LVMH Innovation Award Ceremony

PARIS — In a digital awards ceremony, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton handed this year’s Innovation Award to Crobox, a Netherlands-based start-up that personalizes digital displays of merchandise.

Taking the event online — it usually takes place at the VivaTech fair, which was canceled this year due to the coronavirus — the luxury group brought on executives to discuss the shifting environment for French start-ups and presented a survey on start-ups by Les Echos, a financial daily newspaper that belongs to LVMH, and polling company OpinionWay.

Kat Borlongan, who directs La French Tech, a government task force to promote French technology, and Julie Ranty, managing director of Viva Technology, also took part in the online presentation.

The winner of the prize, Crobox, was founded by Sjoerd Mulder, Leonard Wolters and Rodger Buyvoets, and seeks to prod consumers to make a purchase by tagging merchandise on digital displays with simple messages, to flag certain attributes that correspond to the client’s interests. A coat might be highlighted as “most viewed” or “100 percent recycled down,” for example. 

“They call it ‘the nudge that gets you to buy’,” said Ian Rogers, chief digital officer of LVMH.

The jury whittled down 1,200 applicants to a shortlist of 30, who gave pitches in an online event last month.

“I think it’s definitely our best batch ever,” said Rogers.

“We always try to have a bit of a balance, we don’t want it to be all marketing solutions or all back-office solutions — we try to have a good balance of things that are interesting,” he said.

Candidates offered products and services varying from Mexican start-up Desserto’s leather alternative made from cactus plants to Go in Store’s services that help salespeople become effective online sales associates.