While Procter & Gamble generated most of its growth from innovating from within, in 2000 CEO A.G. Lafley didn’t think the company could continue on that trajectory. It was spending greater amounts on R&D for smaller payoffs. Lafley’s idea was to do away with the “invent it yourself” approach and replace it with a “connect and develop” model, wherein P&G identifies promising ideas from around the world that they can develop, improve, scale up and market.
P&G Ventures functions as a startup studio within Procter & Gamble. It takes a new approach to creating brands by developing both internal and external ideas, as well as by creating unique partnerships that bring in early-stage startups to help them grow.
Cincinnati Future spoke with Lauren Thaman, Senior Director of Communications at P&G Ventures to find out more about.
“We are an early-stage startup studio that partners with entrepreneurs, startups, and technologies to create and build new brands and businesses that solve people’s needs in P&G categories. Within our current business units, we have Venture Labs, which are very specific, such as Beauty, Home Care, etc. The idea is to create technology in those spaces that solves a customer pain point on one of our categories,” Thaman said.
“One thing that’s being worked on is an insect control product from Zevo that can be used without endangering people and pets. Another of our projects is a beauty tech device that scans, detects, and corrects hyperpigmentation called Opte.”
“As part of P&G Ventures, we really work to reach and support the entrepreneurs behind those technologies. We want to make sure that they walk away learning something new and we seek to learn from the entrepreneurs as well,” Thaman said.
One of the ways P&G Ventures seeks out budding entrepreneurs who are driving the next generation of tech is through their yearly Innovation Challenge. At this year’s virtual event, there were four finalists competing:
- Fluo Labs LLC, which has patented a device that uses light therapy to provide drug-free allergy relief.
- Glimpse Diagnostics, which provides accurate at-home ear infection diagnoses.
- SAVRPak, which offers a food packaging technology that keeps food fresh by removing moisture from the air.
- spotLESS Material Inc., which is a collection of non-stick coating designed to use less water and keep surfaces clean.
SAVRPak, represented by Chief Technology Officer Bill Birgen, was the competition winner.
Support for female entrepreneurs
P&G is not only product-focused. Cognitive of the fact that female entrepreneurs get only about 2% of $130 billion in venture capital funds, P&G Ventures partnered with the Vinetta Project designed a yearlong program that features a series of mentorship opportunities, pitch contests and networking events for female entrepreneurs.