One of the largest companies in Latin America, Ambev decided to team up with its operation in Argentina – Quilmes – to expand Além, its new business co-creation program. This year, startups from all over South America will be able to participate in the third edition of the program, connecting with the company’s different business areas to create new solutions (new business models, products, or services).
“Since we launched the program, we have already connected with 50 startups and carried out 13 pilots in different verticals”, comments Eduardo Horai, CTO at Ambev. According to him, the company has already invested R$ 1.4 million in innovative solutions via Além.
“Ambev does not ask for equity from the startup in exchange for the investment. The investment is made to carry out the project between Ambev and startups. However, during the program, if there is mutual interest between the entrepreneurs and Ambev, both parties can negotiate investment and participation in the business. And the amount to be invested is analyzed on a case-by-case basis, depending a lot on the project to be co-created with Ambev”, explains Horai to LABS.
Startups from all verticals in traction and scale-up phases, with a product already validated by the market, are eligible to participate in the program.
The program has six phases: registration, dissemination of those selected, co-creation immersion, selection, and execution of pilots, followed by a presentation of results. Ambev will provide startups with financial resources to run pilots and access suppliers, with scale possibilities and connections with leaders from different areas.
The program is run through a partnership with the consultancy Innoscience. Interested parties may apply, in Brazilian Portuguese, at this link until June 28. In Argentina, the program is called Pilot & Scale 2022 and will be conducted by Eklos and the brewery Quilmes (the applications can be made, in Spanish, in this link)
The results of the second edition of Além were known on April 25, when the selected startups participated in the “demo day,” where they made pitch presentations to share their results. Six startups defended their pilots from different verticals and business areas. One of them, NSports, brought the results of its Brahmosidade Channel, which focused on the gaming broadcast linked with sports competitions. The pilot in two cities of Southern Brazil, Cascavel and Londrina, helped increase 14% in the sales volume of bars and restaurants involved in the action.
According to Horai, startups that go through Além also connect to other Ambev innovation programs, such as Z-tech (the technology and innovation hub of Ambev in Brazil and Anheuser-Busch Inbev worldwide) and ZX (the investment arm of the company). “ZX and Z-Tech are sponsors of some challenges and also develop pilots with startups as well as other areas, such as logistics, sales, supply… We have sponsors from all these hubs directly involved with Além, closely monitoring the projects. One of our goals is to give visibility to these projects and startups for the entire company, seeking to understand possible synergies.”