Diageo calls on tech start-ups for 'disruptive innovation' ideas with $100,000 pilot funds up for grabs

Diageo has extended an open invitation to digital innovators to modernise the firm’s drinks brands, offering a $100,000 fund to each selected pilot.

The newly launched ‘Diageo Technology Ventures’ will aid companies worldwide in developing and piloting technology business solutions to a series of business briefs.

Successful venture applicants will get to work with Diageo’s leading talent – boosted by a cash investment as part of the international innovation programme.

Diageo’s first business brief will require entrants to design a technology or platform to help consumers drink responsibly.

Syl Saller, chief marketing officer at Diageo, said: “Tech start-ups and entrepreneurs are truly defining disruptive innovation, driven by an irrepressible appetite to experiment and a willingness to take risks. Diageo Technology Ventures allows us to access this world as we look to solve some of our biggest business challenges.

“This programme will also further build our internal ability to move with pace and provoke a genuine entrepreneurial mindset in our pursuit of breakthrough innovation.”

Saller added: “It underlines our fundamental belief that through partnerships with forward-thinking start-ups and entrepreneurs we will deliver competitive advantage for our business.”

The initiative’s second brief will ask innovators to consider ways to stop retail theft. Further briefs will be released throughout the year and multiple pilots will be funded for each.

Interested parties should apply through the Diageo website, with the final fund-winners to be announced in December.

Diageo’s head of shopper marketing, Charlie Greener, in March admitted that the firm was not doing enough to engage shoppers on the digital platform.

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