Startups, don’t wait: $5M+ in innovation challenges, $400k+ for pilots

December 7th, 2017

Startups like yours could help transform a Global 2000 corporation’s business, providing you with valuable insights and revenue in the process. Don’t miss any such opportunities in 2018. Check out KITE’s latest Startup Newsletter (below) and sign up for our monthly updates.

“Build continuous customer discovery into your company DNA,” advises Lean Startup Godfather Steve Blank in this recent post. Indeed, when (prospective) customers share their biggest problems, they can point you in a direction you might not even have considered.

Use these cues (and opportunities) from the Global 2000 to boost your business in 2018:

  • $5MM+ in Challenges: Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft’s Innovate.AI & more
  • 4 BBC Worldwide Labs Pilots: BBC Earth – Audio, Analytics and Insight Automation & more
  • 8 Unilever Foundry Pilots for Connected Ice Cream Cabinet, Digital Dentist & more ($250k)
  • 3 Nestle Pilots for Spreading Nutrition Knowledge, Nurturing Next-Gen Farmers & more ($150k)
  • Accelerators: Alltech in Dublin, FinTech Empowered by FIS, METRO in Berlin & more


$5MM+ in Challenges: Humana, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft’s Innovate.AI & more

Johnson & Johnson Digital Beauty QuickFire Challenge (up to $50k)
Seeks digital solutions for providing better skin care outcomes for consumers around the world. Prize money + access to experts, 1-yr residency at a J&J Innovation lab & more.
Deadline: January 19, 2018

Innovate.AI Competition (total prize pool valued at $5.5MM)
Seeks early-stage startups in North America, Europe and Israel harnessing the power of A.I. & machine learning. Invests $1MM in one startup per region; $500k “AI for Good” prize. Presented by Microsoft Ventures & other VC firms.
Deadline: December 31

Digital News Innovation Challenge (up to $100k in non-dilutive seed capital)
Canada-wide program seeks early-stage startups driving innovation for journalism and news organizations. Organized by the DMZ’s Sandbox, Ryerson School of Journalism at FCAD in partnership w/ Facebook Journalism Project.
Applications open January 25, 2018


4 BBC Worldwide Labs Pilots: BBC Earth – Audio, Analytics and Insight Automation & more

Note: Challenges are open to UK and non-UK startups, scale-ups and established companies. All offer an opportunity to pitch and pilot (though not always paid).

BBC Earth – Audio
Seeks next-gen & experimental audio products to unlock new value of existing audio IP. BBC Earth is a global portfolio brand that invites audiences everywhere to engage with the wonders of our universe.
Deadline: December 31

Analytics and Insight Automation
Seeks to automatically capture & distribute content performance, customer analytics & more across linear and digital channels globally.
Deadline: December 31

Automated Claiming of Content on YouTube
Seeks to improve the speed and accuracy of claiming our content from across YouTube. Solution should automatically surface content based on predefined keywords, titles, descriptions, tags and other metadata not picked up by Content ID.
Deadline: December 31

Digital Traffic Trading
For marketing its content, seeks solution to automate the trade and exchange digital traffic with partners, at scale (specifically 3rd-party platform traffic trading).
Deadline: December 31


8 Unilever Foundry Pilots for Connected Ice Cream Cabinet, Digital Dentist & more ($250k)

Unlocking New Shopper Insights ($50k)
Unilever Singapore seeks solutions that can extract meaningful shopper insights from both conventional as well as nontraditional sources.
Deadline: January 30, 2018

Digital Dentist ($50k)
Seeks help developing a digital platform for people to access dentist advice on demand and for professionals to find & retain patients.
Deadline: January 1, 2018

Integrated Data Insights Solution ($50k)
Seeks integrated insights platform/solution that will allow all stakeholders to derive data that will help them make decisions impacting the 6Ps (Product, Pack, Price, Place, Promotion, and Proposition).
Deadline: January 30, 2018

Measuring Packaging Resilience Throughout The Supply Chain ($50k)
Seeks partners to help develop a way of measuring the impact on packaging as it is transported, sorted, labeled, filled and capped.
Deadline: January 27, 2018

Global Water Challenge ($50k)
Seeks water innovation; could include consumer access, reduction in use, behavior-change marketing, global cooperation.
Deadline: December 31

Connected Ice Cream Cabinet
Seeks startups that can drive product awareness and support conversion for either in-store solutions or unique experiences relating to the ice cream category.
Deadline: December 30

Humanizing Big Data
Seeks help to make sense of explosion of data sources and data points available to Unilever.
Deadline: December 31

Meal Inspiration In Store
Seeks an in-store meal solution for tonight’s dinner, as neither Unilever nor retailers are providing shoppers with a clearly communicated, inviting in-store solution.
Deadline: December 28


3 Nestle Pilots for Spreading Nutrition Knowledge, Nurturing Next-Gen Farmers & more ($150k)

Sustainable Pouches ($50k)
Seeks to create soft food pouch that leads sustainability gains in the baby food market and helps parents reduce their environmental impact.
Deadline: February 4, 2018

Spreading Nutrition Knowledge & Empowering Better Health ($50k)
Seeks partner to partner to help hone and deliver nutrition info, tools and tips that could save lives in equatorial Africa.
Deadline: February 4, 2018

Nurturing the Next Generation of Farmers ($50k)
Seeks partner to help deliver agripreneurship training in a flexible, scalable way. Must be able to handle regional variations in skills, knowledge, literacy and access to tech.
Deadline: February 4, 2018


Accelerators:  Alltech in Dublin, FinTech Empowered by FIS, METRO in Berlin & more

Pearse Lyons accelerator – Dublin
12-wk program for 5 disruptive agritech companies. €15k & no equity taken. Alltech is an ag science co founded in 1980 by Irish entrepreneur, Dr. Pearse Lyons.
Deadline: December 22

VC FinTech Accelerator, Empowered by FIS – Little Rock, AR
12-wk program for 10 early-stage startups in range of fintech areas. $75k initial; follow-on up to $300k. FIS is world’s largest global provider dedicated to banking & payments technologies.
Deadline: February 5, 2018

METRO Accelerator – RETAIL by Techstars – Berlin
12-wk program for 10 startups building digital solutions for all store sizes (e.g., in-store experiences & analytics, mobile commerce). $120k for 6-10% equity. METRO is a global market leader in wholesale and food.
Deadline: February 2, 2018

SKTA Innovation Accelerator – Sunnyvale
10-wk program for pre-seed/seed stage startups in core technology (telecom, semiconductor & systems, more). SKTA is the BD/VC arm of SK Telecom, Korea’s largest wireless operator.
Deadline: Rolling

Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball – Camden, NJ
Seeks unique companies (esp those in sports, tech and consumer-facing). Provides office space, housing and food. Equity taken varies. Length of program flexible.
Deadline: Rolling

R/GA IoT Venture Studio – London
12-wk program for 10 startups — early-stage and growth-stage across a variety of verticals in IoT and connected spaces. Up to £75K for up to 6% equity.
Deadline: December 7

Microsoft Accelerator – London
4-mo program for scale-ups in enterprise software/ SaaS in industries such as fintech, manufacturing, gaming, public sector, retail and healthcare.
Deadline: January 31, 2018

Honda Xcelerator – Silicon Valley
Seeks startups across all funding stages transforming the mobility experience.  Provides funding for rapid prototyping, collaborative workspace, pairing w/ Honda mentors.
Deadline: Open


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