Startups & Ideas

Influencer Startup Wowzi Joins Diageo Fusion Lab Program

Diageo PLC, in a significant move to foster digital innovation within the consumer experience domain, has welcomed the influencer startup called Wowzi into the inaugural cohort of its global partnership lab, Fusion by Diageo. This collaboration is facilitated through Diageo’s association with East African Breweries PLC (EABL), aiming to co-develop the next generation of digital products.

Fusion by Diageo is a meticulously designed 13-week programme initiated last month to support growth-stage start-ups. It seeks to equip them with necessary coaching and industry insights to ideate and develop digital products and services in tandem with Diageo. Wowzi, among 17 digital entities chosen from a vast pool of applications, will engage in the programme’s first edition themed ‘Celebrate at Home’. This theme is aimed at revolutionizing how consumers explore brands and socialize in personal spaces, with participants hailing from diverse global locations including the United States, Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, and Ireland.

Established in 2020, Wowzi has made its mark as an influencer marketing platform that facilitates brand interactions with a broad spectrum of creators, enabling virtually anyone to be an influencer. This innovative approach allows companies to effectively reach their target demographics.

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The ambition behind Fusion by Diageo is to harness cutting-edge technology to craft unique consumer experiences, ranging from AI-driven personalised product recommendations to utilising VR and AR technologies for transforming home environments into immersive spaces.

The programme is divided into two phases: an initial broad concept ideation phase followed by a refinement phase, culminating in a ‘Demo Day’. On this day, Diageo will select up to five concepts for a post-programme pilot stage, offering chosen participants a chance to enter into a commercial relationship with Diageo. This stage is dedicated to co-developing, validating, refining, and launching new market-ready products.

Waithera Kabiru, Diageo’s Digital Hub Lead for Africa, expressed her enthusiasm about incorporating Wowzi into the programme, highlighting the firm’s potential in fuelling Africa’s creator economy. Anne Joy Michira, EABL’s Marketing and Innovation Director, praised Wowzi for introducing a novel approach to digital marketing and expressed anticipation for their global scale-up starting with Fusion by Diageo.

Mike Otieno, Co-founder and President of Wowzi, shared his outlook on the strategic importance of joining Fusion by Diageo, viewing it as a pivotal step towards redefining industry standards through digital innovation. He emphasized the collective commitment within Fusion to ideate and innovate, aiming to significantly impact Diageo’s customer engagement strategies.

The first cohort of Fusion by Diageo embarks on a journey filled with training, expert talks, personalized coaching, and opportunities for networking, knowledge sharing, and creating synergies among innovative minds. This initiative marks a significant step towards shaping the future of digital consumer experiences, with Wowzi at the forefront of this transformative endeavour.


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