Unilever launches its first co-working space to encourage collaboration with startups

Unilever launches its first co-working space

Unilever Foundry, the FMCG giant’s startup partnership business, has launched its first ever co-working space in Singapore, Level3.

The brand said the space was a ‘physical manifestation’ of the concept behind Unilever Foundry, in that it connects small businesses and innovations to the corporate world via Unilever brands.

Jonathan Hammond, head of Unilever Foundry, said: “Born through Unilever Foundry’s own mission to collaborate, experiment, and pioneer for a sustainable future, Level3 is a physical manifestation of this ethos.”

The space, which is inside the Unilever Singapore headquarters, houses 15 startups at launch, including Adludio, ConnectedLife, Datacraft, EcoHub, GetCraft, Next Billion, Olapic, Snapcart, TaskSpotting and Try and Review, but will eventually hold around 50.

The space will feed in Foundry projects that work on live Unilever brand briefs and problems, as well as creating spaces in which startups and Unilever staff can formally or informally work together. According to the business, there will be learning and networking opportunities such as fireside chats, sharing sessions, mentoring programmes and access to training and resources offered by technology partners.

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, president, South East Asia and Australasia, said: “Level3 stems from our mission to make sustainable living commonplace. It offers our business a direct connection with disruptive technologies and changemakers to shape the way we work -- ultimately impacting people’s lives. Level3 is the springboard for startups to scale and build successful businesses.”

The project is a collaboration between innovation catalyst Padang&Co and Unilever Foundry, with support coming from the Economic Development Board, a part of the Singapore Government.

Speaking at the event, Dr Beh Swan Gin, chairman of Singapore Economic Development Board, said it was part of a long term investment from Unilever into the country, adding to its plans to make it a Southeast Asian hub for digital and innovation.

“The set-up of Level3 in Singapore – a global first for Unilever – is a strong testament to the growing vibrancy of Singapore’s startup ecosystem. Level3 represents an emerging corporate innovation model that is aligned with EDB’s efforts to encourage collaborations between multinational companies and other enterprises such as startups.”

Unilever launched its Foundry business three years ago, with Singapore following behind in 2015. Since then it’s been partnering with startups in Singapore, including via pitch-off style competitions.

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