Making innovation through open innovation and venture capital investments. The L’Oréal group has chosen the path of taking the field to identify digital and technological excellence in its sector and bring innovation internally by creating the 100% funded Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development (Bold) fund. «L’Oréal created the Bold fund in 2018 as part of the innovation strategy. The corporate venture capital project is also a way of involving stakeholders and collaborating with external partners. Through open innovation, the group can develop projects with partners “explains Gouzelle Ishmatova, chief strategy officer of the L’Oréal corporate venture capital fund visiting Italy, who adds:” Investments are mainly aimed at three areas: innovation for the beauty industry by looking at the most disruptive brands in building the future of the sector; technology in customer services; sustainability “.
The target is new business models in marketing, research and development, digital, retail, communication, supply chain and packaging. But not only. The fund also looks at sustainable and innovative solutions in terms of plastic pollution, water saving and energy consumption. «We are a strategic fund and we are looking for companies that we think can be fundamental for the future of the beauty sector. In the selection process, we look above all to the synergies and the contribution that start-ups can make to the development of our business strategies. We look at about a thousand start-ups a year, but there are 4 or 5 investments ”explains Ishmatova, who continues:“ We have made about ten investments, but we don’t make them all public. We invest globally from Asia to the United States. We hope to be able to make an investment also in Italy in the near future. At the moment we are little known in your country and we are meeting accelerators to make ourselves known and to connect to the Italian ecosystem, which is becoming interesting ».
The group does not disclose the amounts invested. «We invest with minority stakes and are medium-long term start-up partners that can range from seed stage to growth. In addition to investments in capital, we can support them in their growth and internationalization process »underlines the manager.
Particular attention is paid to the issue of diversity. «30% of our start-up portfolio has female founders against the market average of 10%. Teams with diversity lead to better results and several studies show this. Our investment team is also predominantly female, with a percentage of 80% “highlights Ishmatova, who concludes:” When people come from different worlds and experiences, they bring a different vision of problems and also bring with them the ability to propose innovative solutions “.