns.