Frequently Asked Questions

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About Unilever

  • In September 2021, Unilever launched Positive Beauty Growth Platform, powered by The Unilever Foundry. The platform helps us connect entrepreneurs, pioneers and new ideas into all of our beauty and personal care categories so our brands stay ahead of the curve.

    Through a series of Challenges, the Positive Beauty Growth Platform invites the very best scaleups and startups from around the world to collaborate on projects at the forefront of innovation and technology in the beauty industry.

  • Our aim is to identify and partner with startups and scaleups that will work with us to further advance our capabilities and to help us meet our commitments towards a biodegradable and sustainable future.

  • Our Beauty & Personal Care division is a €20 billion business, home to some of the world’s most loved brands such as Dove, Axe, TRESemme and Love Beauty and Planet. This challenge will be spearheaded by our Chief R&D Officer, Richard Slater, and his leadership team.

  • There may be opportunities with one or more of our brands. Unilever Beauty & Personal Care is home to some of the world’s most beloved brands. Our portfolio includes Dove, Clear, Ponds, Lux, Axe, Rexona (Sure, Degree), Shea Moisture, Lifebuoy, Vaseline, Nexxus, Dollar Shave Club, Paula’s Choice, Dermalogica, Murad, and many more.

  • This is a unique opportunity to present your company to a panel of senior executives and key decision makers at one of the world’s leading companies. We are committed and ready to partner with those companies that can help us accelerate our journey into more sustainable beauty. Through this process we will also be looking to identify scaleups and startups who share our Positive Beauty for People and Planet vision and support our mission.

  • We believe in Positive Beauty, for people and planet. We believe in beauty that not only does less harm but also does more good.

    Through our beauty and personal care brands, we’re taking action to drive positive change. We’re setting out to transform the systems that hold individuals back – by advocating new policies, laws and social norms that will promote inclusion, health, and wellbeing for all members of society.

    With more than 1 billion people using our products every day, we have an opportunity to use our scale for good. We’re embracing a new era of beauty. One that’s inclusive. Equitable. Regenerative. Positive. So that people and the planet can thrive together.

    Read more about our vision and commitments here:

Evaluation criteria & eligibility

  • All submissions will be assessed according to the following criteria

    1. How well the solution fits Unilever’s ingredient needs and environmental goals
    2. How well the solution fits Unilever’s ingredient needs and environmental goals
    3. Speed and ability to scale
    4. Functional capability
    5. Uniqueness of value proposition (killer USP)
    6. Evidence (IP, research papers, patents, existing partnerships)
  • We are looking for market signals that demonstrate that you can do what you say you do. This can be demonstrated by highlighting key figures such as funding, revenue, third party certification, customer reviews, Technology Readiness Level etc.

  • As a starting point, we are looking for partners with the ability to deliver in one or more of our priority markets of USA, India, China, UK, Brazil, and Indonesia.

  • We are looking to engage everyone from seed startups to late stage (pre-IPO) scaleups. While we prefer to work with established startups and scaleups, we know that great innovation usually starts small, so we’d love to hear from you regardless of where you are on your journey.

  • You will have the opportunity to get face time with the Unilever global Beauty & Personal Care executive team, and selected companies from the challenge showcase day will have the opportunity to explore a commercial partnership with one of our brands or categories. There will not be investment or funding.

Challenge process

  • Applications will be open from March 9th to April 11th at 23.59 (BST).

    Our team will be available to answer questions during an Open Forum session taking place on March 23rd. Please submit your questions ahead of time by emailing

    We will be hosting two sessions:

    • Morning session: 10AM BST
    • Afternoon session: 16:00 BST

    Click here to join the Open Forum session

    The shortlist of companies invited to the final stage will be announced on May 12th. The 4-6 selected companies will showcase their solution to our senior leadership the week of May 23rd

  • The application process will close on April 11th at midnight and all candidates can expect to hear back from us no later than May 12th. Due to the number of applications, we receive, we sadly won’t be able to provide feedback to everyone.

  • Shortlisted companies will present to a panel of senior executives in our Beauty & Personal Care division the week of May 23rd in a virtual event. Don’t worry, you will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions before you present, and we’ll help you prepare to make sure you put your best foot forward!

  • We may still work with you even if you don’t get shortlisted for this specific challenge. Our brands are always on the lookout for partners who meet specific needs . We will keep you in our database and hope to reconnect when new opportunities arise.

  • This is our second Challenge. At the end of last year, we launched our first Challenge which targeted Social Commerce as we set to find revolutionary partners in the world of livestream commerce, shoppable media, group buying and gaming commerce.

