Natura & Co, the Brazilian multinational cosmetics giant behind beauty and skincare brands such as The Body Shop, Aesop, Avon, and Kiehl’s, is currently scouting top Israeli beauty technologies and startups that will change the future of beauty and wellness and promote Natura’s journey towards sustainability in the industry through tech.
The Brazilian company has launched the Natura Innovation Challenge in Israel this month, with Israeli-founded boutique consulting and tech events agency Tech It Forward, to identify promising beauty-related research, technologies, and ventures that further their vision.
Since 1969, São Paulo-based company Natura creates products and services that promote self-care and operates in more than 110 countries with 37,000 stores worldwide. Its revenues reached $36.9 billion in 2020. A unique aspect of the beauty multinational is that its innovation offices are located in the Amazon rainforest. Protecting the Amazon and its people as well as creating sustainable beauty products are important commitments for Natura, the company says.
Tech It Forward, the Israeli agency that aims to be “an innovation bridge maker” between Israeli startups and global firms, will partner with Natura and host the challenge.
“We share strong values with Natura. It’s important for us to be working on projects that matter. Technologies can have a positive impact on the world, on nature and on people. In this project, we focus a lot on sustainability, well-being, and mental health – topics that became even more relevant in a pandemic context,” Tech It Forward co-founder Jennifer Elias tells NoCamels.
The co-founders, which include Elias and Jessica Rosner, said Natura asked them to host the event for a few reasons. First, the company is used to “uncovering the power of Israeli startups and connecting them to partners, investors, and corporations,” Rosner tells NoCamels.
“We are used to being the boots on the ground in Israel for international companies looking into top technologies. Here, we work both with startups and academies, which allows us to have an overview of the ecosystem and trends that can be implemented abroad,” Rosner says.
Second, the company has strong experience working with investors and firms in Brazil and has done so before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, the company has a proven track record of providing the infrastructure to support Israeli founders and help them deliver successful global innovations.
“Natura shares a deep passion for innovation,” Elias says. “Their goal is to develop products, experiences and services that help our consumers feel confident: healthy in their own skin, and have happy and balanced relationships. Therefore, the goal of the challenge is to identify revolutionary startups and entrepreneurs focused on changing the future of beauty, wellness, and consumers’ lives.”
Natura is looking for early-stage technology, digital, and biotech-based ventures from pre-seed to Round A that provide quality products and services backed by academic research. The startups should deliver under five main categories for the Natura Brand and its scientific R&D pipeline, according to the Brazilian firm: diagnosis, recommendation, and customization of products; skin boosters and product performance; multi-sensorial experiences; wellness and mental health solutions; and sustainability and regenerative products and experience.
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The deadline to submit applications to the challenge is June 21st. A number of selected startups and projects will be revealed a month later and will have the opportunity to pitch to leading Natura representatives in the company’s R&D, Innovation, and Operational business units .
All finalist decks and value propositions will be shared with innovation leaders and decision-makers within Natura and will have the opportunity to engage and collaborate with the organization.
“The challenge will reward the relevant technologies that can integrate Natura. The number of partnership opportunities will be set according to the overall level,” Elias says. “What is important for us and Natura is the quality, degree of innovation, how promising the projects are, and how strong the teams are, and how likely the startups are to collaborate with Natura are taken into account.”
The Tech It Forward co-founders tell NoCamels they have received a number of applications for projects that have a high level of AI, VR, and bio-formulas that have impressed the Natura team.
“We are seeing companies that take into account the emotions of the users in shopping experiences, algorithm technologies that support mental illnesses, and sustainable biotechnologies that boost products,” says Rosner.
Israeli beauty and technology
Israel has a long history within the cosmetics industry, which has become one of its strengths, Rosner indicates. From research on the use of Dead Sea minerals to a history of natural products such as olive and almond-made cosmetics, the country has become a go-to for beauty connoisseurs. This coupled with its known prowess in high-tech and R&D has earned the country a global reputation for strong beauty technologies and products.
The Israel Cosmetics Products Market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.21 percent between 2020 to 2025, according to a report from market intelligence and advisory firm Mordor Intelligence. Key trends in the industry include an inclination towards vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics and a growing demand for anti-aging products and innovative and eco-friendly designs, according to the report.
Natura, a brand that has built a reputation for treating the environment responsibly, is coming to Israel to tap into these strengths.
“Natura develops formulas with safe, natural and renewable ingredients from the Amazon rainforest, work together with local forest communities to extract ingredients in a sustainable manner, ensuring opportunity, well-being and income for all and seek innovations inspired by nature and, through sustainable practices, motivate people to keep the forest alive. In addition, they prioritize the use of post-consumer recycled and renewable materials in producing their packaging and refills,” says Elias.
“We are involved in the project from the technology scouting, filtering of the startups and research, to the integration or partnership with Natura and joining their journey towards sustainable, renewable and enhanced cosmetic products and experiences,” she adds.