On 25th October 2017, Unilever revealed that out of “30 of the most ambitious startups and scale-ups”, selected by the company, 17 hail from Singapore.
At its Millennial 20/20 conference in Singapore on 25th October 2017, Unilever revealed that it had selected the 30 chosen companies based on those that had indicated “a unique and exciting point of difference, poised to affect technological, consumer and social change within SEAA”.
The success of South East Asia
Emphasising how “South East Asia is the fastest growing internet market in the world”, Unilever recognises that with the increasing middle class demographic and a higher number of social consumers, the region is projected as an “exciting hotspot for Unilever and for startups”.
Through its Unilever Foundry 30 SEAA platform, the company will leverage the marketing, retail and e-commerce sectors to help the supported startups generate new opportunities.
The 30-selected startups will also be based at Unilever’s co-working space for experimentation and innovation, LEVEL3.
First stage of Unilever Foundry 30
“The Unilever Foundry 30 embodies Unilever’s commitment to South East Asia and Australasia and is working with startup talent who we believe will have a significant impact on the region,” commented Barbara Guerpillon, Head of Unilever Foundry SEAA and LEVEL3.
“With 600 million people in South East Asia alone, we look forward to being a catalyst for members of the Unilever Foundry 30 to affect social, business and technological change in both developed and emerging markets,” Guerpillon enthused.
Commenting on the next stage for these innovative 30 startups, Guerpillon added: “We see enthusiasm from early-stage companies as they gear up to capture opportunities in these markets and we welcome aspiring entrepreneurs to visit LEVEL3, our co-working space... to seize opportunities for collaboration and mentorship.”
The Unilever Foundry is a platform for startups and innovators seeking to engage, collaborate and explore business opportunities with Unilever’s 400+ brands. The programme also helps Unilever to discover disruptive technologies and social impact entrepreneurs, which will play a key role in achieving Unilever’s mission: to make sustainable living commonplace.
By being selected under the Unilever Foundry 30 SEAA project, these 30 startup companies will become part of the global Unilever Foundry community. These startups will have exclusive offers such as access to new briefs from Unilever brands.
In addition, the brands will also receive mentorship, collaboration and guidance from Unilever’s partners and executives, and will receive invitations to key global events.
"As we look into scaling our company to attract commercial opportunities with regional brands, joining the Unilever Foundry community has helped us get access to industry contacts,” said Derek Tan, co-founder of Viddsee.
Speaking to Cosmetics Design Asia, Guerpillon explained that each member of the first Unilever Foundry 30 South East Asia and Australasia “was chosen in one of five areas identified by Unilever as future areas of innovation”.
Each member was “evaluated based on their readiness to scale and their innovative approach to integrating technology to develop their ideas”, Guerpillon went on.
“We received more than 100 applications from around the world, and more than half came from the SEAA region, demonstrating the growing number of young companies in South East Asia focused on tackling real-world business and social problems,” noted Guerpillon.
“The Unilever Foundry is committed to helping startups grow in this region and looks forward to providing them with ongoing access to Unilever’s resources as they scale,” Guerpillon concluded.