Big companies frequently acquire startups to stay innovative, or found venture arms to invest in them. They form R&D labs isolated from the day-to-day corporate structure and task them with keeping the company innovative. In other words, there are lots of ways big companies try to be more like startups, but this next one is new to me.
Mondel?z International, a division of Kraft, is running a competition called the “Mobile Futures” program in which its brands partner with startups to create entirely new business ventures. Of course, corporate competitions for startups aren’t new, but this one seems different for at least two reasons: it’s focused on winners teaching brands about startup culture; and the end product is an entirely new venture.
Dailybreak, the local digital engagement startup, has been selected from 126 applications to participate, partnering with Halls, the cough drop company, and a Mondel?z brand.
Apparently, a member of the Dailybreak sales team read about the competition and brought it to the company’s attention. Founder Boris Revsin pitched Mondel?z on his startup’s mobile prowess, and the company was selected.
The goal is to launch a new, mobile business venture for Halls in just 90 days. But what’s most interesting is that the process will require “multi-day cultural immersion sessions,” meaning the Halls team will get to learn what it’s like to work at Dailybreak. (No word yet on whether they’ll be packing togas.)
“This is exactly what we’re looking for to keep our brand top of mind for consumers,” said Gregory Nesmith of Halls in a release. Mondel?z certainly gets credit for trying something different. This seems almost like a consulting model with a bit of startup summer camp tacked onto it. And for Dailybreak, helping the company found a whole new business is an ambitious task.
Corporations have largely failed to incorporate the agility and creativity of startups into their cultures. Perhaps one way to do it is to sit down with a startup and found a new one together.