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EABL parent firm picks Kenyan startup for inaugural growth accelerator programme


Kenyan startup Wowzi has been selected to join the first cohort of Diageo PLC’s growth accelerator programme through Diageo’s work with East African Breweries PLC (EABL).

The accelerator programme known as Fusion by Diageo, aims to identify leading innovators to co-develop the next generation of digital products that will elevate consumer experiences. 

The first cohort is a 13-week programme (which began last month) designed for growth-stage start-ups and will provide participants with the coaching and industry expertise they need to develop concepts for digital products and services in collaboration with Diageo, EABL’s parent firm. 

“Fusion by Diageo is our way of being externally focused and looking beyond our boundaries to transform what we do in a consumer-centric way. I am excited to see Wowzi join the first cohort as we have already experienced their potential as a leading platform that is fueling the creator economy in Africa.” Diageo’s Digital Hub Lead for Africa, Waithera Kabiru, said. 

Wowzi is one of 17 digital outfits selected from hundreds of applications and will take part in the first edition themed ‘Celebrate at Home’ to explore how to transform the way consumers discover brands, connect, and socialize in their own spaces. The other companies in the first cohort are from the United States, Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, and Ireland.

Founded in 2020, Wowzi is an influencer marketing platform that enables organisations such as EABL to work with a wide range of creators. Wowzi works by linking up brands with individuals who are willing to amplify their messages, enabling anybody to be an influencer and companies to reach their target audiences.

“As Wowzi becomes a part of Fusion by Diageo, we view this as a strategic move towards not just staying ahead of the curve but reshaping industry norms entirely by pushing the boundaries of digital innovation to set new standards for what’s achievable. ‘’ Co-founder and President of Wowzi, Mike Otieno, said. 

Diageo in a statement said it is particularly excited about the potential to harness the latest technology to create highly individualised experiences for the home; whether using AI to hand-pick product recommendations, or the latest VR and AR technology to transform spaces, where everyone has a front-row seat.

The programme will be split into two phases, the first involving broad concept ideation and the second a refinement of the concept. The second phase will conclude with an in-person ‘Demo Day’, where Diageo will select up to five concepts to progress to a post programme pilot stage. During this stage, selected participants will be offered an opportunity to enter a commercial relationship with Diageo, and given the support required to co-develop, validate, refine, and launch new products in market.

 “With their vision and their work, Wowzi has brought a fresh new approach to digital marketing, streamlining the way brands can partner with content creators. We congratulate them on being selected for Fusion by Diageo and look forward to seeing their work scale across the world, and this begins with their participation in this global initiative.” Anne Joy Michira, EABL’s Marketing and Innovation Director, said.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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