Creating its Own Space
French personal care company L’Oréal has partnered with Meta and the French business school HEC Paris to launch a startup accelerator focused on the Metaverse. The initiative — L’Oréal’s intent of creating its own space in the Metaverse and building its presence in the Web3 universe — will help startups in such verticals as avatar creation, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and portability in user experience.
L’Oréal has also made it clear the startups do not have to be specifically related to the beauty industry.
The accelerator’s headquarters will be in the Meta space within Station F, in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, which sees itself as the world’s biggest startup campus. Applications open until 20 November, with a jury composed of Meta, L’Oréal and HEC members, as well as entrepreneurs and investors. Selections will be made in December. Once the startups have been chosen, the programme will run from January to June 2023. Successful applicants will be offered mentorship and access to experts and investors.
“Bringing Young Talent Together”
“It brings a lot of young talents together. They’re the future. Imagine the massive creative energy that it generates,” said L’Oréal Chief Digital and Marketing Officer Asmita Dubey. “The benefit for us is that we can use that creativity for our DMI [international marketing direction] and brands. So, of course, we will leverage that.”
While Meta Vice President for southern Europe, Laurent Solly, said: “We are proud to associate ourselves with L’Oréal thanks to this ambitious project, which aims to support the French startup ecosystem that will have a key role in the building of a shared, creative and inclusive metaverse.”
Although there are plenty of cynics who believe Web3 is just a passing fad, the Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine-based company founded in 1909 by Eugène Schueller remains committed to its Web3 mission, with several brands in L’Oréal’s stable, including YSL Beauty, Lancôme, Mugler, Armani Beauty and Nyx Professional Makeup have introduced a flurry of Web3 initiatives. “If you look at Web2, live streaming, image recognition, voice, cloud — all of that is very vibrant,” added Dubey. “It’s a very charged digital space. Social commerce is booming for us. There is a strong base for Web2 deployment. And we are very excited about Web3 and the metaverse. We are moving from O+O (online + offline), to O+O+O (online + offline + on chain).”
One indicator L’Oréal is treating the Metaverse as a serious business opportunity was its appointment of Camille Kroely to the newly created role of Chief Metaverse and Web3 Officer this summer.
“It’s our role as the number one in beauty to make sure that we stay true to our commitments and core values,” said Kroely, noting for example that Nyx chose the Ethereum blockchain because it uses less energy than some alternatives.
Other actions that prove the French beauty conglomerate believes the future is Web3 was its 2018 acquisition of AR beauty company Modiface. Three years later, L’Oréal and Meta (then Facebook) announced a platform integration that used Modiface to bring AR-powered makeup try-ons to Instagram. “We are convinced that the acquisition of Modiface is a competitive advantage when we enter Web3 and the metaverse,” said Kroely.
“AR beauty and makeup is growing every day. More and more consumers are using it,” added Dubey.
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