Amatil X: On the Lookout for the Future


Coca-Cola Amatil has announced the launch of Amatil X, a new platform for emerging possibilities to power growth beyond Coca-Cola Amatil’s core business.

The new venture will support the development of concepts, start-ups and early-stage businesses that anticipate and address customer needs, and is a way for Coca-Cola Amatil to find new avenues of growth. Group managing director Alison Watkins says the world of customers is changing quickly, with increasing expectations driven by technology. “While remaining focused on our core is critical, we need to find new avenues of growth. We want to continue to challenge ourselves to provide our customers with ‘Only at Amatil’ experiences,” she says. At the core is AX Ventures, a multi-million dollar corporate venturing programme that has been set up to invest in future revenue growth opportunities outside of Amatil’s current business – and beyond innovation in beverages which sit within the core business. Investment opportunities will be identified via two avenues:

  • Xcelerate – a corporate accelerator programme to operate in New Zealand and Australia powered by leading start-up accelerator BlueChilli. Xcelerate will seek applications from entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, gaining first-hand access to emerging technologies and trends; building a pipeline of investible businesses; and supporting the overall start-up ecosystem in New Zealand and Australia. Applications for Xcelerate opened last month.
  • Xponential – an employee venturing programme. Xponential will leverage Amatil’s existing innovation programmes and other initiatives to identify internal opportunities for AX Ventures to invest.

Importantly, the programmes within AmatilX are not open to proposals for new beverages, and do not compete with existing innovation pipelines provided by brand partners including The Coca-Cola Company, Watkins says. Instead, there are three broad themes:

  • Millions  of moments of impact: concepts for creating a sustainable future
  • One step ahead: concepts for redefining the customer experience; and
  • Route to me: concepts for exploring alternative ways of getting customers what they want, when and where they want it.

The programmes will leverage Coca-Cola Amatil’s ability to rapidly test and validate relevant ideas and prototype solutions which improve the customer experience or create potential revenue streams.

At the end of the programme, AX Ventures will review participants for further investment. “Our team has been examining rapidly evolving companies across various sectors in Australia and overseas for the past six months,” Watkins says. “The result is Amatil X. Our aspiration is for Amatil X to set the benchmark for how to bridge the gap between large established corporations and the agility and innovation of start-up businesses, so that we leverage entrepreneurs to help fuel our growth agenda. We are investing today for tomorrow’s growth. We want the start-up community to know we’re open for business and supporting both the start-up community ecosystem, and the New Zealand and Australian economies.”