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L’Oréal Launches VC Fund

BOLD Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development will take minority stakes in promising start-ups.

PARIS — L’Oréal said Wednesday it has launched a venture capital fund, called BOLD, Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development, which will take minority stakes in start-ups with high growth potential.

The fund is to invest in new business models in marketing, research and innovation, digital, retail, communication, supply chain and packaging, and support the start-ups with the group’s expertise, networking and mentorship.

It’s part of L’Oréal’s open innovation strategy, which includes partnerships with Founders Factory, Partech International Ventures, Station F and Raise Ventures.

“As the beauty leader, it is our mission to empower young entrepreneurs in our industry by helping them to turn their vision into scalable businesses,” said Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. “The creation of our own corporate venture fund is a logical step that completes our existing partnerships with funds and incubators, and will allow L’Oréal to invest in promising beauty concepts at an early stage.”

“With the creation of our own corporate fund, we will share our expertise, networking and mentorship, and provide financial support to promising start-ups while preserving their autonomy,” continued Laurent Schmitt, president of BOLD. “The fund strengthens our innovation strategy of connecting L’Oréal’s expertise with an ecosystem of enthusiastic entrepreneurs in the beauty sector to address together new consumer needs and aspirations in our industry.”

BOLD’s first investment is in Sillages Paris, a French start-up giving an online service to create customized fragrances based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. The company founded by Maxime Garcia-Janin, which has since June been part of L’Oréal’s incubator at Station F, the global start-up hub, will be supported by L’Oréal’s knowhow in marketing, research, digital and retail.