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Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

WHAT TYPE OF BUSINESS IS A GOOD FIT FOR THE UNILEVER FOUNDRY?


The Unilever Foundry Pilot are designed for established Start-ups ready to scale-up, Creatives, Designers, or Inventors who wants to partner with Unilever brands and functions and help them solve some exciting challenges. They can pilot solution with us, build a solution at a Hack event, share creative concepts, collaborate on ldeas.

  • Foundry Pilot: we are looking for companies who have proven technology, which enables superior Digital Marketing & Media Technology, Consumer Insights Innovation, E-commerce & and In store Interactive. The size, reach and potential of each applicant will be carefully examined. As part of the selection process we cooperate third party companies who bring their expertise and experience to thoroughly review each application and ensure that your information is handled confidentially.Briefs are posed to the crowd; solutions will be sought in exchange for prizes & rewards, as well as reputation & influence.
  • Foundry Ideas: Foundry IDEAS is a new platform enabling open collaboration with consumers, key opinion formers and entrepreneurs, to use the power of the crowd to co-create solutions to impact Unilever’s business.

CAN PARTICIPATING COMPANIES BE SELECTED TO RUN A PROJECT WITH MORE THAN ONE BRAND?


The Foundry Pilot seeks to pair different companies and 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.

WHICH PROGRAM SHOULD I APPLY FOR?


  1. If you are looking for collaborating with Unilever on Ideas, or currently no avaiable pilot biref , apply for Foundry Ideas.
  2. If you’re a well-established company, looking for serious venture funding to support your growth ambitions – apply for Investment. Please access to Unilever Ventures for more details.
  3. If you have unique technology which has been tested in market, and you are looking to partner with us, apply to Foundry Pilot. A successful pilot will help to improve your chances to establish longer term strategic partnerships.

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. Please access to Unilever Ventures for more details.


WILL MY COMPANY RECEIVE FUNDING FROM UNILEVER?


For Foundry Ideas and Pilots, Unilever may pay for the pilot, up to the amount stated on each pilot brief. This 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. This part of amount will be pre-paid based on each project’s requirement, and the rest on delivery of the pilot, with no equity exchanged. Please see individual Challenges listings for more details.
For Investments – Please find out more from Unilever Ventures.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT TO RECEIVE FROM UNILEVER, THROUGH THE UNILEVER FOUNDRY?


  1. Pilots – We’re looking to use innovative technology to connect with our consumers in new ways. Innovative technology companies are pioneering the future of marketing and we want to pilot and experiment with them through The Foundry. To support the experimentation process, Unilever may contribute funds up to the amount specified on each Pilot brief. To help with the pilot phase, we are also providing a curated selection of top Unilever Mentors and will support selected companies by sharing access to local media and other agency partners.. Assuming the pilot is successful and scalable, our ambition is that this initial pilot will become the beginning of a much longer-term partnership.
  2. Mentorship Programs – Many of our Marketers and researchers will offer to provide one-on-one mentorship to start-ups and ‘scale-ups’. Through these meetings, you can embark on a structured journey to develop your brand positioning, your marketing strategy and your product roadmap. Of course, if this structure is not useful to you, you can engage in a less formal dialogue over the same period.

Geography

DOES UNILEVER PROVIDE OFFICE SPACE AND LIVING ARRANGEMENTS FOR PARTICIPANTS IN THE PROGRAM?


No. Participants are expected to arrange their own office space and living arrangements.


WHERE IS THE UNILEVER FOUNDRY TEAM BASED?


The team is headquartered in London, UK, with a local presence in Shanghai, China.

DO PARTICIPATING COMPANIES NEED TO BE ON-SITE IN THE PILOT MARKET?


No. 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.

WHICH MARKETS TAKE PART IN THE FOUNDRY PROGRAMS?


Pilot – Participating companies can work on a pilot in their own market or beyond. Each Pilot brief defines the country or countries which the brief is targeted towards.

Application Process

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE APPLICATION PROCESS?


The application process for pilot program is online via Foundry. It includes 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.


IS IT MANDATORY TO PITCH IN PERSON FOR PILOT PROJECTS?


We strongly encourage shortlisted companies pitch in person to the relevant Unilever team. We realise, however, that this might not be possible for some companies, so we will set up video conference for remote presentations.
We do not offer the opportunity to pitch via video conference to our business leaders at industry events.


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 emerging companies to global markets, in partnership with our global brands.

DO YOU NEED TO SEE A BUSINESS PLAN?


No. Please just complete the online application.


HOW DETAILED DOES MY APPLICATION NEED TO BE FOR PROJECTS?


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


HOW WILL WE BE EXPECTED TO PITCH FOR PROJECTS?


There are two ways innovative technology companies can pitch to us:

  • Pitch for Pilot Projects – Find the pilot(s) right for you, then, submit your application. If you are successful you will then be invited to pitch to the relevant team and mentors in person or via video conference.
  • – Find out about upcoming events. Find the opportunity that is right for you, then, submit your application online. Once you are successful invited to give a ten minute demo in person at one of our industry pitch events.Please keep checking back for details of these events.

WHEN DO I NEED TO APPLY BY AND WHAT IS THE OVERALL TIMELINE?


  • Pilots are run throughout the year and deadlines for applications vary – please refer to the specific listing of the Pilot you are interested in for further information
  • When you apply for a pilot, there is a process that your application will go through. Applications can be made through The Foundry website or through associated partners. 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 saved by Unilever Foundry data base. Please do not share any confidential information in your application.
  • Following the application deadline, all applicants will be contacted within four weeks and notified as to whether or not you have been short-listed.
  • Approximately 5 short-listed applicants will then be invited to a Demo-day, where they will have the opportunity to deliver a 10 minute 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 & related expenses are not funded by Unilever), but virtual options will also be available.
  • We will seek to announce a pilot winner/winner(s) within one week of the pitch-day.

DO I HAVE TO BE 18 OR OVER TO APPLY FOR MENTORSHIP OR PROJECTS?


As the applicant, you must be at least 18 years old as this is the legally accepted age for participating in any of our programs.


WILL I/WE RETAIN OUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS?


As part of the application process you are advised to only share non-confidential information. If confidential information is shared, this may result in your application being rejected by third parties responsible for filtering applications before they reach Unilever. You will retain ownership of all protected IP included your application.

WILL I HAVE TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH UNILEVER?


Yes. Your application accept Unilever’s terms and conditions. Companies shortlisted to pitch to be part of a Project will be asked to sign an NDA. Companies selected to pilot will enter into a mutually agreed contract with Unilever, setting out the commercial terms of the pilot. This will be outlined at the selection stage. Companies accepted to be mentored will also be asked to sign an NDA.


WHAT HAPPENS IF NEW OPPORTUNITIES ARISE AFTER THE PILOT?


In the event that Unilever wishes to collaborate with a company following a successful pilot, both parties will enter into a new agreement on a case-by-case basis.

CAN I SUBMIT CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION AS PART OF MY APPLICATION?


Throughout the process, we ask for only information that imposes no obligations of confidentiality for Unilever and does not breach any confidentiality obligations that you owe to others. Prior to any confidential discussions, you will be asked to sign a separate, further Confidentiality Agreement with Unilever so that any confidential information, that is subsequently shared, is protected. If you submit an idea or suggestion as part of your application or during the pilot, you acknowledge that Unilever, a Unilever Group company or a third party acting on its/their behalf, may have previously worked on or may be working on the same or a similar idea. By submitting your idea, you agree that we may continue to develop the idea (or a similar idea) independently of, and without acknowledging, your idea.

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. Please access to Unilever Ventures for more details.

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