KENYA – Diageo, the British multinational alcoholic beverage company, has chosen Kenyan startup Wowzi to join the inaugural cohort of its accelerator program through its Kenyan subsidiary, East African Breweries (EABL). 

The accelerator program, known as Fusion by Diageo, aims to identify leading innovators to co-develop the next generation of digital products that will elevate consumer experiences. 

The first cohort is a 13-week program (which began last month) designed for growth-stage startups and will provide participants with the coaching and industry expertise they need to develop concepts for digital products and services in collaboration with Diageo. 

“Fusion by Diageo is our way of being externally focused and looking beyond our boundaries to transform what we do in a consumer-centric way. I am excited to see Wowzi join the first cohort as we have already experienced their potential as a leading platform that is fuelling the creator economy in Africa,” said Diageo’s Digital Hub Lead for Africa, Waithera Kabiru. 

Wowzi is one of 17 digital outfits selected from hundreds of applications and will take part in the first edition themed ‘Celebrate at Home’ to explore how to transform the way consumers discover brands, connect, and socialize in their own spaces. 

The company said the program will be split into two phases, the first involving broad concept ideation and the second refining the concept. The second phase will culminate in a face-to-face ‘demo day’ where Diageo will select up to five concepts to progress to a post-program pilot stage. 

“During this stage, selected participants will be offered an opportunity to enter a commercial relationship with Diageo and given the support required to co-develop, validate, refine, and launch new products in the market,” Diageo said. 

The other companies in the first cohort are from the United States, Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, and Ireland. 

Founded in 2020, Wowzi is an influencer marketing platform that enables organizations such as EABL to work with a wide range of creators. 

Wowzi works by linking up brands with individuals who are willing to amplify their messages, enabling anybody to be an influencer and companies to reach their target audiences.

The news come after Diageo reported a 0.6 percent drop in organic net sales during the first half of fiscal 2024.

The reported net sales for this period, spanning July to December 2023, declined by 1.4 percent to US$11 billion. The company attributed this downturn to an unfavorable foreign exchange rate of US$167 million and a substantial 23 percent plunge in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region.

Diageo had previously issued a warning in November about the anticipated double-digit drop in the LAC region.

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