NEW YORK — Colgate-Palmolive has announced the winners of the Colgate Connect Challenge, its first-ever global pitch competition aimed at startups from around the world focused on developing world-changing products to promote healthy futures.
The challenge sought to connect Colgate with external startups offering innovative solutions in three areas: quantified health and analytics; smart and connected packaging & digital consumer engagement; and products and platforms for underserved populations. Six finalists were selected from a large pool of applicants to pitch their ideas and answer questions from the panel of judges at the January 6, 2022 event.
Colgate originally planned to select only one winner, but there were so many promising submissions from high-caliber startups that the judges decided to award three cash prizes as follows:
Grand Prize: Dermala, www.Dermala.com, USA – $20,000
Based in San Diego, Dermala uses the human microbiome and analytics to create personalized products for skin health and treatment of chronic skin conditions. The Colgate judges were excited about the potential to collaborate with Dermala to support the Company’s growing skin health business lines and develop superior topical and ingestible products with a consumer-friendly digital engagement platform.
Said Lada Rasochova, Founder and Chief Executive Officer DERMALA: “We are incredibly honored to be recognized as the winner of the 2022 Colgate Connect Challenge. DERMALA leverages a cutting-edge scientific understanding of the human microbiome and data analytics to develop novel solutions for a variety of skin conditions including acne, eczema, and skin aging. We look forward to partnering with Colgate-Palmolive as we continue to develop more innovative products that incorporate the microbiome in a novel, unique, and unexpected way.”
Second Place: The SkinDNA Company, www.skindna.com.au/, Australia – $15,000
SkinDNA has developed a unique wearable patch for collection and subsequent analysis of the skin microbiome and RNA of skin biomarkers. Their Skin RNATM product and platform facilitates targeted product recommendations and results tracking for consumers.
Special Judges Award: Gennev, www.gennev.com/, USA – $10,000
Gennev provides an online clinic and coaching for women in underserved populations experiencing menopause. The company also offers products for sale via their direct-to-consumer store. Collaborating with Gennev can potentially provide Colgate with valuable consumer insights to develop superior oral and skin care products tailored to this demographic.
Additional finalists included Nutix (Switzerland), a salivary multiparameter detection platform; FamilySelfCare (France), a DIY personalization system for skin and wellbeing; and Dentulu (USA), a tele-dentistry hardware and software system.
Raj Kohli, Vice President of Global R&D & Technology Strategy for Colgate-Palmolive and one of the four judges on the panel, said, “Open innovation and collaboration with the global startup ecosystem is incredibly valuable to our innovation efforts as we fulfill Colgate’s purpose to reimagine a healthier future for all people, their pets and our planet. We were extremely impressed with the field of competitors and congratulate all of the exceptional finalists who presented exciting innovative service and technology solutions to meet the future needs of our consumers.”
Kohli was joined on the judging panel by Thomas Serval – serial entrepreneur and CEO of Baracoda, a startup collaborating with Colgate on connected smart toothbrushes, Will Decker – VP and Head of the Brand & Retail at Plug and Play startup accelerator, and Dr. Maria Ryan – Colgate’s Chief Clinical Officer.
The event was hosted in conjunction with Plug and Play, a startup accelerator and venture capital investment company headquartered in Silicon Valley. Originally planned to be held in Las Vegas during the week of the Consumer Electronics Show, it was held virtually due to Covid restrictions.