PARIS — L’Oréal has invested in London-based digital accelerator and incubator Founders Factory as part of its strategy of fostering beauty tech start-ups. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The two companies will jointly invest in and scale five early-stage start-ups and co-create two new companies every year, with L’Oréal becoming Founders Factory’s exclusive partner for investments in beauty tech start-ups worldwide, the beauty giant said Thursday.
“The in-house team of experts at Founders Factory, many of whom are successful entrepreneurs themselves, will provide hands-on support and advice to participating start-ups, as well as working with L’Oréal to jointly build and launch new products and services,” L’Oréal said.
Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer and member of L’Oréal’s executive committee, will sit on the board of directors of Founders Factory, while 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 start-ups 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.
Founders Factory was jointly launched by serial entrepreneur and lastminute.com cofounder Brent Hoberman, together with Henry Lane Fox and Jim Meyerle. It aims to develop up to 200 early-stage technology companies over the next five years.
“At Founders Factory we provide ambitious forward-thinking blue-chip companies with a way to develop innovative technology start-ups away from their day-to-day business and connect them with elite entrepreneurial talent from across the globe,” said Hoberman, who is executive chairman of Founders Factory.
“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 start-ups,” he added.
L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator in San Francisco has spearheaded digital services such as Makeup Genius, the virtual make-up coach downloaded 20 million times. The company recently launched My UV Patch, billed as the first-ever stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure.