The Unilever Foundry 50 returns to Lions Innovation at Cannes 2016

Unilever Foundry 50 returns to Lions Innovation at Cannes this year, which will see the world’s top 50 marketing technology startups showcase their technology, pitch their solutions to brand and agency leaders from around the world and catalyse new partnerships.

Unilever launched the Foundry 50 initiative with Lions Innovation last year as a way to introduce entrepreneurs to marketing leaders at Cannes and kick start collaborations.

The initiative is being scaled up this year to provide even more opportunity for startups to engage with champions of data, technology and ideas during the two-day event on 21 and 22 June.

Successful startups will be given access to exclusive networking opportunities, discounted accommodation in the Foundry 50 village for four nights, a free delegate pass to Lions Innovation conference and the opportunity to showcase their technology in an interactive space on the show floor.

The Foundry 50 will be chosen by a panel of experts, including co-founder Brent Hoberman, Rob Dembitz, head of Lions Innovation, Karmarama Creative Director, Jo Jenkins, Olivier Garel, head of Unilever Ventures and Aline Santos, senior VP of global marketing at Unilever.

To be one of the 50, startups need to be innovative and truly disruptive, clearly differentiated from competitors already in the market, relevant and interesting to the brand, marketing and advertising industry, as well as incorporation within the last 5 years.

The startups must demonstrate innovation in one of the following five categories: Future of Retail, Brand and Content Innovation, Data, Insights and Personalisation, Social Impact or Engaging Millennials

Aline Santos, SVP marketing at Unilever, said 80 per cent of the Foundry 50 from 2015 are now working with Unilever and other global brands, showing the success of the programme.

Santos added: "Like Unilever Foundry, Lions Innovation believe that fostering the creativity and innovation of tech startups is instrumental to bringing the future of marketing forward. By working collectively with startups, we can supercharge the transformation of our industry, and that's good for consumers, for brands and for entrepreneurs."

Lions Festivals chief executive, Philip Thomas, said: "This is a unique opportunity for the most promising international crop of innovators to get their ideas in front of the brands and agencies who can really bring them to life; a process we believe is fundamental to the future of the industry."

Startups can apply to become part of the Foundry 50 by 11 March. Ten startups will be selected against each of the five categories. Winning startups will take part in a four day Foundry 50 programme from 20 to 23 June.

Jessica Goodfellow

The Drum's media reporter covering everything from publishing, TV, social media, radio and technology.

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