The Unilever Foundry, Unilever.com/foundry, is a platform for new partnerships, through which start-up companies pitch their ideas to the market giant, has procured several "smart" product concepts for personal care and other markets. According to the company, since its launch in May 2014, the platform has received an overwhelming level of engagement from innovative companies. Further, this is the first time the company's specific "Internet of Things" briefs have been shared with the start-up community.
Briefs are posted on The Unilever Foundry and start-ups are invited to pitch their technology. Following a selection process, at least one company generally moves forward to launch a paid pilot with Unilever. Successful pilots may then be scaled up, and new strategic partnerships created.
Marc Mathieu, senior vice president of global marketing for Unilever, explained in a press statement, “...Unilever is always looking for new ways to engage with our consumers. The Internet of Things is transforming the home, the way we shop and the way people engage with brands. We want to inspire and lead that transformation.”
The briefs include some that could be applied to beauty and personal care, as well as fashion. These include "Smart Bathrooms," to enable families to plan, organize and enjoy their personal care and grooming regime and products more efficiently. Also, "Smart Packaging," to bridge the physical and digital divide at retail. Another is "Smart Wardrobe," to help people understand what clothes they have available, their condition, and provide recommendations based on schedules, the weather or other factors.