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Coty plans Digital Accelerator Summit for tech start-ups

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NEW YORK — Following up last year’s launch of its Digital Accelerator program, Coty Inc. has unveiled a new initiative for technology start-ups.

The Coty Quarterly Digital Accelerator Summit, to be held next month, will provide tech start-ups an opportunity to share their latest innovations and earn the chance to work with the beauty care giant’s diverse brand portfolio.

The new program will focus on a series of capabilities, starting with artificial intelligence (AI). Participants can submit their best AI pitch by selecting any Coty brand from its 70-plus brand portfolio by March 12.

Jason Forbes_Coty

Jason Forbes

“At Coty, we’re focused on transforming our digital capabilities across the organization, and the launch of the Digital Accelerator represented a key milestone in this transformation. I’m thrilled to take this initiative a step further by bringing external start-ups into the mix,” stated Jason Forbes, Coty’s chief digital and media officer.

“Coty has a growing expertise in partnerships with a breadth of start-ups to drive growth across our brands. This includes our acquisitions of Beamly and ghd, partnership with Younique and new connections via our relationship with Zenith,” Forbes noted. “Throughout Coty, we foster an ‘act like a start-up’ culture, encouraging creativity, agility and quick action. We’re excited about fostering deeper commercial relationships with start-ups aligned with our key priorities. AI is a foundational example of this.”

For the Digital Accelerator Summit submissions, Coty is asking tech start-ups to provide a description of what makes them unique in AI; select a Coty brand and show how it would benefit from their technology; and describe the preferred partnership model to drive in-market trials. Coty then will pick up to eight start-ups — based on their technology’s projected growth impact on one or more Coty brands — to present their ideas directly to Coty brand leaders at its Digital Accelerator Summit on March 27 and 28 in London and New York City.

In addition, up to $100,000 of prizes from $10,000 to $50,000 will be awarded based on criteria fit — brand alignment, growth impact and scaling upside — for winning start-ups judged by a panel of Coty digital experts. Other benefits for start-ups will include strategic support from Coty’s digital team; priority access to Coty brand executives worldwide; Coty’s domain expertise, including access to proprietary consumer research in the beauty and luxury sectors; and testing their technology with a real brand challenge using Coty budgets for initial pilots.

“Partnerships between Coty and emerging companies such as Beamly and Holition, which launched our first app-free augmented reality (AR) experience exclusively for CoverGirl, is an indication of how we’d like to bring disruptive new approaches to the market in partnership with unique new players in AI, AR, voice and other rapidly growing technologies,” commented Fred Gerantabee, vice president of digital innovation at Coty. “We intend to foster these relationships and look forward to more examples like this coming out of our Digital Accelerator summits.”

Coty launched Digital Accelerator in 2017 to connect its staff to external digital capabilities and start-ups and help spur the development of the company’s digital capabilities. The Digital Accelerator Summit, Coty said, is part of the 2018 series that will provide a wider set of innovative start-ups a forum to connect directly with Coty and its brands through the lens of a specific capability. Upcoming themes will likely include AR, voice and 3-D printing.


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