Innovators from the region's dynamic startup ecosystem to compete for a L'Oréal-funded commercial pilot opportunity and a year-long mentorship program

MUMBAI, India, May 30, 2024 -- To spur the next era of beauty, L'Oréal has launched the Big Bang Beauty Tech Innovation Program in the South Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa (SAPMENA) region, including India. The biggest open innovation competition of this scale for the beauty sector, it offers promising startups the chance to develop their innovation in a commercial pilot and potential exposure to 35 markets of the SAPMENA region.

L’Oréal launches the Big Bang Beauty Tech Innovation Program to offer promising startups a platform to accelerate their marketing tech innovations.

The competition emphasizes the co-creation and co-development of innovative beauty technology and marketing solutions. Startups will address one or more of the five challenge themes: Consumer Experience, Content, Media, New Commerce and Tech for Good. Through their participation, startups will have the opportunity to connect with commercial and digital leaders, including strategic partners and mentors who can offer insights to test new ideas and potential to scale.

First launched in China in 2020, the competition now extends across Asia and MENA, tapping into the dynamic startup ecosystem and immense consumer potential of these regions. From a handful of investors and companies a little over a decade ago, these regions today have grown into a dynamic hub with increasing deal flow within the global startup ecosystem.

Home to 40% of the world's population, the SAPMENA region covers 35 markets including many of the world's fastest growing, most populous and young markets. Its consumers are young digital natives, having an average age of 28 years (compared to the global average of 33 years) and with more than 60% purchasing online every week. Innovative e-commerce and social commerce business models and technologies are needed to reach and engage these consumers, who are leading the beauty acceleration with diverse beauty ideals and a dynamic digital culture of on-demand, always-connected and hyper social. Across Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East, the combined startup ecosystem includes over 40,000 startups, with more than 180 unicorns (startups valued US$1 billion+) and a deal flow that reached US$20 billion last year.

Vismay Sharma, President of L'Oréal SAPMENA Zone, said, "Asia and the Middle East are young, vibrant markets with a strong and dynamic startup ecosystem and opportunities for growth. Leveraging Beauty Tech, L'Oréal wants to uncover better and more novel ways of connecting with consumers and answering unmet needs through beauty innovations. We are on the lookout for unique solutions that leverage data and tech – we believe augmented tech, online platforms and digital services have great potential to elevate the consumer experience."

Saloni Shah, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, L'Oréal India, said, "India is home to successful start-ups that has resulted in an incredibly dynamic ecosystem. The vibrant energy, entrepreneurial spirit, and advanced digital landscape make it conducive for innovation across industries, especially in Beauty Tech. L'Oréal is committed to supporting this ecosystem, fostering collaboration, and seeking opportunities with innovative startups to shape the future of beauty."

About the Big Bang Beauty Tech Innovation Program in SAPMENA

The Big Bang Beauty Tech Innovation Program regional open innovation competition seeks to discover, support and nurture promising startups from across the South Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa region, from countries including United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. These startups will be given the opportunity to develop their pilots in Beauty Tech innovation in one of five challenge themes: Consumer Experience, Content, Media, New Commerce and Tech for Good. The top three SAPMENA Grand Finale winners will win a L'Oréal-funded commercial pilot opportunity and a year-long mentorship program with senior executives from L'Oréal and the program partners including Accenture, Google and Meta.

Startups who prove successful pilots in SAPMENA could have the opportunity to work with L'Oréal globally. With L'Oréal SAPMENA as a launchpad, startups could tap into an extensive network of partners and market insights.

The three regional online semi-finals for the GCC, India and Southeast Asia will culminate in an in-person SAPMENA Grand Finale. Up to ten startup finalists across SAPMENA will vie for the top prizes at the Grand Finale in Singapore on 23 October 2024. Judges will comprise senior executives from L'Oréal and the program partners.

Key dates:

  • Submission deadline: 13 July 2024
  • India online semi-final: 11 September 2024
  • Southeast Asia online semi-final: 30 September 2024
  • SAPMENA in-person Grand Finale in Singapore: 23 October 2024

Startups passionate about creating the future of the beauty industry with L'Oréal are encouraged to apply now on the competition website by the submission deadline of 13 July 2024.


About L'Oréal South Asia Pacific, Middle East, and North Africa (SAPMENA) Zone

Home to 3 billion people and 40% of the world's population, the South Asia Pacific, Middle East & North Africa (SAPMENA) Zone is a major growth engine for L'Oréal and a global talent hub. The SAPMENA Zone was formed in 2021 to drive focus on consumer needs and growth in many of the world's most populous, young and fast-growing economies. Across 13 entities and 35 markets spanning New Zealand to Morocco, the L'Oréal SAPMENA Zone is reinventing beauty experiences for our consumers through a portfolio of over 30 international brands and game-changing Beauty Tech innovations. Our business model is built on responsible and sustainable growth, with commitments which focus on three key areas – the planet, the people and our products.

About L'Oréal

For 115 years, L'Oréal, the world's leading beauty player, has devoted itself to one thing only: fulfilling the beauty aspirations of consumers around the world. Our purpose, to create the beauty that moves the world, defines our approach to beauty as essential, inclusive, ethical, generous and committed to social and environmental sustainability. With our broad portfolio of 37 international brands and ambitious sustainability commitments in our L'Oréal for the Future program, we offer each and every person around the world the best in terms of quality, efficacy, safety, sincerity and responsibility, while celebrating beauty in its infinite plurality.

With more than 90,000 committed employees, a balanced geographical footprint and sales across all distribution networks (e-commerce, mass market, department stores, pharmacies, perfumeries, hair salons, branded and travel retail), in 2023 the Group generated sales amounting to 41.18 billion euros. With 20 research centers across 11 countries around the world and a dedicated Research and Innovation team of over 4,000 scientists and 6,400 Digital talents, L'Oréal is focused on inventing the future of beauty and becoming a Beauty Tech powerhouse.

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