Startups Beauty Technology

Coty selects trio of startups to develop AI that will drive 'more seamless shopper experiences'


By Bennett Bennett, Staff writer

June 11, 2018 | 4 min read

Coty has announced the winners of its first digital accelerator program: Nudest, Skingenie, and Glamtech – which the beauty brand hopes will help it build AI tools that drive "more seamless shopper experiences".

Beauty Accelerator

Startups Nudest, Skingenie and Glamtech were selected as the winners of Coty's beauty accelerator program. / Manu Camargo via Unsplash

Nudest won top honors, with the firm being cherry-picked for its custom skin tone-matching technology, where as Skingenie also won a prize for its DNA-based personalization of skincare and healthcare products. Glamtech, meanwhile, pitched a real-time skin analysis, performance tracking and product recommending feature.

The winning businesses have all received cash prizes and will be given strategic support from Coty’s digital team, as well as priority access to Coty brand executives worldwide. They'll also get insights from Coty; including proprietary consumer research in the beauty and luxury industry, and stress-testing of their tech with established brand challenges.

Nudest’s presentation in particular, stood out to the team for its insight that 84% of beauty buyers find the color nude to be too light or too dark, with the upstart creating an algorithm to account for for skin undertones as well as an individual’s tanning ability across the seasons to assign a score on a proprietary 'nudemeter'.

The algorithm, and the fact it unlocked potential for personalized product recommendations and supported Coty’s commitment to liberate the diversity of its customer base allowed it to win the top prize from the brand.

A total of 23 AI-focused startups pitched and presented to Coty and partner agency Zenith, over a two-day span, with ideas utilizing the different brands in Coty’s roster and their particular AI application/technology.

In additional, each startup outlined its preferred partnership model to drive in-market trialing, and providing clear evaluation metrics against a defined brand challenge.

Jason Forbes, Coty’s chief digital and media officer, said: “Creating real-world solutions to address unmet consumer needs is a key approach of how we are driving business growth and Coty’s leadership in the industry. Services are the new products, and one-on-one personalization powered by artificial intelligence is and will continue to be a core driver of better experiences for consumers.”

Fred Gerantabee, Coty’s vice-president of digital innovation, added: “There are so many great emerging companies that are honing in on one or two major needs, and finding very focused solutions in AI, skin analysis, color and DNA-based personalization, to name a few.

"As a consumer-focused organization, addressing unmet needs is not just about starting from scratch but bringing these solutions to market quickly and beautifully; that requires seeking those in the market who are doing it better than anyone else and creating a strong working partnership that can scale and grow.”

Coty had launched the Digital Accelerator in 2017 to connect Coty colleagues to external digital capabilities and start-ups, accelerating the development of Coty’s digital capabilities.

The summit that had just concluded was apart of the 2018 series that will provide a broader set of innovative start-ups a forum to connect directly with Coty’s colleagues and brands through the lens of a specific capability. Upcoming themes, the beauty brand said, are likely to include AR, voice and 3D printing.

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