Since launching The Unilever Foundry in May the platform has received an overwhelming level of engagement from innovative companies and this is the first time specific Internet of Things briefs have been shared with the startup community through Unilever.com/foundry.
Marc Mathieu, SVP Global Marketing explains: “As the world’s second largest advertiser, Unilever is always looking for new ways to engage with our consumers. The Internet of Things is transforming the home, the way we shop and the way people engage with brands. We want to inspire and lead that transformation.
“We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020, and we believe that Internet of Things is an important enabler of helping people take small actions which add up to a big impact” adds Mathieu.
- Smart Bathrooms
- Enabling families to plan, organise and enjoy their personal care and grooming regime and products more efficiently is an opportunity through ‘Smart Bathrooms’. We are looking for innovative technology which has the potential to generate tremendous value for individuals and families in this area and may encompass elements from tools and diagnostics through to the delivery of connected services.
- Smart Packaging
- Smart packaging technology is undergoing a radical transformation, bridging the physical and digital divide at retail. We are looking to incorporate innovative technology into our packaging solutions and ultimately encourage our consumers to have physical & digital experiences that would help build brand engagement in new ways.
- Smart Wardrobe
- We’re looking for technology that helps people understand what clothes they have available, the condition of those clothes, and offers ‘what to wear’ recommendations based on schedules, the weather and other factors. We’d like to help people better use and manage their clothing collection more effectively - we believe there’s an opportunity to do this through the digital wardrobe.
- Smart Ice Cream cabinets
- We are looking for new, innovative ways to bring our 3 million ice cream cabinets to life around the world. We believe these provide a prime opportunity to engage with people and we’re looking for technology and ideas on how the cabinets should not only house ice cream but really work for our brands and consumers.
- Smart Laundry advice
- Cleanipedia is the online resource for cleaning advice and tips, enabled through best-in-class cleaning products by Unilever. This brief aims to expand the Cleanipedia reach through innovative content delivery, with focus on mobile especially in developing and emerging markets.
Briefs are posted on The Unilever Foundry and startups are invited to pitch their technology to Senior Brand leaders. Following a filtering and selection process, at least one company is generally moved forward to launch a paid pilot with Unilever. Successful pilots may then be scaled and new strategic partnerships created. This pitch-pilot-partner process dramatically accelerates our speed to market, whilst reducing the cost of experimenting, enabling us to pioneer new technologies much more effectively and efficiently.
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About The Unilever Foundry
The Unilever Foundry () provides a single entry-point for innovative start-ups seeking to partner with Unilever, enabling the company’s global brands to experiment with and pilot new technologies more efficiently, effectively and speedily. It provides start-ups and entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop and work on global projects, access mentoring from marketing professionals, and tap into funding through Unilever Ventures. Start-ups are invited to pitch their technology to Unilever brands through visiting .
In March this year Unilever announced a partnership with NewAer, an iBecon enabled proximity marketing startup to bring greater engagement around the Magnum Ice Cream experience.
In May we launched a brief asking for solutions and technology partners on the ‘Smart Kitchen’. After receiving over 60 applications, we continue working with 10 of those companies and are planning pilots with two startups.