P&G plans physical business incubator as part of Ventures initiative
- Procter & Gamble (P&G) will open a physical business incubator as part of its P&G Ventures initiative, Campaign reported. The incubator will partner with Los Angeles-based brand foundry and venture investor M13 and "leverage external startup capabilities and funding" to support the brands its develops, P&G CFO Jon Moeller said.
- P&G Ventures has previously backed brands touching across a number of categories, including the insect control device maker Zevo and Opté, which leverages technology like camera optics to improve skincare.
- Opté and home-scent device creator Airia were among the brands that P&G exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January — its first time presenting at the conference. P&G said it was in the top 2% of most-searched exhibitors at CES and its participation led to 273 media placements, more than 7 billion earned impressions and 500 customer and partner leads, according to Campaign.
The launch of a physical incubator studio extends P&G's efforts to incorporate more technology and innovation into its brands as consumer needs and expectations shift. Any new brands that are successfully developed through the program will be brought back into one of the company's six, category-focused units, according to Campaign. P&G plans to reorganize its business structure around those units starting in July.
At CES, P&G focused on a commitment to deepening its connections to technology and developing purpose-driven marketing to support new products. CFO Moeller signaling that P&G was able to receive a high amount of interest at the typically busy Las Vegas show in its first year officially presenting suggests that the effort was a success. CES is a valuable way for startups to pitch their ideas out to investors and bigger brands, and for traditional companies to keep a finger on the pulse of emerging trends.
P&G's approach to tapping into those trends has so far appeared two-pronged. On the one hand, the Cincinnati-based marketer has been supporting more younger, digital-first brands, like Opté, through its Ventures unit, and the latest partnership with M13 shows that this strategy will likely continue to be a focus going forward. But P&G is also more frequently outright acquiring upstart companies to stay ahead of the game, mirroring an approach Unilever took when it purchased the subscription razor service Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion in 2016.
Late last year, P&G bought Walker & Company, a direct-to-consumer marketer that creates grooming and haircare products targeted at consumers of color, like Bevel and Form. Similarly, in February, P&G acquired This Is L., a cause-driven marketer of feminine care products like tampons, pads and liners. This Is L. has previously proved a disruptor to legacy P&G brands like Always and Tampax.
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