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Diageo looks to tech start-ups to help drive innovation with Diageo Technology Ventures

Published:  09 September, 2014

Diageo is looking to harness the power of tech start-ups with its new Diageo Technology Ventures, in the hopes of identifying growth opportunities.

Diageo Technology Ventures will develop and release a number of 'innovation briefs' that outline a specific challenge and opportunity at Diageo, offering a committed budget of USD$100,000 to help support the project along with a dedicated Diageo team to assist the winning applicant.

The programme is open to tech start-ups from across the globe, but some briefs may be regionally specific.

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."

After the briefs are released, tech starts-up have the opportunity to submit solutions and only a few of the best solutions will be invited to pitch their ideas in person to the Diageo team that is leading the brief.

From the ideas that are pitched, a few may be selected to develop a pilot plan, which will then be submitted to Diageo Technology Ventures for final funding approval, before moving to a pilot-testing phase.  Depending on the success of the pilot test long term strategic partnerships may be developed.

Diageo is hoping to the programme will help to develop technology led innovations for their brands ahead of competitors. "This programme will also further build our internal ability to move with pace and provoke a genuine entrepreneurial mind-set in our pursuit of breakthrough innovation. It underlines our fundamental belief that through partnerships with forward-thinking start-ups and entrepreneurs we will deliver competitive advantage for our business," said Saller.

The programme has launched with two briefs focusing on responsible drinking and combating theft for retailers.

For more information and to read the current briefs available please visit Diageo Technology Ventures.

This is not Diageo's first 'angel investment' scheme that it has launched. Last month Diageo announced it would be doubling the number of places available for its incubator programme called Distill Ventures that helps spirit entrepreneurs launch and expand spirits brands.