A large group of top managers of AB InBev, the largest beer brewery in the world, visited the Skolkovo Foundation. Over several hours representatives of the Belgian company, led by Vice President for Global Solutions Tassilo Festetics, toured the Skolkovo Technopark, visited the store that sells retail solutions designed by Skolkovo residents, and held a meeting with Kirill Kaem, Senior Vice President of the Foundation for Innovations. After that seven resident companies of Skolkovo held a pitch session for the managers of AB InBev.
Anna Bezlepkina, member of the international department of Skolkovo, tells top managers of AB InBev about the ecosystem of the Foundation. Photo: Sk.ru .
The Belgian beer giant does business all over the world, and is responsible for more than 30% of global beer sales. The company’s headquarters are located in the old Belgian town of Leuven, which is also home to the corporate R&D Center and Global Innovation and Technology Center (GITEC). GITEC employs some 120 researchers from across the world. Beer Garage, AB InBev’s corporate laboratory of technological innovations, is located in Mountain View, CA. One of the subdivisions of Beer Garage manages the process of digitizing workplaces in the company.
Arkady Dvorkovich, Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation, with Tassilo Festetics. Photo: Sk.ru.
Kirill Kaem gave the representatives of AB InBev a detailed review of Skolkovo and Skoltech activities. Initially, the Foundation, which will celebrate 10 years next May, used to focus on support of startups, including grant support programs. As of late, however, acceleration has become one of the most popular trends in Skolkovo, and that includes international cooperation as well.
“Cheaper is never good”
During Kirill Kaem’s presentation Tassilo Festetics kept asking pointed questions, which were mostly global in nature, as befit his position in the corporation. Some of the questions he asked were: “What are the success criteria for the Foundation? What are your goals in relation to participating companies: do you want to have as many of them as possible, or do you want them to represent mostly mature projects?” He also wanted to know what value Skolkovo added into corporate acceleration programs that are being implemented with the participation of the Foundation. The Belgian company’s top manager was interested in development prospects of Skoltech and the general principles of management of Skolkovo’s innovative ecosystem.
Olga Strelova, Director of the Skolkovo Center of retail technologies, took the representatives of the Belgian beer brewery on a tour of the Technopark shop where they could see the solutions offered by Skolkovo startups. Photo: Sk.ru.
Further on, during the pitching session of PredTech, one of Skolkovo’s startups, Tasillo Festetics asked the co-founder of the company, Fedor Krupnyansky, what his ambition was: “Where do you want to be with your company?” Kirill Kaem asked Mr. Festetics not only to ask questions but also to offer his comments, and so he did. Some of the remarks he made during the presentation of Skolkovo companies, were quite frank. For instance, when he heard Fedor Krupnyansky refer to the advantages of PredTech solutions before competition as being “cheaper,” the Vice President of AB InBev Efes reacted instantly: “Cheaper is never good.” The presenter had to agree.
Representatives of six more Skolkovo startups offering the technologies that could be used in retail – BestPlace, Tsuru Robotics, UVL Robotics, LoReTT, HEVEL and Solex – presented their companies for the managers from Belgium.
Kirill Kaem, Senior Vice President for Innovations, Skolkovo Foundation: “Skolkovo is getting increasingly more focused on acceleration activities.” Photo: Sk.ru.
Now when it comes to the aforementioned PredTech Company, it does have experience of interacting with the Russian division of the Belgian giant, AB InBev Efes. Fedor Krupnyansky told Sk.ru that his company was offering a sales forecasting service. There are two forecasts included in this service: the first concerns shelf sales to customers, and the second – company sales to retail chains. The retail chains in question are such giants of the Russian market as Magnit and Perekrestok. According to the co-founder of PredTech, an agreement with the beer brewery has not yet been signed, but the potential partners have already discussed its main parameters.
Welcoming the top manager of the AB InBev’s global office to Skolkovo, Mr. Krupnyansky used this opportunity to offer retailers a program of joint trade marketing activities – smart mailings to the database of loyal clients.
Fedor Krupnyansky of PredTech discusses his cooperation projects with representatives of AB InBev Company. Photo: Sk.ru.
“Overall, we are looking for companies whose technologies will mature within the next 2 to 4 years,” Vice President of AB InBev told Kirill Kayem. “The logic in this approach is that customers buy our products every day, while your partners, such as Boeing, enter into ten year sales contracts. We are interested in anything that can help improve our customer interaction.”
A number of such solutions has been presented by Skolkovo startups.