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OVERVIEW

  • What type of business is a good fit for the Unilever Foundry?

    The Unilever Foundry is for start-ups, creatives, designs, innovators and inventors who want to partner with Unilever brands and functions and help them solve some exciting challenges.

  • How Should I get Involved?

    1. If you’re looking to tap into our marketing expertise to develop your brand, marketing strategy or product roadmap, then apply for our Mentorship Program. Effective mentorship will help to strengthen any application to engage with the Unilever Foundry through one of our brand briefs.
    2. If you have a proven technology or product which has been tested in market and you are looking to partner with us, take a look at the briefs from our brands and apply to pilot with us. A successful pilot will help to improve your chances of receiving investment from Unilever Ventures.
    3. If you’re a well-established company, looking for serious venture funding to support your growth ambitions – apply for Investment. Please see Unilever Ventures. for more details.

     

     

  • Will the mentors just be from Unilever?

    Yes, for the time being, all mentors will be from Unilever.

  • Does Unilever have a Venture Capital team?

    Yes. Unilever Ventures invests in opportunities that are of strategic relevance to Unilever, including digital marketing, digital media, and eCommerce. Unilever Ventures would consider investing in relevant companies who are participating in The Unilever Foundry's Mentorship or Pilot Project programs.

  • Can participating companies be selected to run a project with more than one brand?

    Through our brand briefs Unilever Foundry seeks to pair different companies with different brands. However, our brands reserve the right to select any company, so there is a possibility that a participant could work with multiple brands. In instances where the pilot is successful and the technology scalable, our ambition is that those companies will then have the opportunity to partner with multiple Unilever brands across markets.

  • Can companies apply for Mentorship, respond to Briefs and apply for Investment simultaneously?

    The Unilever Foundry offers different opportunities for start-ups that will suit different stages of development. Whilst in theory you can engage with us through Mentorship, Briefs and apply for Investment simultaneously it is unlikely that it would be appropriate to do so.


    However, businesses that complete our Mentorship Program are encouraged to respond to briefs to pilot their technology. Companies who participate in a successful pilot will enhance their chances of receiving Unilever Ventures investment.

  • Will my company receive Investment from Unilever?

    If you successfully respond to one of our brand briefs and progress to a pilot, Unilever may pay for the pilot up to the amount stated on each brief. The amount is intended to help cover the cost of developing the pilot, which we hope will result in a successful longer term partnership with Unilever. Please see individual Briefs for more details.

    For Investments, please find out more from Unilever Ventures.

GEOGRAPHY

  • Where is the Unilever Foundry team based?

    The team is headquartered in London, UK with a presence in Singapore, New York, India, Brazil and China.

  • Do participating companies need to be on-site in the Pilot market?

    No. Start-up companies can manage the pilots remotely without a physical office location in the pilot market. But participating companies are encouraged to spend some time in the market, particularly at the beginning of the pilot.

  • Does Unilever provide office space for participants in the program?

    Unilever Foundry offers co-working space located in our offices in Singapore. This is available to any start-up; there is no obligation to work with Unilever, but start-ups need to be involved in our 5 areas of focus: Sustainability & Social Entrepreneurs, Marketing, Ad-Tech & Ecommerce, Enterprise Tech, Product & Ingredients and Consumer and Market Intelligence. We offer options from hot-desking to private office suite plus additional perks for start-ups working with Unilever Foundry. For more information, pricing or to book a seat contact Barbara.guerpillon@unilever.com

APPLICATION PROCESS

  • Can you explain the Application process?

    The application process for both  Briefs and Mentorship programs are online via Unilever Foundry. You will need to answer questions about your company, team and fit with these programs. Applications are subject to Unilever Foundry and associated partner’s terms and conditions.


    To apply for investments please find out more from Unilever Ventures.

  • Do you need to see a Business plan?

    No. Please just complete the online application.

  • Is it mandatory to pitch in person to respond to a brand brief?

    The first step is to respond to the brief online. Shortlisted start-up companies are encouraged to then pitch in person to the relevant Unilever team. We realise, however, that this might not always be possible for some companies, so we will set up video conference for remote presentations where required.

    We do not offer the opportunity to pitch via video conference to our senior business leaders at industry events.

  • How detailed is the Mentorship program application?

    You will need to send your mentor a short message via, informing your mentor about your business, how you would benefit from mentoring and the reasons for your choice of mentor. If your first choice of mentor is not available, you are invited to apply to an alternative mentor. 

     

  • When do I need to apply by and what is the overall timeline?

    Briefs

    1. Our brands issue briefs throughout the year and deadlines for applications vary – please refer to the specific brief you are interested in for further information.
    2. When you respond to a brief, there is a process that your application will go through. All applications will be channelled to one of Unilever’s trusted third party partners (“Scouts”). The scouts will store submissions securely and confidentially and will review all applications independently. The scouts will pass on a shortlist of successful submissions to Unilever. Submissions not successful will be securely discarded by the scouts. Please do not share any confidential information on your application.
    3. Following the application deadline, all applicants will be contacted within four weeks and informed as to whether they have been shortlisted.
    4. Approximately 5 short-listed applicants will then be invited to a Pitch-day, where they will have the opportunity to deliver a pitch (including Q & A) to an expert panel. Following this initial pitch the winner will then be invited to co-create pilot ideas with relevant Unilever leaders and agencies. Ideally short-listed candidates would attend the pitch day in person (travel and related expenses are not funded by Unilever), but virtual options will also be available.
    5. We will seek to announce a pilot winner/winners within one week of the pitch day.
    6. Pitch to Unilever Leaders and Networking Events take place throughout the year at key industry events. Please apply at least 14 days ahead of the event to be considered. Check our Events page to find out what events we will be attending.

    Mentorship Programs

    There is no deadline for our mentorship program, applications are welcome year round.

    1. To apply for a mentor, simply find a mentor who has the skills and expertise relevant to your business and is in a geography where you can meet with them face-to-face.
    2. Send an email to The.Foundry@unilever.com applying for mentorship. In the message, you should include details on your business, how you would benefit from mentoring and the reason you have selected them as your preferred mentor.
    3. The mentor will then review your message and confirm or decline your application. 
    4. The Unilever Mentoring program is designed to run for 3 months, where you will meet with your mentor for approximately one hour every 2-3 weeks. There is a structured marketing program which includes seven modules. Through these modules you’ll gain exposure to our world-class marketing tools and have the opportunity to apply those tools to help build your marketing, branding and product plans. Alternatively, you can simply engage with your mentor to discuss more specific challenges where you think they could support.
  • How detailed does my application need to be for projects?

    In this initial application process, we ask applicants to describe their market opportunity, team, existing product offering, and benefit to a Unilever brand. Please do not reveal proprietary technologies or confidential information as part of your application.

     

  • Can we apply to your programs if our company or founders come from outside the United States, UK or Singapore?

    Absolutely. Anyone from anywhere can apply to all of our program. The Foundry offers opportunities to connect business start-ups to global markets, in partnership with our global brands.

FINANCIAL OUTCOMES

  • What happens if the Pilot is successful?

    There is no guarantee of further engagement with Unilever after the pilot. But our ambition is that successful pilots will enable broader collaboration with Unilever, potentially spanning multiple markets and brands.

     

  • How can participants receive funding after the project ends?

    Unilever has a venture capital group called Unilever Ventures which, among other things, invests in digital marketing companies. Unilever Ventures will consider investing in participating companies after the program.

     

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