Aimee Mullins, L’Oréal Talk Progress for Women in Innovation
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smartphones. The spread of mobile computing, Breazeal said, helped familiarize the public with the idea of using devices in their daily lives. Thanks to the crowdfunding campaign, she said, the Jibo team is focusing on getting their product ready for the expected first release in December 2015.
Glamsquad’s Eisner is also trying to make innovation part of consumers’ daily lives. Her company has developed an on-demand app and online beauty service that sends hair and makeup artists to customers. Users of the iPhone app can book appointments in real-time. Eisner said she saw a place in the market for this service, which can come in handy particularly when traveling. Rather than packing a hairdryer and other supplies, she said, one can book a visit from beauty professionals through Glamsquad. Eisner said her company is expanding and also looking into other industries. “We want to scale the business to different cities,” she said. “We’re beginning to launch L.A.”
Meanwhile, Shareablee is expanding overseas, offering its analytics and intelligence to marketers for their social media campaigns. Yuki said she saw both confusion and opportunity in the social sphere, which led to Shareblee’s creation. She is a veteran of Comscore, and prior to starting Shareablee, she led the development of an online-video measurement tool. “Pretty much anything I build will be data-related,” Yuki said.
For instance, that video tool made it possible to foresee certain outcomes of marketing campaigns, but social media remained unpredictable. Yuki wanted to figure out the driving factors that make content popular in social media, and worked that into Shareablee’s platform. “Is it time of day? Is it type of content?” she asked. “How can we use data to make it easy and clear for a marketer to know how to take all of these variables and make a good decision?”
While women continue to make strides as entrepreneurs, Yuki said they still must push back at times against wrong assumptions. “There can be a perception that we’re not building scalable, big idea companies.” After the awards, Yuki was on her way to Brazil to get Shareablee launched there for Social Media Week São Paulo.
Rachel Weiss, vice president of digital innovation at L’Oréal USA, said her company continues to run Women in Digital to find new ideas that can help its own business strategy. (She heads up the program.) “We looked at who can help us solve an issue for L’Oréal that we can’t do ourselves,” Weiss said.
The company’s effort to encourage women in innovation goes beyond last week’s awards. For example, Weiss said L’Oréal worked with Hackbright Academy this year to create a scholarship for women to learn to code. “Not only do we want to support women entrepreneurs, we want to drive talent into our own organization,” she said.