According to the United Nations, 68 percent of people will live in cities by 2050, many in megacities with over 10 million residents. And Asia, being home to 54 percent of the world’s urban population, is slowly becoming home to a number of these megacities.
On one hand, mobility and urbanisation have brought together diverse cultures, influences and habits. On the other, this fast-paced lifestyle has also brought in stress that affects our health and overall wellness.
To set new benchmarks for the ‘urbanisers’ of the 21st century, global beauty giant L'Oréal is back with the third edition of the L’Oréal Innovation Runway. This is not just another beauty contest! L'Oréal is looking for solutions across technical and industrial verticals, to partner with startups and small enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, to further L’Oréal’s research and innovation to address the challenges of urban living.
Partner to create unique solutions for tomorrow’s urban dwellers
The challenge is being organised by L’Oréal in collaboration with NUS Enterprise – the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), Startup SG, a leading startup hub in Singapore, Enterprise SG (formerly International Enterprise Singapore and SPRING Singapore) – the government agency championing enterprise development, and Get In The Ring – a global startup platform that connects founders to deals and global exposure. Last year, there was 25 percent participation from Indian startups, with three semi-finalists out of 11 being from India, and one of the two winners also from India.
“Winning the L'Oréal Innovation Runway award is a great validation of the String technology platform and long-term potential. We look forward to working together with L'Oréal to take sustainable products to market that will have a tremendous impact on everyday lives," says Ezhil Subbian, CEO String Bio, winner of the L'Oréal Innovation Runway 2018 edition.
After two successful editions, this year, the organisers are looking for innovative solutions in three key challenge areas:
- Diverse and interconnected experiences - Ideas should revolve around creating new consumer experiences and routines that are personalised and customised. For example, you can share ideas on connectedness via devices, consumption-on-the-go technologies and combined diagnosis and solution.
- Urban living - This challenge area focuses on technologies (e.g. materials, wearables, devices) that respond and adapt to different environments and situations. Examples could be solutions for active defence against external factors like pollution, or an instant and long-lasting product effect. Your idea can revolve around improving skin quality or new concepts to manage aging of skin, hair and scalp.
- Sustainability - The focus is on zero waste solutions, circular economy, urban farming and new food. You could have a consumer education solution in sustainable consumption/purchasing or consumer routines/products that reduce the use of water. Your solution can include natural and green materials/packaging/processes or refillable/rechargeable/recyclable product.
Who can apply?
L'Oréal is looking for mature startups that have already raised money > USD 500,000 (series A), technology startups with cutting-edge and disruptive technology for L’Oréal, and sustainability startups with sustainable tech and values.
You can participate if the industry you work in includes (but is not limited to) food, creative, agriculture, bio-medical, textile, manufacturing, cosmetics, engineering and film/photography. Or if you're a startup with a unique technology in areas including (but are not limited to) smart material, data, biotechnology, 3D modelling, imaging, advanced materials, smart home, green technology and virtual, this is the perfect platform for you.
Benefits for participating startups
Apart from getting the opportunity to work with the world's largest and highly innovative beauty brand, there are many other tangible benefits in store:
- Potential access to L’Oréal’s R&D beauty expertise - A great opportunity to conduct a pilot study with L'Oréal hubs and develop long-term strategic partnerships.
- Financial awards and grants – Two winners will receive a cash award of S$5,000 (no equity needs to be given up in exchange). In addition, two S$50,000 Startup SG grants* are also up for grabs, where both winners will be fast-tracked to the qualifying round of SLINGSHOT 2019, powered by Startup SG. T&Cs apply.
- Mentorship and industry network - Exposure to local and regional network of industry partners, companies, investors and startup mentors. Startups selected in the semi-finals and finals get to attend the startup bootcamp or get targeted mentorship sessions by Get in the Ring and Startup SG.
- Industry exposure - An opportunity to pitch to a wide global audience, where you can gain faster understanding of industry challenges and needs. You will also get unique insights for shortlisted proposals and will be able to increase prospects for co-creation or co-development activities.
The future is urban. Let's hear your solution for it!
Billions of people who live in urban areas have the collective power to change our environmental future, by developing the next generation of sustainable and safe beauty products.
This year, it could be you! Your submission should include:
- An explanation of the proposed solution addressing the criteria in the respective problem statement
- The rationale of how the criteria can be met
- Material, prototype or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for testing within 18 months
Shortlisted startups will be announced by October 2019 and an exclusive startup mentoring session will be held for the semi-finalists by Get In The Ring and L'Oréal Tech Experts. The semi-finals will be held in Singapore on November 8, and the finals will be held on November 11, following which the winners will be announced at SFF x SWITCH.
The last date to submit your application is September 15, 2019. Go ahead and apply now!