bernard arnault

SETTING THE BAR: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has gathered a jury of industry heavy-hitters for its inaugural LVMH Innovation Award, due to be handed out at the Viva Technology conference in Paris next week.

Joining the jury’s chairman, LVMH chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault, will be Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president of retail at Apple Inc.; Daniel Zhang, ceo of Alibaba Group; Natalie Massenet, cofounder of venture capital firm Imaginary Ventures, and rapper and entrepreneur Nas, organizers of the conference said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The remaining jury members are Alexandre Arnault, coceo of German luggage maker Rimowa; angel investor Tony Fadell; Sébastien Bazin, chairman and ceo of French hotel group Accor; Stewart Butterfield, founder of team messaging application Slack, and Kirsten Green, general partner at venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures.

More than 500 start-ups from more than 40 countries applied for the award, and 32 have been selected as finalists to exhibit their solutions at the LVMH Lab during the second edition of the conference, set to run from June 15 to June 17. They are French, British, Canadian, Finnish, American, Chinese, Danish and Swiss.

Among them are Cappasity, which creates 3-D images for online shopping; Unmade, which lets brands offer customizable products to consumers; Tribe Dynamics, which helps brands measure earned media value, identify and manage influencers; and Mode.ai, a chat bot for fashion that finds products and styling inspirations by uploading images.

Bernard Arnault will be among the several dozen speakers at Viva Technology, alongside Jeff Immelt, chairman and ceo of General Electric; Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc.; John Chambers, executive chairman of Cisco, and David Kenny, senior vice president of IBM Watson and IBM Cloud, among others.

The conference is organized by advertising and public relations company Publicis Groupe and French media group Les Échos, which belongs to LVMH and publishes the financial daily of the same name.

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