PepsiCo is looking for a few good partners. Ten, to be exact; and technology partners, that is. And they are looking to consumers to provide them.
Its new innovation incubator, PepsiCo10, will boost 10 entrepreneurs with money, marketing, and brand resources from a stable of products including Pepsi, Quaker, Frito-Lay, Tropicana and Gatorade.
Their latest engagement campaign offers venture capital-backed funding for pilot tech-based projects. Budgets can range from $250,000 to $10 million (and/or annual revenues of $250,000 or more). They'll also consider early stage tech startups that are already public or getting ready to launch.
"As it becomes more challenging to engage consumers, and as new [media] platforms emerge, we thought: 'What better way to get in with them and support them. There's lots of emerging technology and emerging platforms. The question is, how can they connect brands with consumers?” Seth Kaufman, PepsiCo's director of media strategy and investment, commented to Mediapost.
PepsiCo is already leading the charge by scrapping its Super Bowl spending in favor of crowdsourcing and social media, a strategy which is paying off well for both consumer awareness and brand sales.
Now partnering with Highland Capital Partners, a global venture capital firm, and Mashable, submissions will be narrowed to 20 semifinalists, who will pitch in person to PepsiCo executives and other agencies including OMD Ignition Factory, TracyLocke, dmg::events and Weber Shandwick. A final round of ten ideas will be chosen to develop.
"It's helping us create new capabilities in new media. We need different skill sets internally. This will get us [learning] new platforms before they emerge and before they're scaled,” adds Kaufman.
As the first generation of digital natives moves into the marketplace, smart companies are welcoming their customers' ideas and innovation, both of which are sorely needed in a world of high-speed and prodigious consumption.
Got an idea? Submit it here.