Unilever announced today that 30 startups will join its Foundry program in Singapore. The companies are in different stages in their growth, not just early-stage, and come from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, and even Europe and the US. They were chosen because they operate in sectors that Unilever deems promising for the future.
The sectors are retail, media and advertising, brand and content innovation, data insights and personalization, and sustainability and social impact.
The startups, collectively known as the Unilever Foundry 30 SEAA (for Southeast Asia and Australasia), will get access to Unilever’s brands and the Level3 co-working facilities housed in the company’s Singapore headquarters.
They will also receive mentorship, guidance, and collaboration opportunities from Unilever and its partners.
Head of Unilever Foundry SEAA and Level3 Barbara Guerpillon tells Tech in Asia that the startups will have access to Unilever Ventures, the company’s investment arm. “Unilever Foundry is not investing directly into startups but accelerates them towards business opportunities, and regularly shares information and best practices with Unilever Ventures,” she says.
The company put out the call for startups to join the program in September.
Part of the family
The startups that joined feel that being part of Unilever Foundry gives them access to more resources and networks. “The vast experience spanning across industries in the Foundry is a massive learning platform as well as potential business opportunity for startups like us,” Louis Liu, CEO of Singaporean fintech startup FOMO Pay, tells us.
“Joining the Unilever Foundry community has helped us get access to industry contacts,” says Derek Tan, co-founder of Viddsee, which streams short films from Asian creators.
The startups will receive mentorship, guidance, and collaboration opportunities from Unilever and its partners.
The company’s globale presence and influence is attractive to Prasoon Kumar, co-founder and CEO of BillionBricks, which makes shelters for the homeless.
BillionBricks just launched PowerHyde, a second version of its WeatherHyde extreme weather shelter, which is solar-powered. “We wish to learn from Unilever on how to push new products into market, how to build formidable supply chain and how to ensure that we are always focused on customer needs,” Kumar says.
“Another huge advantage is meeting like-minded people and being exposed to projects and ambitions so simple, and yet so powerful,” says Stella Hristova, head of marketing for beauty marketplace Vaniday.
Startups outside Asia also find value in connections for expanding in the region. “It gives us access to other startups who may be facing similar challenges to our business, that we can network with whilst also being able to call upon Unilever’s expertise in key domains like marketing and supply chain,” says Rob Hango-Zada, co-CEO of Australian logistics startup Shippit.
The startup raised US$1.6 million for its series A in May and is currently working out its expansion strategy.
Here are the Unilever Foundry 30 SEAA, announced as part of the Millennial 20/20 conference currently taking place in Singapore:
- BillionBricks (Singapore)
- Crazy SOB (Israel)
- DÄV – Digital Avatar (Indonesia)
- Emporio Analytics (Singapore)
- FOMO Pay (Singapore)
- Genero (Australia)
- GetCraft (Indonesia)
- Happi (Singapore)
- Jumper.ai (Singapore)
- Kobe (Singapore)
- LoopMe (UK)
- Moving Walls (Malaysia)
- Narratrs (Singapore)
- Neuro Flash (Germany)
- Picasso Labs (US)
- POPxo (India)
- Shippit (Australia)
- Shopback (Singapore)
- Silot (Singapore)
- Stackla (Australia)
- Sticheo (Singapore)
- Taptopick (Indonesia)
- TaskSpotting (Singapore)
- Try and Review (Singapore)
- UShift (Singapore)
- Vaniday (Singapore)
- Viddsee (Singapore)
- ViSenze (Singapore)
- Wootag Pte Ltd (Singapore)
- Zap (Philippines)
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