Unilever says startups’ influence is only set to increase

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever says startups’ influence is only set to increase

Related tags Startup company Venture capital Investment Johnson & johnson innovation

Unilever has asserted that startups are likely to play a significant role in defining consumer goods industries in the period ahead.

This is the findings of a recent global study carried out by Unilever's innovation platform, Unilever Foundry. The ‘State of Innovation’ report says there will be “no slowing down in the influence of startups and innovators​”, according to the Business Review Europe.

The fast moving consumer goods player has been investing strongly in startups for several years already,​ and its recent report suggests it is set to continue in this vein.

Its primary conclusion was that startups and corporates will be working side-by-side by 2025, a consequence of the ever-evolving needs of consumers forcing corporations to be on top of developing trends,​” says Business Review Europe.

The report suggests investment in startups will become 'business-critical' rather than just an optional extra in five years time.

Startup interest high across the industry

Generally, beauty and personal care players seem united in an enthusiasm to seek out high-potential investments in startups.

L’Oréal, the beauty industry leader, has been a big investor in startups, and has launched various initiatives to help it better tap into their potential, including partnering up with incubator Founders Factory.

The company has said it intends to launch ‘two new companies a year’, and kicked off this year with an investment into an early stage fund managed by Partech Venture,​ an international venture capital firm specialising in tech and digital.

Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the innovation platform attached to consumer goods multinational in health and personal care Johnson & Johnson, earlier this year launched a new pitching concept to seek out startup talent at the in-cosmetics Global edition.

It’s definitely a trend that reaches right across the supply chain: indeed, specialty chemicals player Evonik has just invested to gain a minority stake in a biotech startup.

Where are startups having most impact for beauty?

Biotech seems a hot topic: indeed, the winner of Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s pitching event was a biotech player.

Wearable technology, connected beauty and artificial intelligence are all areas under the umbrella of digital where startups also appear to have huge potential for beauty.

Recently, for example, L’Oréal released a smart hairbrush​ as one of the latest gadgets to come from its tech incubator platform.

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