On the morning of April 26, 2017, an e-mail from Thomas Meier from the founding office of the University of Freiburg popped up at our place. The subject "Open Innovation Cosmetics". The content was really promising: it was about matching events of startups from the cosmetic and healthcare industries with the big and international players. This should take place on18th to 19th of October 2017, in Paris, at Cosmetic360, the trade fair for innovative technologies and cosmetics products.
The application process was more than detailed and we had to drop the proverbial "pants" in all respects. After that, the cosmetics manufacturers had the opportunity for over 60 days to screen appropriate startups and arrange appointments with them directly online. Actually, we did not raise so much hope until the first match with L'Oreal and then a few days later with Johnson & Johnson tool place. Exactly the targets of our product idea that we wanted! But back to the track of the ICE Mannheim-Paris on the cold Octobre the 19th in the early morning.
The train journey was quicker than expected and the time flew straight away as we arrived in the vibrant heart of the French metropolis. From Gare de l'Este, it was only a stone's throw to the Carrousel du Louvre, the venue of Cosmetic360.In the expansive basement of the opulent Carrousel du Louvre the Cosmetic360 extended. The halls of the various areas of raw materials, packaging, new formulations and even digital measuring instruments and finished products ran in a star shape from a central meeting area. A mecca for innovations and innovators, such as flacons out of sugar and wearables that can define the most appropriate sun exposure time for the skin. And in the very middle of it all: we. A truly perfect place for getting inspired establish new contacts. At 14 o'clock the starting signal for our matching dates was given.
Match Number One: Johnson & Johnson's Innovation Department, with a whopping € 300 billion in annual sales of the pharmaceutical and consumer goods industry par excellence. 30 minutes of baptism of fire. In a constructive, friendly, but nevertheless very critical conversation, we explained to the two innovation managers of J & J our product idea, use cases, target groups, state of the art and milestones for the future as well as market entry and our ideas of cooperation. Intense minutes after which the heads of all meeting participants were smoking.
The feedback: unbelievable! As soon as our prototype is ready to present, we are very welcome to the J&J’s research department in the wonderful northern French region of Normandy. And yes, J&J can very well imagine working together in future with us. What a result! Our sunscreen shower has really aroused the minds of the innovation managers there.
The perfect mood to go into the following conversation with L'Oreal. The same starting situation: 30 minutes pitch including question and answer session. Similar questions, similar answers, open output. We were able to arouse the interest. Unfortunately, there was no clear agreement on how it could go on, we will stay in touch...
Let’s wait and see what happens. But at least, you learn with each conversation and this time we could learn that we need less volume of sunscreen to cover the skin surface by spraying in comparison with the conventional manual application. Very good, will include that in our R&D.
What followed after our baptisms of fire? A lot of networking, in our focus: the packaging manufacturers. Especially the sugar-based packaging solution as well as smaller natural cream manufacturers were of great interest to us, because they fit perfectly into our sustainability approach. At four o'clock we were really exhausted and started our way back home, but not without a small dinner in one of the many brasseries in Paris. If you are already in Paris, then you should miss to enjoy this culinary enjoyment.
Completely exhausted, but with a lot of new contacts and opportunities to enforce our business idea with strong partners faster and more far-reaching, we finally arrived at about 22 o’clock in the dark and cold on the track of Mannheim Hauptbahnhof. Time for a warm coffee, again.