March 9, 2016 - Unilever Foundry has today announced a commitment to empower entrepreneurs both inside and outside Unilever, through a partnership with Indiegogo.
The enterprise crowdfunding partnership will accelerate innovation to help Unilever validate and create consumer-championed products and support sustainable solutions from ideation to development.
Unilever is one of the first large-scale companies to tap into the power of crowdfunding to empower entrepreneurs to bring their concepts to market.
End-to-End Sustainable Innovation
Through the partnership, social entrepreneurs will submit solutions to sustainability challenges put forward by Unilever brands. The community will be invited to collaborate and build on ideas, with the most popular solutions being put in front of a panel of Unilever experts. The best ideas will be given the opportunity to launch a campaign through Indiegogo to fund the idea and bring it to life, plus mentorship and additional support from Unilever to help them scale.
The partnership is an evolution of the Foundry’s ideas platform, which was launched in June 2015 as a global crowdsourcing community and brought together consumers, key influencers and innovators to co-create sustainability solutions. With the Indiegogo partnership, the platform will grow from idea-generation to development, creating an end-to-end innovation funnel for social entrepreneurs.
The first idea to move from Unilever’s crowdsourcing ideas platform into a crowdfunding campaign will be BwareIT. BwareIT have developed a smart device that attaches to taps and showers to display water consumption and temperature in real time. The device helps people save on their water bills by better understanding their water habits and adopting more sustainable practices.
The partnership will accelerate internal innovation processes by enabling Unilever brands to validate existing product ideas before being developed en masse. Involving consumers early in the decision making process will ensure that Unilever receives honest, timely feedback and ultimately, only produces consumer-worthy and desirable innovations.
The new platform will allow Unilever to embrace a more entrepreneurial approach and incorporate consumer validation at a much earlier phase of the innovation cycle thereby decreasing risk and speeding up the development from years to months.
“This new partnership with Indiegogo will allow us to apply our learnings from the Foundry’s Pitch-Pilot-Partner approach, which dramatically cuts the time it takes to get a new initiative to market, to the wider business while putting consumers at the heart of decision making. The platform also supports our ambition to decouple our growth from our environmental footprint, while increasing our positive social impact.
"By redefining business models and identifying new growth opportunities, we have the ability to change the way we do business at Unilever and reach our goal of making sustainable living commonplace,” said Aline Santos, Unilever’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing.
‘Unilever has long been a leader in innovating around their products and consumer touch points, so we are thrilled to have them as our newest Enterprise Crowdfunding partner,” said Jerry Needel, Indiegogo’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships. “By enabling consumers and the global community of early adopters on Indiegogo to vote with their dollars, Enterprise Crowdfunding provides an exciting opportunity for companies like Unilever to build more meaningful relationships with their consumers while making smarter product and sustainability investment decisions,’
Unilever Foundry is Unilever’s global platform for innovation through collaboration. It provides a single entry point for startups and scaleups to connect with its 400 brands and champions their role in the industry. Its unique Pitch-Pilot-Partner approach dramatically cuts the time it takes to get a new initiative to market, with the average project going from brief to pilot in nine months.
About The Unilever Foundry
The Unilever Foundry provides a single entry-point for innovative startups 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 startups and entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop and work on global projects, access mentoring from marketing professionals, and tap into funding through Unilever Ventures. Startups are invited to apply to be part of the Unilever Foundry through visiting www.unilever.com. More details on Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan can be found here: http://www.unilever.com/
The Foundry (Unilever.com/foundry) works closely with Unilever Ventures, the Venture capital arm of Unilever. Unilever Ventures invests in early stage companies that could become strategically relevant to Unilever and can benefit from access to Unilever’s assets and capabilities. One of the key areas of investment for Unilever Ventures is Digital Marketing, encompassing marketing services business with a focus on mobile marketing, digital media and video, social media, content creation, eCommerce, shopper marketing and big data. Recent examples include Yummly and Brandtone.
Indiegogo is the place for entrepreneurial projects to move quickly from concept to market, amplified by a community of backers who believe the world benefits when every idea gets an equal shot at success. Indiegogo empowers people around the world to fund what matters to them. As the world’s first crowdfunding platform, campaigns have launched from almost every country around the world with millions of dollars being distributed every week due to contributions made by the Indiegogo community.
At its core, Indiegogo is the equal opportunity platform dedicated to democratizing the way people raise funds for any project –creative, entrepreneurial or cause-related. The company was launched in 2008 and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles and New York. For more information, visit Indiegogo.com and follow us at and .