Occupier-Edge_Ed5_A4 - AR
CASE STUDY Unilever - LEVEL3 Singapore
Barbara Guerpillon, Head of Unilever Foundry SEAA, in conversation with Rob Parker of Cushman & Wakefield
Why is Unilever seeking to work with startups? Ever since our business was founded in the 1880s, we have been pioneering. Today, startups are very much pioneering the future of our lives. How does Unilever Foundry support the core business? The Unilever Foundry is our platform for startups and innovators to engage, collaborate and explore business ideas with Unilever and our 400+ brands. The Foundry sits across the organisation to understand the challenges faced by the business and identify new technology and innovations that can help
develop and work on global projects, access mentoring from marketing professionals, and tap into a new source of funding through Unilever Ventures. Since its inception three years ago, we have piloted 109 projects across various real business challenges. Of those piloted, 45 have been scaled up – meaning that they are working with us in 10 or more countries. How do Unilever and startups work together in a physical space? In February 2017, we launched our own co-working space – LEVEL3 – to bring the startup community into the heart of Unilever’s regional redesigned an entire 22,000 SF floor of our existing office, creating an opportunity to work directly with the Unilever teams in the building. As part of the LEVEL3 community, startups can interact and collaborate with Unilever to solve business challenges ranging from marketing to functions including finance, logistics, supply chain, and customer development. headquarters in Singapore. We
For Unilever though, LEVEL3 is not about selling a desk. It is offering an ecosystem for startups to grow by leveraging the people that are also in that physical space. How does Unilever develop a strong community around the workspace? We have partnered with Padang & Co., to run the space so that LEVEL3 provides many opportunities for startups and brands to meet during networking events, workshops, training, and mentoring sessions. The startups we work with are chosen for their specialisation within Unilever Foundry’s key focus areas and LEVEL3 then provides access to Unilever employees, VCs, thought-leaders, industry experts, service providers, and consultants. It’s a very social and energetic space. Everyone meets over a cup of coffee to discuss exciting opportunities for their brands or talk directly with the startups about potential briefs and pilots. LEVEL3 is a unique space because we are connecting people to create business opportunities and help startups understand how large companies like Unilever work. Has the LEVEL3 space be successful so far? After five months, LEVEL3 has 45 startups with 110 people based there. It is still the beginning of the journey and we are experimenting every day. Unilever
us. Through scouting for startups, we work to understand how they are going to change the world and change how we do business.
How does the partnership with startups bring value to both sides? Unilever has the size, scale, and leading brands, while startups have new technology, agility, and new ways of working. Unilever Foundry is the bridge between the startup community and the corporate community. The best way to accelerate a startup and support their success is to become a customer and work with them to help drive their business. That is what we do through the Unilever Foundry. How does Unilever Foundry engage with startups? Unilever Foundry enables our global brands and functions to experiment with and pilot new technologies more efficiently, effectively, and speedily. It provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to
Foundry praises experimentation and collaboration, and at LEVEL3 we are creating an opportunity for both startups and corporate communities to innovate side-by-side. It’s a very exciting time.
18 The Occupier Edge
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