The third edition of the L'Oréal Innovation Runway took place at the SLINGSHOT 2019 stage during SFF x SWITCH, the inaugural collaboration between Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) and the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH), where global startups could potentially collaborate with L’Oréal R&I on their respective technologies.
As 68% of the world population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050, with significant contribution coming from Asian cities, the challenge theme this year aims to seek for innovative solutions across different industries and technology verticals to address these potential challenges in the urban future.
The 3 challenge categories are: Diverse and Interconnected (solutions for the unique needs of each individual), Urban Living (solutions to address environmental and lifestyle stressors), and Sustainability (solutions to protect and benefit our environment and community).
With an overwhelming response of submissions from all regions worldwide, 9 startups from all over the world were invited to pitch their technologies at the Semi-Finals in Singapore. Out of the 9 Semi-Finalists, 5 of them made it to the finals: Ecoworth Tech Pte Ltd, FutureFarms Agro Technologies Pte Ltd, Inverse Hair, KBCols Sciences Pvt. Ltd and Maiden Therapeutics. The 5 Finalists were given the opportunity to pitch their technologies to a wide global audience (i.e. startup ecosystem, potential investors, the media) and a distinguished panel of judges from L’Oréal, represented by the Research & Innovation Country Directors for Singapore and India, Digital Partnership Director for APAC, and Garnier’s Direction of Marketing Innovation Brand Director for APAC. To complete the panel, prominent external judges were also invited: Assistant CEO for Innovation & Enterprise of Enterprise Singapore, and an angel investor and Co-founder of IncuVest Pte Ltd.
Ultimately, Ecoworth Tech (Singapore) and FutureFarms Agro (India) emerged as the two winners and were each awarded S$5,000 L'Oréal Cash Prize, a S$50,000 StartupSG grant, mentorship opportunities and the chance for a L’Oréal collaboration. One of the winners, FutureFarms Agro, also won the L'Oréal Sustainability Prize of S$25,000 at our partner startup competition.
EcoWorth Tech specializes in converting waste materials into reusable products that delivers environmental benefits through the commercialization of ‘Carbon Fibre Aerogel’ Technology to treat waste water. FutureFarms Agro focuses on the sustainable farming of horticulture crops that are powered by their proprietary IoT platform.
L’Oreal R&I Asia Director Advanced Research Labs and Business Development, Mark Phong, spoke of the importance of platforms as L’Oréal Innovation Runway to boost interactions and collaborations on innovative solutions, including startups from parallel or cross-industry technologies that we could potentially tap on in the future. Organising startup challenges such as the L'Oréal Innovation Runway is a great opportunity for R&I to actively reach out to the global startup ecosystem, in a cross-industry and cross-technology vertical manner, to search for innovative solutions to meet the growing needs of our domains. It also strengthens our commitment to engage with external scientific and entrepreneurial community to co-develop innovative solutions for our consumers.
About Our Partners:
NUS Enterprise – the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS)
Startup SG -- a leading startup hub in Singapore – the government agency championing enterprise development
Enterprise SG – the government agency championing enterprise development that supports the growth of Singapore as a hub for global trading and startups
Get in The Ring – a global startup platform that connects founders to global opportunities and is part of Unknown group, an innovation agency specializes in technology scouting