- L’Oréal’s venture capital fund Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development, or BOLD, announced a minority investment in metaverse and NFT startup Digital Village last week as part of a $4 million funding round for the company. This is L’Oréal’s fist venture capital investment in the metaverse and Web3 space, according to a company press release.
- Digital Village operates as a virtual world building platform and NFT marketplace. The Venture Reality Fund, a VC tech firm that specializes in VR and AR, co-led the funding round with BOLD. Venrex, British Fashion Council, and others also participated.
- Digital Village will use the investment to build new tools for virtual store creation, advanced avatar customization and 3D world development, as well as for overall enhancement of the platform's capabilities.
L’Oréal’s investment in Digital Village demonstrates a confidence and interest in opportunities for the beauty industry within the metaverse.
“As L’Oréal continues to explore and define what beauty means in Web3, we seek to work with the most promising startups who adhere to the highest possible visual and technical standards,” Chief Metaverse and Web3 Officer Camille Kroely said in a statement. “We are excited to be partnering with Digital Village, whose solutions will be powerful enablers for our brands and whose ideals of sustainability, accessibility, and interoperability in the metaverse or Web3 are ones we share.”
Digital Village, which describes itself as a metaverse-as-a-service platform, creates custom virtual 3D worlds for business partners. Because of the immersive spaces, there's potential for brands to build both their digital identities and boost in-person brand recognition, as well as potentially generate sales. The online spaces can connect to retailers' existing websites and social channels.
The company also serves as an NFT marketplace for brands, creators, and communities. Founded in 2021 by CEO Evelyn Mora, Digital Village’s resume includes collaborations with the United Nations and Women’s Wear Daily.
“Today, users click a link in a brand’s profile and are directed to a website for a solo shopping experience, but Digital Village is creating an avenue for users to visit a 3D virtual world and come together for social experiences where brands can engage with customers in a more meaningful way,” Mora said in a statement.
Connecting to the metaverse is a trend many brands are exploring.
Companies like Forever 21, Gucci, Walmart and Gap have launched their own online spaces on Roblox within the last year or so. H&M released a metaverse-inspired collection in December that could be tried on virtually by customers. NYX Professional Makeup debuted its spring 2023 collection located in iHeartLand exclusively on Roblox last month.
This month, L’Oréal's venture fund also invested in Prinker Korea, which manufactured what it calls the world's first digital temporary tattoo device, and the beauty company also unveiled two tech-enabled makeup applicators. Previous investments by BOLD include social selling platform Replika Software.