Getting Down to Business with L’Oréal USA’s Women in Digital Winners
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women face problems when trying to address issues with their own healthcare. Maven was created to offer a personalized way to save time and connect with care providers.
Some telehealth services are available from providers such as Captureproof in San Francisco and, to some degree, from Vidyo in Hackensack, NJ. Ryder says Maven is the only telehealth company focused on female healthcare consumers.
The service is primarily available in New York, and Ryder says she is working on taking Maven national. The expansion plan will include recruiting practitioners who are licensed in multiple states. The ability to message practitioners is coming to Maven next month, Ryder says.
The main customers Maven serves right now, she says, are college-age women and pregnant women, during transitional times in their lives. “When there’s some kind of disruption in your life or daily routine, people are using us,” she says.
This year’s grand prize winner was the most mobile-specific of the trio. Video shopping network MikMak is an iOS app that runs short infomercials for beauty products, accessories, gadgets, and other wares all priced under $100. All the videos are 30 seconds long and the hosts all have backgrounds in comedy. “People think of us as QVC for Snapchat,” Tipograph says.
An entrepreneur throughout her youth, she became an eBay power user at 13. “E-commerce and digital marketing were things that I’ve been doing natively my entire life without thinking twice about it,” she says. That trait continued into her college years. As an undergrad at NYU, Tipograph ran a social media agency for comedians. “That’s when I found a passion for using digital communication to disrupt old business models,” she says.
While in school, she also became a reverse mentor teaching executives at Time Warner about the Internet. She eventually got a job at New York-based digital strategy firm Undercurrent, and later joined the Gap’s marketing team in New York running global social media, hired to increase the company’s appeal among younger consumers. “I knocked a decade off the average customer,” Tipograph says.
But she thought there could be another way to drive sales on the Web beyond promotional e-mails and retargeted advertising. Tipograph found that video had the potential to be as effective as those forms of marketing, without annoying the audience. The trouble was professional video production remained costly for advertising. She looked for a way to bring that kind of quality to the mobile scene—but without the typical six- to seven-figure price tag.
Infomercials looked like the answer, Tipograph says, if they were packaged in short videos to appeal to 18-to-34-year-olds. That is where MikMak came from.
She bootstrapped the development of the prototype, went on to raise $2.1 million, publicly launched MikMak back in June, and got named by Apple as a best new app at the time. Under the first revenue model, MikMak took a percentage of every sale it generated, Tipograph says. As her clientele expanded from small brands to Fortune 500 companies, including American Express and General Electric, sponsored content followed.
Tipograph says MikMak’s appeal is it captures people’s attention when they equally want to be entertained and shop, rather than sneak in an ad while they are watching a show. “I’m not trying to fool them,” she says. “They 100 percent know what we’re doing.”
L’Oréal is building up momentum in its efforts to work with startups, which may help to shape the future for the company. Back in March, L’Oréal USA started working with the New York-based Grand Central Tech accelerator. As this push to see more innovation continues, Weiss says the importance of talking about women in tech and business has not diminished. “This conversation still needs to happen,” she says.