Coty and agency Zenith have selected three start-ups as part of a Digital Accelerator Program that will now work with the beauty brand to develop artificial intelligence applications aimed at driving more seamless shopper experiences.

Nudest — which uses technology to match skin-tone — was awarded the grand prize. Skingenie, which incorporates DNA to develop personalized skincare and healthcare products, and Glamtech, which offers real-time skin analysis and product recommendations were selected as the two other winners.

All three will receive cash prizes, strategic support from Coty’s digital team and priority access to Coty brand executives worldwide. The winners will also have access to proprietary consumer research in the beauty and luxury industry. They’re tech offerings will also go through a “stress testing” exercise with established brand challenges.

Zenith will continue to work with Coty on AI development and will manage the media communications opportunities that arise from the Accelerator Program. Neither Coty nor Zenith will retain equity in these companies.

A total of 23 start-ups submitted AI pitches related to Coty’s 70+ brands. The start-ups then presented how their chosen Coty brand would benefit from the particular AI application/technology, outlining their preferred partnership model to drive in-market trialing, and define metrics for measuring brand challenges.

“Given that core expertise of the start-ups is ad tech, many showed a real insight into the beauty sector and how tech could bridge the gap between online and in-store,” says Zenith’s Benoit Cacheux.

Coty launched the Digital Accelerator in 2017 to connect Coty colleagues to external digital capabilities and start-ups.  This AI-focused event is part of a 2018 series that also includes AR, voice and 3D printing competitions.

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