    274 startups and scaleups applied to get involved, and a panel of Unilever experts shortlisted the entries down to 33 brilliant candidates, from seed-stage through to billion-dollar businesses, and from all corners of the globe.

    Our first live event in November saw five of these innovators present to our panel – a group of senior leaders, brand and category leads who are looking to level up in the social commerce space.

    Our panel (and the hundreds in attendance of the virtual event) heard great pitches showcasing impressive tech and smart solutions, and we are now working to form partnerships and kick off pilot projects: accelerating our consumer experiences through open innovation and bringing our Positive Beauty strategy to life. In fact, this has stimulated dozens of pilot discussions across our entire Beauty and Personal Care business.

    Thanks to all 33 startups for their participation. We are excited to share highlights from the five companies who were invited to pitch:

    Firework is fast approaching Unicorn status and is a definite rocket ship to watch. This California-founded livestream-enabler is already making waves in the sector, allowing brands to create short, shoppable videos and host engaging, responsive livestream events embedded into websites.

    Playrcart is a UK-born global, multi-format, transactional ad solution that enables consumers to make a purchase within an ad, at the moment of intent. This truly shoppable media enables brands to convert their digital marketing assets into instantly transactable storefronts to boost advertising interaction and sales for global brands.

    inSTREAMLY, based in Poland with a global reach, specialises in connecting brands with micro-influencers in the gaming live streaming sector, and it offers brands an opportunity to appear inside streams, or even react to the outcome of a streamed game, to reach new audiences.

    Avana Indonesia based AVANA, is an end-to-end social commerce platform, enabling brands and resellers to sell across multiple platforms while managing operations and inventory through a centralised dashboard. Although early stage, AVANA has impressed our team and is well placed to deliver end-to-end capabilities across South East Asia.

    Anzu Headquartered in Israel, Anzu positions itself as the world's most advanced in-game advertising solution. Operating across mobile, PC, console, and Roblox, Anzu's technology blends ads directly into video games and brings real-time analytics and existing digital industry standards in-game.

    Many of our brands and categories are exploring pilots and experiments with shortlisted startups and scaleups. We can’t wait to share more!

  • Our key markets are the UK, USA, China, India, Indonesia and Brazil. You do not have to be founded in these countries as long as you have operations within those markets or the scale to expand there. Even if you don’t focus on one of these markets you can still apply, it is likely Unilever will look at your country in due course.

  • We have purposefully designed the application process, so you don't have to share any sensitive information with us and encourage you not to disclose anything that you’re not comfortable sharing.

  • If you have further questions or would like to have an informal conversation, please contact

  • We have aimed to provide a simple application process, with no sharing of confidential information and the option to use standardised materials wherever possible. Sharing your standard pitch deck is perfectly acceptable, and there is no need to make a video demo - uploading this is optional.

  • We will close the application on April 10th and invite between 4-6 startups to present to Unilever's senior leadership. If you are not successful do not be disheartened: this Challenge is part of a broader series of engagements. We will be keeping a record of all submissions and pitch decks going forwards for potential synergies with Unilever, as more opportunities will be available in future.

  • All shortlisted companies will be presenting virtually to accommodate companies across different geographies and time zones.

  • Yes, selected startups will speak with our team to discuss pitching and best practices before the challenge final.

  • The “prize” is the opportunity to partner and pilot with Unilever. The details of this agreement will be defined between the finalists and Unilever team after the challenge. This is not an equity investment prize. A commercial partnership with Unilever is possible depending on your stage and readiness.

  • Commercial conversations are likely to be based on a partnership model. It is unlikely that shortlisted companies will receive investment or funding. The amount of funding a company has will not be a critical factor in evaluating their suitability as a potential partner.

  • Every relationship is unique, so if technical support is needed then we are open to having these conversations if you are successful at the showcase stage.

  • Timelines can be flexible so go-to-market will be dependent on the partnership and readiness of the product / solution.

  • Each brand has its own strategy and there has been good traction and adoption of Unilever’s biodegradability and sustainability goals across the Haircare and Skincare brands. In general, every department is on the same trajectory within Beauty & Personal Care, so there are opportunities across our portfolio.

  • Unless you have exclusivity arranged, we do not anticipate this being a problem.

  • No, we recommend continuing as many conversations as possible. The Biodegradable & Sustainable Cosmetic Ingredients showcase will put you in front of a different and potentially a more senior team.

  • In time, absolutely, but as the largest division of Unilever, beauty and personal care is our primary focus for the time being. We will keep your application to hand if new opportunities open that your company may also be suited for.