Luxury Innovation Summit – Investors and Startups in Geneva – Trends & style
What were the takeaways for these Davids and Goliaths?
Founded by Deependra Pandey and organized since 2019 by her Switzerland-based Luxury Venture Group, the Luxury Innovation Summit welcomes innovative entrepreneurs in the luxury industry and connects them with investors who can support them in their growth. Projects built around the circular economy and sustainable development are particularly encouraged. An integral part of the summit, the Luxury Innovation Awards reward the best projects in five categories. International in its outlook, the 2022 edition was held at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva on October 19 and 20. round tables and inviting members of its Club de la Haute Horlogerie to admire the fabulous products on display. We asked some of the main cast for their thoughts.
Members of the jury including Suzanne Wong, editor-in-chief of WorldTempus © Matthew Croizier
Mutual Dependence – Stephanie Crespin (Category Winner, Reflaunt)
Winner in the Circular Economy / Pre-Loved category, the founder of the circular fashion platform Reflaunt is no stranger to this type of event. “It’s so important that big business decision makers and the people who shape the fashion industry sit down with small entrepreneurs like us. Otherwise, we have no voice or influence. Here we can show big brands that there are effective and workable solutions to the climate problem and the need for circularity. We need the bands and they need us. They’ve been working a certain way for a long time and don’t have our agility to adapt, iterate or test fast enough. We are in the midst of an environmental crisis that demands radical change in a short period of time. It’s a huge challenge. His conclusion: “Startups are able to imagine solutions that are disconnected from legacy or an old way of thinking. They can show these Goliaths how to move and adapt.
A Collective Effort – Tirath Kamdar (eBay Luxury)
An investor and startupper himself, eBay’s General Manager Luxury came from California for the event. “We are seeing a slew of initiatives in luxury, most of which revolve around innovations that drive growth,” he said. “At the same time, we see the need to coordinate and connect. At the end of the day, it is a community and a collective effort, and in this respect, the main interest of the event is its diversity and its spirit. Hopefully, this will result in many collaborations, whether in the circular economy, blockchain technology, traceability or transparency. These are all areas that luxury will have to embrace. With 138 million active buyers worldwide, Tirath Kamdar is convinced that eBay has a role to play: “Luxury is one of our three global priorities. We want to build trust and transparency around brands to connect them with the next generation of luxury buyers. We believe eBay can convey this message.
Tirath Kamdar, Stanislas de Quercize, Alain-Dominique Perrin and Deependra Pandrey (right) present the circularity prize to Stéphanie Crespin (Reflaunt) © Tony Altermatt
Entrepreneurship – Josh Pullan (Sotheby’s)
The head of Sotheby’s Global Luxury division, which had one of the largest stands at the summit showcasing a selection of watches that will cross the block in upcoming sales, was also a speaker on the Innovation, Trends and Creativity panel. Here’s what he had to say: “I was truly impressed by the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of everyone who pitched a project, whether it was for a product, data or service. These entrepreneurs fill the space of luxury wonderfully. The presence of Sotheby’s here is an opportunity to meet the luxury community through all our categories of watches, jewellery, spirits and leather goods. Sotheby’s was established in 1744, but we are driven by innovation and entrepreneurship.
The role of Geneva – Chabi Nouri (Mirabaud Asset Management)
A partner at Mirabaud Asset Management, the luxury investment fund of Mirabaud (one of the summit’s premium partners), the former CEO of Piaget believes that the summit is an asset for Geneva, which has many links with the luxury industry, and that the city should do more to promote the event internationally. She has nothing but admiration “for people who continue to take risks to define the world of tomorrow and have a positive impact. The many Geneva investors should rejoice, especially in the luxury sector. Asked about the public and the selected startups, she praised the international dimension and the quality of the projects: “These are companies with a business model that works. This ecosystem is not just for product-focused projects. It matches the expectations of new luxury, its experiences and the way customers want to engage today. More than digitization, in my opinion, this is the break that luxury has been waiting for. Customers choose how they interact with and experience the brand. It is a disruptive challenge for our industry and the summit reflected this aspect in all its diversity. Chabi Nouri hopes the organizers will benefit from greater international media coverage and stronger links with investors.
Luxury Innovation Summit 2022 © Matthew Croizier
See all the finalists and their awards on luxuryinnovationsummit.com