Unilever unveils global mentoring programme for startups
London/Rotterdam - Over 200 Unilever marketers from around the world are now offering to share their expertise and experience with innovative technology startups. The Unilever Foundry launched in May with marketers from around the world joining the platform to start mentoring entrepreneurs in their local cities.
Marc Mathieu, SVP Marketing explains: “As the second largest advertiser in the world we’re always looking to pioneer new ways of connecting with the people we serve. The Unilever Foundry mentorship programme allows us to support and cultivate new businesses that might grow into being Unilever’s long-term strategic partners.”
Over the last 18 months, Unilever has been piloting the mentorship programme through start-up accelerators around the world. In the UK, Unilever has partnered with Collider, a B2Brand accelerator. Through this partnership, Unilever Mentors working with Collider’s marketing and advertising tech startups to help them develop their propositions and secure pilots. Both parties are seeing the benefits: Unilever gets access to the latest marketing technology and exposes its team to new ways of working whilst to date, five Collider startups have signed revenue-generating deals with Unilever brands.
Rose Lewis, founder of Collider, highlights the importance of Unilever’s mentoring to startups: “At Collider we are focused on helping our startups become sustainable businesses, supporting them to develop their propositions, business plans, tech roadmaps and prepare them for future fundraising. Unilever’s input is crucial; ensuring that our startups are solving brands’ real challenges.”
One of the Collider startups is Sumo Insight, an innovative market research company. Tina Newport, Co-Founder of Sumo Insight shared her mentorship experience: “Unilever has been instrumental in helping us to fine-tune our product positioning and prioritise the next stage of development on our roadmap. We are now in a great position to be able to take our business forward to the next stage.”
Sam Oakley from Stashmetrics, also a Collider startup explains: “Through our Unilever Mentors we were able to get a real understanding of how Unilever works, where and when to push and importantly, when to let opportunities pass. They’ve been a huge help in setting us going on what I hope will be a rewarding journey for both parties.”
The Unilever Foundry mentorship programme typically spans a period of three months, and during this time Unilever mentors will work individually with start-ups and entrepreneurs to craft their brand vision, marketing strategy and product roadmap. Mentorship generally involves meeting for one hour every two-to-three weeks over three months. Start-ups can request to be part of a structured marketing mentorship curriculum, or engage in more tailored one-on-one dialogue with their mentor.
Marc Mathieu, SVP Global Marketing concludes: “Through The Unilever Foundry mentorship programme, we are simultaneously contributing to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, whilst also enabling our marketers to engage directly with start-ups and be inspired by new ideas and ways of working.”
Collider (www.collider.io) is an accelerator dedicated to startups which help brands understand, engage with and sell to customers. By mobilising a pot of cash, a crack team of coaches, and an intensive programme, we support our startups in becoming sustainable businesses.
Over the course of our year-long programme, our teams transform from startups to businesses, from cash burning to revenue earning, putting them on the road from MVP to IPO. We fuse ambitious founders with progressive brands and specialist investors. We inject smart capital, expert coaching and forge commercial connections. Through productive collaboration, we foster the fastest route to product-market fit, follow-on funding, competitive edge and revenue.
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 find a mentor through visiting foundry.unilever.com/mentors/. Simply select a mentor based on their skills and geography, then message that marketer to request their mentorship.