The annual LVMH Innovation Award propels technology start-ups with a goal of enhancing the luxury retail experience.
Is technology synonymous with luxury and sustainability? Ambitious entrepreneurs applying to the LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) Innovation Award aim to prove it is. The annual award is a pinnacle of recognition, providing financial backing to realize a startup’s ambitions. The award includes an accompanying six-month accelerator program to guide winners through the process of bringing ideas into luxury retail reality—or the metaverse, as the case may be.
Past LVMH Innovation Awards have endorsed live stream video shopping developed by Swedish company Bambuser in 2021, consumer behavior analysis imagined by Dutch software company Crobox in 2020, a smart phone body measurement tool innovated by Silicon Valley 3DLOOK in 2019, and more.
This year, the 6th LVMH Innovation Award went to London-based startup TOSHI for its “wait and try” luxury delivery service for online luxury consumers. Bringing new standards to the delivery of luxury goods, TOSHI offers a check-out delivery option that allows online customers to pick a precise 30-minute delivery spot, and then try on multiple sizes and “inspire me” items without upfront payment. Whichever items a customer doesn’t want are then instantly taken away.
Currently working with LVMH houses Christian Dior Couture, CELINE, Tiffany & Co., Berluti, RIMOWA, and Louis Vuitton, TOSHI’s service uses public transportation and electric vehicles to ensure a carbon neutral delivery. Founded and led by Sojin Lee, who helped launch Net-a-Porter, TOSHI aims to humanize the online customer experience by bringing in-store, real life engagements to customers through a network of stylists at a location that best suits the customer.
The LVMH Innovation Award winners were chosen from 950 applicants from 75 countries by a jury of business, innovation, and entrepreneurial leaders that included LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault. In addition to the overall prize, TOSHI also won in the category of Operations & Manufacturing Excellence.
“We are so thrilled and grateful to win the LVMH Innovation Award,” Lee said in a statement. “Brands are swiftly adapting to the new consumer lifestyle, which has already geared to the on-demand economy in all other elements of their lives, with convenience at its core. Brands must be omnichannel, sustainable, and focus on customer service/experience. We believe that these at-home services that TOSHI provides will become standard, the new norm of shopping in the near future.”
Six other startups were also selected for 2022 category awards, including Geneva-based The ShowCase, which enhances the presentation of watches and jewelry product through live videos (omnichannel and retail; Los Angeles-based MarqVision, which detects counterfeits to remove them from online sales (Data & Artificial Intelligence Special Mention); San Francisco-based Bitski, which creates, sells, and embeds NFTs on brands’ websites, apps, and games (3D/Virtual Product Experience & Metaverse); Nanterre (France)-based Gamino, which offers digital trainings to raise awareness on disabilities (Employee Experience & CSR); Stockholm-based SeenThis, which offers streaming technology that speeds up the display of video ads and content (Media & Brand Awareness); and Paris-based WeTurn, which transforms unsold goods and textiles into new recycled yarns and fabrics (Sustainability).
Announced at a celebrity-filled occasion at the Viva Technology show in Paris each year, this sophisticated shark tank contrasts the mass consumer goals of online fast fashion. Instead, the award supports entrepreneurs looking to improve on retail systems and environmental impact, while providing the ultimate in luxury and user-connected experiences. In addition to the winners, a total of 21 startups from 10 different countries were selected as finalists and 48% of them have a female founder or cofounder.
“At LVMH, Innovation is our lifeblood,” Arnault said in a statement. “It’s what allows us to continually increase the desirability of our Maisons’ products and services. The finalists of the 2022 Innovation Award will bring us their capacity to nourish the encounter between luxury and technology even more, as their entrepreneurial spirit joins and inspires our own.”
Photo courtesy of LVMH