Beauty Store Business magazine - January, 2020

Luxury Brand LVMH Launches Startup Incubator in Paris

Multinational luxury conglomerate LVMH has announced the creation of a startup accelerator program at the Station F startup campus in Paris. The program will accept 50 entrepreneurs per year, and with the help of LVMH’s Maisons, the company hopes to quickly bring innovative new products to the luxury market. Within LVMH’s 220-square meter space, 89 work stations will be available to startups.

“Innovation is an integral part of the history of our Maisons, which are often centuries old,” says Bernard Arnault, LVMH’s chairman and CEO. “This is why we know, perhaps better than others, how to find ways of working with startups that benefit us all.”

Station F’s founder, Xavier Niel, added, “We are delighted to have LVMH join Station F as a partner and we are convinced that their expertise in the luxury industry is the most relevant for startups who want to revolutionize it.”

La Maison des Startups will oversee collaboration between experienced LVMH Maisons and startups whose solutions have potential in LVMH’s different business groups, which include: wines and spirits; fashion and leather goods; perfumes and cosmetics; watches and jewelry; and selective retailing.

“Just like Station F, LVMH is a talent incubator,” says Chantal Gaemperle, EVP of human resources & synergies and LVMH executive committee member. “We are delighted that the collaboration between the entrepreneurs of La Maison des Startups program and the talent of our Maisons contributes positively to the development of everyone’s skills. Innovation arises from exchanges and constructive confrontations.”

The first group joined the Station F campus in November 2017, but each year, the 50 selected startups will join in two six-month terms, with over half being announced through LVMH’s Innovation Award. Nearly all selected startups already have some work experience with LVMH Maisons (Moët, Hennessy, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Sephora, etc.), and several other selected startups are LVMH employees whose projects won awards through the LVMH’s DARE (Disrupt, Act, Risk to be an Entrepreneur) initiative dedicated to “intrapreneurship” within the company.

According to Ian Rogers, LVMH’s chief digital officer, “LVMH has long held innovation as a core value. Innovation isn’t just a buzzword at LVMH, it’s a practical obsession, crucial to maintaining our leadership position long-term. Collaborating with startups helps us stay abreast of both business opportunities and ways of working. A healthy startup ecosystem is necessary for a healthy industry.”

In addition to benefitting from Station F’s workspace and environment, selected entrepreneurs will receive personalized coaching and support from LVMH group experts. Networking sessions, workshops and pitch sessions will all be held regularly in order to educate entrepreneurs on the status of the luxury industry while allowing startups to present the evolution of their product to representatives of LVMH Maisons.

Roxanne Varza, director of Station F, added, “It’s a great challenge that awaits those who want to renew the luxury industry all the while maintaining it to the same level of excellence that it is known for, especially in France—who better than LVMH to support luxury startups at Station F? We are proud to have them as partners.”