NEW YORK - September 15, 2016 - L’Oréal USA Women in Digital, a program created to support and promote female entrepreneurship in technology, today announced the three finalists of its fifth annual NEXT Generation Awards: Blavity founder, Morgan DeBaun; Pixels.IO founder, Grace Woo; and Viddyad founder and CEO, Grainne Barron. Each finalist will have the opportunity to present at L’Oréal USA’s internal marketing conference, Inspiration Day, on Friday, September 16 to more than 450 marketing executives who represent all of L’Oréal USA’s brands. Following live presentations, all attending executives will vote to award one entrepreneur the chance to pilot her technology within the company.
The finalists were chosen based on their ability to scale and solve for need gaps among L’Oréal brands and span a diverse range of capabilities:
● Blavity - Morgan DeBaun, founder: Morgan DeBaun is the founder of Blavity, a tech media startup and digital community that creates content for Black millennials who aren't represented in mainstream culture. The company partners with diverse content creators and influencers to help them reach a wider audience, amplify their message and fund their passion projects. Blavity believes that the world shifts according to the way people see it. Since founding Blavity in 2014, Morgan has been recognized nationwide as Forbes 30 under 30 and SxSW Black Innovator of the year.
● Pixels.IO - Grace Woo, founder: Grace Woo is the founder of VRCodes and Pixels.IO, a company working to bring VRCodes to the public. Turning every screen into an interactive experience by offering an unobtrusive alternative to QR Codes, content creators can embed VRCodes into any form of digital media and a smartphone will recognize and respond to it. Invisible to the human eye, VRCodes hide in the flickering light of a screen thanks to the way they leverage how eyes see differently than cameras. Grace holds a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.
● Viddyad - Grainne Barron, founder and CEO: Grainne Barron is the founder and CEO of Viddyad, an award-winning platform that enables businesses and brands to create, edit, publish and distribute videos online in minutes. With a built-in content library, easy-to-use editor and affordable pricing, Viddyad opens up the world of video advertising to everyone. Since founding Viddyad in 2013, Grainne has been listed as one of the most influential business leaders in technology in Ireland, won the PWC Most Innovative Startup award and received the WEB SUMMIT Spark of Genius award for Best European Technology Innovator.
Celebrating its fifth year, the L’Oréal USA Women in Digital program, has fed over 2,000 women-operated companies into the L’Oréal innovation pipeline. Additionally, the company is currently collaborating with several previous Next Generation Award winners and finalists on current projects including Poshly CEO and founder Doreen Bloch; Snaps founder and CEO Vivian Rosenthal and Rachel Tipograph, Founder Mik Mak.
“The 2016 Next Generation finalists are an impressive group of women who embody the spirit of the Women in Digital program and have created innovative business solutions with the potential to revolutionize the beauty industry,” stated Rachel Weiss, VP Innovation and Entrepreneurship at L'Oréal USA. “These women will enrich the community of visionary female entrepreneurs we have assembled over the past five years, and through the program we will empower them through mentorship, collaboration and the ability to scale their cutting-edge ideas into transformative technologies.”
The Women in Digital program also offers winners career mentorship from the L’Oréal USA Women in Digital Advisory Board, which includes: Joanne Bradford, Chief Operating Officer, SoFi; Cheryl Cheng, Partner, BlueRun Ventures; Beth Comstock, Vice Chair, General Electric; Carolyn Everson, Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook; Brooke Hammerling, Founder, Brew; Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO, Thrive Global; Jalak Jobanputra, Managing Director and Founding Partner, FuturePerfect Ventures; Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-Founder, Ellevest; Karin Klein, Founding Partner, Bloomberg Beta; Ann Miura-Ko, Co-Founding Partner at Floodgate; Kara Nortman, Partner, Upfront Ventures.
L'Oréal USA is the largest subsidiary of the L'Oréal Group, the world’s leading beauty company. L’Oréal USA manages a portfolio of more than 30 iconic beauty brands, including Garnier, Giorgio Armani Beauty, Kérastase, Lancôme, La Roche-Posay, L’Oréal Paris and Yves Saint Laurent Beauté. L’Oréal USA also serves as the international hub for the product development and marketing strategy for L’Oréal’s 15 American brands: Baxter of California, Carol’s Daughter, Clarisonic, Dermablend, Essie, Kiehl’s, Matrix, Maybelline New York, Mizani, NYX Professional Makeup, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Redken, Softsheen-Carson, SkinCeuticals and Urban Decay. Generating more than $6 billion in sales annually, L’Oréal USA is committed to growth through sustainable innovation, driven by the company’s Sharing Beauty With All ambition for sustainable development across the Group’s value chain. The company is headquartered in New York City, employs more than 10,000 people, and operates administrative, research, manufacturing and distribution facilities across 13 states, including Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Washington. For more information, visit www.lorealusa.com or follow on Twitter @LOrealUSA.