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Coty Announces Digital Accelerator Start-Up Program

Coty, one of the world’s largest beauty companies, has partnered with Zenith from Publicis Media to launch its AI-focused Digital Accelerator Start-Up Program.

After having a successful Digital Accelerator launch last year, Coty is now releasing a new program for technology start-ups with a competition focused on artificial intelligence innovations at its Quarterly Digital Accelerator Summit.

The new program will be covering a specific series of capabilities, with artificial intelligence (AI) coming first, followed by augmented reality, voice and 3-D printing.

Jason Forbes, Chief Digital and Media Officer at Coty, said:

At Coty, we’re focused on transforming our digital capabilities across the organization, and the launch of the Digital Accelerator represented another step in this transformation. I’m thrilled to take this initiative a step further by bringing external start-ups into the mix. Coty has a growing expertise in partnerships with a breadth of start-ups to drive growth across our brands.

According to the company’s announcement, interested start-ups can submit their best Artificial Intelligence pitch by selecting any Coty brand from its 70+ portfolio by Monday, March 12th.

Submissions should:

• Provide a concise description of what makes the start-up unique in AI;
• Select a specific Coty brand and demonstrate how that brand will benefit from the start up’s AI technology, metrics are a plus; and
• Describe the preferred partnership model to drive in-market trialling.

The eight start-ups will be selected by Coty, based on projected growth impact on one or multiple Coty brands such as GHD, Burberry and Covergirl.


They will then be able to present their ideas to Coty’s brand leaders at its Digital Accelerator Summit on March 27th and 28th in both London and New York City.

The prizes will range from $10,000 to $50,000 and will vary based on criteria fit (brand alignment, growth impact, and scaling upside). In addition to these prizes, there will be amazing benefits, waiting for the winning start-ups:

• 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 industry; and
• Stress testing start-ups’ technology with a real brand challenge using Coty budgets for initial pilots.

Fred Gerantabee, Coty’s VP of digital innovation, said:

Partnerships between Coty and emerging companies such as Beamly and Holition, which launched our first an 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. We intend to foster these relationships and looks forward to more examples like this coming out of our Digital Accelerator summits.

Benoit Cacheux, global digital & innovation Lead at Zenith, said:

We’re really excited to work closely with Coty across this important strategic capability. Zenith and Publicis Media have been able to unlock a suite of great AI start-ups and we look forward to introducing more through this important initiative.

Supporting an “act like a start-up” culture, Coty team is thrilled to have a strong relationship with start-ups who are aiming to create innovative ideas to improve the beauty industry.

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