Diageo, the beverage giant, has announced the launch of Fusion by Diageo, a new partnership lab aimed at transforming the consumer experience in social celebrations through digital technology. Slated to begin in January 2024, the 13-week program will explore digital concepts that go "beyond the bottle," focusing initially on home celebrations.
Diageo’s Push for Digital Innovation
While Diageo's Distill Ventures concentrates on early-stage startups in the beverage sector, Fusion by Diageo is designed for growth-stage tech companies. The initiative aims to blend Diageo's extensive expertise in brand-building and innovation with cutting-edge technology from external sources. Mark Sandys, Diageo’s Chief Innovation Officer, stated, "Innovation is a crucial part of our growth ambition, and Fusion enables us to partner with some of the world’s most pioneering companies to accelerate the future of celebration together."
Focus on ‘Celebrate at Home’
The theme for the program's first cohort is 'Celebrate at Home,' which will explore novel ways people can enjoy, experiment, and entertain in their personal spaces. Diageo is enthusiastic about leveraging advanced technologies like AI for personalized product recommendations or using AR and VR to convert living rooms into immersive entertainment spaces.
How the Program Works
Diageo is currently accepting applications to select 15 companies for the first cohort. These companies should already have digital products in the market and sufficient financial backing. The program will proceed in two phases: initial broad concept ideation and subsequent refinement. At the end of the program, a 'Demo Day' will be held, where up to five concepts will be chosen for a post-program pilot stage.
During this phase, the selected companies will have the chance to enter into a commercial relationship with Diageo, receiving the necessary support to co-develop, validate, and launch their products.
The Future of Fusion by Diageo
Guy Middleton, Global Breakthrough Innovation Director, added, "Our portfolio consists of some of the most iconic brands in the world, and it is our job to ensure that our brands remain at the forefront of social celebration. Fusion allows us to build and explore the consumer experience of tomorrow in collaboration with some of the best entrepreneurs."
Diageo plans to scale the program and run future editions, each focused on different priority areas for the business. All participants will become alumni of Fusion by Diageo, joining a growing community of pioneers in redefining social celebrations.