PARIS Dec 27 French cosmetics giant L'Oreal
said on Tuesday it was investing in an early stage
fund managed by private equity firm Partech Ventures, making its
second investment in digital and technology start-ups in less
than a year.
L'Oreal, which makes Armani perfume and Biotherm cream, said
it was investing several million euros in the fund, alongside
companies such as Accenture, Nokia and the United States' Cisco.
It did not give a precise figure.
Partech Ventures, which is based in Paris and has offices in
Berlin and San Francisco, invested in websites such as furniture
retailer made.com and restaurant booking specialist
"These investments in new technology will ... enrich our
brands and their communication, as well as other aspects such as
supply chain, research and innovation," L'Oreal Chief Digital
Officer Lubomira Rochet told Reuters in a telephone interview.
In 2012, L'Oreal set up an internal start-up unit in Silicon
Valley and in May this year, it invested in Founders Factory, a
digital incubator, co-founded by Brent Hoberman, former CEO and
co-founder of lastminute.com.
Some of the new technologies the group developed internally
include My UV Patch, a skin sensor designed to monitor UV
exposure and help consumers educate themselves about sun
L'Oreal made more than 5 percent of its sales online in
2015. Its digital team, which counted some 150 people five years
ago, now totals more than 1,000, with hundreds hired this year.
Last year L'Oreal spent 25.5 percent of its advertising
budget on digital communications and the proportion is expected
to grow as more consumers, particularly in regions such as the
Middle East, use the Internet for beauty tips and purchases.
"Digital has become the heart of the group's marketing
strategy," said Rochet.
Leading markets for e-commerce were the United States,
China, Germany and the United Kingdom while e-commerce sales
were also rising fast in countries such as Russia and Indonesia,
(Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)