L’Oréal Celebrates Women Entrepreneurs from Digital World

L’Oréal USA is celebrating the digital realm of beauty with its Women in Digital program, which honors female entrepreneurs who have built innovative online businesses, reported WWD.

The event honored the top three of more than 1,600 nominees at New York City’s Three Sixty Degrees as part of the firm’s annual Next Generation Awards. Now in its second year, the affair boasted a great deal of digital invention.

“A very small percentage of start-ups are started by women,” Marc Speichert, L’Oréal’s chief marketing officer, said to WWD. “Our primary target is women at L’Oréal, so what a great opportunity to identify women that create their own digital platforms and partner with them so that we can have a landscape designed by women for women.”

The winners were selected based on their ability to reform and alter the boundaries of the digital landscape and supply future technologies that L’Oréal could use.

“The whole program has been evolving, and we now have all these amazing companies and entrepreneurs that we can go to to solve business problems and challenges that we didn’t have before we started this program,” said Rachel Weiss, vice president of digital strategy and innovation for L’Oréal USA. “I’m meeting with people all the time, which allows me to optimize those relationships and bring early state technology to life.”

The winners for 2013 were Heather Marie, founder and CEO of 72Lux; Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, founder and CEO of Joyus; and Kelsey Falter, founder and CEO of Poptip. An advisory board of featuring L’Oréal executives, venture capital partners and the L’Oréal USA Women in Digital board of advisors were responsible for choosing the honorees.

Marie’s 72Lux, a software corporation, produces a technology that allows digital publishers to vend the items they feature. When shoppers desire to make a purchase, they click on the good and a light box appears that corresponds to the site’s branding, enabling the customer to purchase the item on the spot.

“We can do a lot of innovative things that maybe no one else has tried yet,” said Marie. “Because it takes guts to put your brand out there.”

Singh Cassidy uses her company Joyus to create an online video shopping experience for her female customers through her fashion, beauty, health, fitness and lifestyle professionals, who use their expertise to help shoppers discover the perfect items.

“Think of it as a premium [interactive] video with the ability to shop,” said Singh Cassidy. “It’s authentic storytelling, premium production value and awesome products.”

Poptip, a software platform produced by Falter, engages crowd participation through its text analysis algorithm. The platform offers Poptip Questions, which allows users to ask questions and surveys through social media, and Poptip Zipline, which supplies real-time conversation synthesis for news outlets.

“From a news perspective, CNN asked a question last Friday about the Zimmerman trial, and they were able to incorporate the crowd’s opinion into their actual news reporting,” said Falter. “So instead of just airing a single tweet on air, they’re able to show this is what thousands of people have said in real time and show that information.”

Concluding the evening, Weiss announced that L’Oréal Women in Digital will be teaming up with Girls Who Code, a major nonprofit dedicated to ending the gender gap in the technology and engineering fields. Weiss handed them a college scholarship of $25,000 for one of their students to obtain a degree in a technology-related field.

“My dream is that these girls can one day work at a company like L’Oréal,” said Weiss, declaring that the company also sponsored an inside competition to stimulate brands to discover methods to implement new technology. “Our goal is to create technology by women for women, and we need women internally just as much as we need to support the external community.”

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Photo Courtesy of WWD

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