EIC Planet.tech interview with AB InBev: a green mindset
On 3 and 4 June 2020 the European Innovation Council celebrated the launched of a brand-new initiative specifically focused on the EU Green Deal. The EIC Planet.tech brings together EIC-backed start-ups/scale-ups with four large corporates, namely AB inBev, DEME, Nestle and P&G, with the objective to develop a number of impactful Proof of Concepts (PoC).
Nicolas Verschelden, Head of Digital Innovation ABI Europe and Managing Partner Dream Tech alliance, a joint consortium of different tech-partners that co-innovate and co-invest together, goes deeper into AB InBev’s motivations for joining Planet.tech and what they are hoping to get out of it.
How does EIC Planet.tech challenge fit into AB InBev’s vision and strategy?
For ABI its important to get 100% returning or recycled material by 2025, aligned with the goals set out in the EU Green Deal. An initiative like Planet.tech enables us to fast-track these goals and have access to high quality scale-ups that are already curated by the EIC. In addition, we have the opportunity to work together with other large corporates, have joint pilots together and look at what they are doing in terms of innovation. Fur us it’s mainly circular packaging, but for the other companies it’s e.g. plastics and sustainable food. We can combine forces on certain areas, all for the greater good. I imagine that for the scale-ups it’s also more interesting, because they have a broader horizon to pitch to, with many corporates at the same time.
You have organized several Corporate Days together with the EIC. What selection criteria did you use for Planet.tech to select the scale-ups?
Having experienced several EIC Corporate Days before, really helped us in our decision-making. In the end we selected a few scale-ups that we already knew, but the majority are new ones. This enables us to get a broader horizon with some key players in the industry that we wouldn’t have found without EIC and Planet.tech. Compared to the Corporate Days we are of course more focused on sustainable, green innovations. We were also very specific in our challenges, giving it more granularity. The scale-ups that answered were spot-on with the challenges we were looking to fulfil, and we are looking forward to establishing collaborations.
When would Planet.tech be a success for AB InBev?
I think the success of Planet.tech is twofold. One the one hand you have the real tangible facts and figures, the KPIs: number of SMEs reached, number of SMEs invited, one to one conversations, follow-ups, pilots and, in the end, number of concrete collaborations. Basically the hard facts and figure. The other part is more intangible, in terms of mindset. The interaction with all these business partners, corporates and EIC participants will broaden our minds and it will give a new fresh vision on what’s being done and what it’s valuable for us.