Diageo launches startup fund to support responsible drinking

Diageo has launched a global innovation programme to develop applications that supports its responsible drinking campaign

Diageo has launched a global innovation programme to develop applications that support its responsible drinking campaign.

Through the Diageo Technology Ventures programme, the beverages company plans to work with emerging technology companies and entrepreneurs.

Diageo said it would partner with companies to develop and pilot technology in response to a series of focused business briefs.

It will also commit $100,000 to pilot projects from successful applicants.

Syl Saller, Diageo's chief marketing officer, said: "Tech startups 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.

"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 startups and entrepreneurs, we will deliver competitive advantage for our business."

Diageo plans to issue a number of briefs during the first year of the programme and will fund multiple pilots per brief.

Helping consumers drink responsibly is the first brief. This will challenge applicants to tap into existing digital behaviours or utilise platforms widely used by young adults above the legal purchase age, Diageo said.

The second brief developed for launch will look at technology to support retailers and distributors in countering retail theft.

Several major companies have recently launched initiatives to work with tech startups.

EE, John Lewis and Unilever supported a £1m Launchpad competition for technologies for the internet of things, launched at the start of London Technology Week in June. John Lewis has been working with a number of startups to support its omnichannel retail programme. And in May Unilever introduced a project, named The Unilever Foundry, to provide innovative startups with entry into the manufacturing giant.

A number of big banks, such as Barclays, are also looking to work with tech startups

Read more on Technology startups