L’Oréal spent the summer accepting applications from prospective digital change agents. And now the three finalists for what is the sixth annual Women in Digital NEXT Generation Award have been announced.
“For the past five years, L'Oréal has sought out women-led businesses poised to grow the beauty industry through cutting-edge technologies,” Rachel Weiss, vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship at L'Oréal USA, tells the press. “This year, our advisory board and strategic committee chose three companies with technology at the core that allow consumers to interact with beauty in new and exciting ways.”
Strength in numbers
Now that L’Oréal has been running this awards program for several years, a lot of women business leaders in tech have gotten to know one another’s work and formed a sort of alliance thanks to the awards initiative.
“Since its inception, the L'Oréal Women in Digital program has created a network of more than 2,000 female-operated companies. Previous winners have experienced tremendous business growth and have collectively raised over $300 million in funding,” as a media release about the 2017 finalists explains.
This is because each year’s award winners get to connect with entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists that can advise and encourage them to accomplish even more. And the prior winners make up a welcoming network of professional women in beauty and tech too.
In the running
Three brands will now compete for the top honor. This year’s prospective L’Oréal Women in Digital NEXT Generation Award winners follow. (The descriptions here are taken verbatim from the company’s press release.)
- ShearShare - Courtney Caldwell, co-founder and COO: Courtney Caldwell is the co-founder and COO of beauty-tech startup, ShearShare, the first on-demand salon and barbershop space rental app. ShearShare gives licensed beauty and barbering professionals the freedom and flexibility to rent workspace by the day, while salon and barbershop owners make money on unused space.
- HelloAva - Siqi Mou, founder: Siqi Mou of HelloAva has been a beauty enthusiast since a young age but was frustrated at the consumption of skincare products, as many consumers cannot correctly identify their skin types. To address this issue, she built an app that includes a chatbot, who answers questions directly via text and makes personalized product recommendations based on feedback.
- Shine - Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey, cofounders: Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey are the co-founders of Shine, a texting service making well-being more accessible through the power of daily messaging. By sending daily affirmations, they are doing their part to help women and men feel more confident, productive and happy.