Shorter payment terms, simplified procurement: Unilever’s keys to getting start-ups on-board

Eradicating barriers to business – such as long payment times and slow contract processes – has meant Unilever is now working with more than 100 start-ups globally, explained Jeremy Basset, the head of the conglomerate’s Foundry.

The group’s subset is the point of entry for innovators looking to work with Unilever’s portfolio of 400-plus brands.

“When it comes to start-ups, we realised we needed a different approach and different processes to make the whole thing easier,” Basset told The Drum. “We worked with procurement to simplify the way start-ups were brought on board, we also shortened the payment terms to make sure it was more acceptable for start-ups to be working with us and we worked with legal to make the contracting process easier as well.”

He added that working within these parameters means it becomes a lot easier to “on-board” start-ups. Of the Foundry’s process, Basset said: “I wouldn’t say it’s fool proof but the we’re definitely making life easier for both parties.”

The marketer recently spoke at Collider’s Demo Day, where he explained how Unilever’s new relationship with start-up Find The Ripple has benefited the group financially.

Also at the event, Collider’s co-founder Rose Lewis was vocal in encouraging the London marcoms industry to catch up with the flourishing start-up scene in the US. She said Brits’ American counterparts “are more able to take risk, and they’re willing to try stuff in a much bigger way than we are here”.

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