ENGLAND – Diageo, a leading global beverage company, has introduced a new partnership lab, ‘Fusion by Diageo,’ intending to identify innovative companies to collaboratively develop the next generation of digital products that will enhance consumer experiences during social celebrations.

While Diageo’s Distill Ventures focuses on early-stage startups dedicated to creating the next generation of beverage brands, ‘Fusion by Diageo’ is specifically designed for growth-stage technology companies.

It aims to join forces with these companies to create digital concepts that go “beyond the bottle.”

By merging Diageo’s strategic innovation pipeline and brand-building expertise with cutting-edge technologies and ideas from external innovators, this program will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of social celebrations.

“Innovation is a crucial part of our growth ambition and Fusion enables us to partner with some of the world’s most pioneering companies to accelerate the future of celebration together,” Mark Sandys, Diageo’s Chief Innovation Officer, highlighted.

The inaugural theme for the first cohort of ‘Fusion by Diageo’ is ‘Celebrate at Home.’ Participants in this cohort will explore new horizons for how people relax, experiment, and entertain within the confines of their own spaces.

The 13-week program is scheduled to commence in January 2024, and Diageo is currently accepting applications to select 15 companies for the first cohort.

Throughout the program, participants will gain access to Diageo’s industry expertise, consumer insights, external speakers, and coaching to help develop consumer-centric digital concepts.

The program will be divided into two phases: the first phase will involve brainstorming and broad concept ideation, and the second phase will focus on refining the concepts.

The second phase will culminate in an in-person ‘Demo Day,’ during which Diageo will select up to five concepts to advance to a post-program pilot stage.

In the post-program ‘build’ stage, selected participants will have the opportunity to establish a commercial relationship with Diageo and receive support to co-develop, validate, refine, and launch new products in the market.

“Our portfolio consists of some of the most iconic brands in the world and it is our job to ensure that our brands remain at the forefront of social celebration,” Guy Middleton, Global Breakthrough Innovation Director, noted.

“The Fusion Partnership Lab allows us to build and explore the consumer experience of tomorrow in collaboration with some of the best entrepreneurs.”

Meanwhile, Diageo has planned to expand and continue running future editions of the ‘Fusion by Diageo program, with each edition focusing on different priority areas for the business.

“All program participants will become part of the ‘Fusion by Diageo’ alumni, forming a growing community of pioneers dedicated to redefining how people celebrate life, every day, everywhere.”