As a leading conglomerate in the country with over 150 years of global leadership, the Aditya Birla Group (ABG) has focused on the continuous pursuit of innovation across its businesses. While the company has heavily invested in innovation across key sectors it operates in, the group also took a conscious decision to explore the external ecosystems to address key opportunities and challenges.
In 2015, ABG started Aditya Birla BizLabs, a platform that enables innovative startups to get market access and new customers to rapidly scale up by leveraging the Aditya Birla Group’s global reach and business expertise. Over the years, Aditya Birla BizLabs has enabled partnership of over 25 startups with multiple businesses such as the Aditya Birla Group’s retail, financial services, and mobility businesses.
Embracing outside-in innovation
BizLabs is the open innovation platform of the group that promotes collaboration with people and organisations outside the company to resolve challenges that are relevant to the group and also critical in the wider global context. For BizLabs to effectively function as an outside-in thinking platform, it has three tracks catering to startups at different stages of their life cycle.
“We believe that continuously learning from the outside world is essential to our businesses. It is critical for us to have not just inside-out innovation, but also outside-in innovation. What lies at the core of the Aditya Birla Labs is our principles of keeping our values and ethics first and being fair in all our dealings,” says Shrijeet Mishra, Chief Innovation Officer and Head Group Services, Aditya Birla Management Corporation Limited.
Who can apply?
Aditya Birla BizLabs is looking to collaborate with startups, students, venture capitalists and incubators who innovate under relevant areas in each theme including but not limited to:
- Consumer Centricity – Experiences and possibilities, building specialised/customised solutions (at scale), value-added/downstream products, leverage value chain partners
- Customer Lifetime Value – Joint vision with accounts, leveraging loyal customers, improving sales across categories, ingredient branding/traceability
- Lean and Clean – Achieving a low carbon footprint, deriving value from industrial waste, building a circular economy, enabling lean operations (in manufacturing and supply chain)
- Emergent technology and materials – Developing new materials/composites/alloys, smart processes, sustainable packing, 3D printing
If you have an existing product or solution, a commercial proof of concept, a differentiated value proposition for the above-mentioned problems, and a passionate team, apply to the BizLabs program.
How do partners benefit?
ABG has 11 million-plus customers, over 10,000 SMEs, more than 80,000 agents, and a network of over 2,00,000 distributors.
For startups, this is a great platform to scale their ideas globally across sectors, while leveraging the deep industry expertise of ABG leaders. They also get access to potential investment opportunities, a chance to build a pilot at commercial scale and connect with the ecosystem of VCs and universities.
Universities get to apply these ideas in real-life and provide them with the opportunity to win placements, awards and sponsorships. They also get to interact with global thought leaders.
VCs and incubators get the chance to leverage the expertise of ABG, network with startups on revolutionary ideas and connect with universities.
Solve real-life industry problems and scale
The BizLabs platform is enabled by a rigorous process of setting up a dedicated business team that works along with you across functional teams and periodic reviews. For ABG, it is very important that BizLabs connects with their partners not just through the digital medium, but also physically. For this reason, they have set up on-ground networks in the USA, Israel, Europe, Singapore and India.
BizLabs NXT is a series of theme-based events to give seamless access to industry leaders and the first such event was around the theme of Digital/AI through the Group’s global reach and business expertise. The Digital AI Conclave, 2021 brought together top minds from across industries, academia, and startups to deliberate on curated themes brought forward by the ABG companies. Based on three key pillars – Inspire, Interact and Innovate, the conclave hosted 40+ sessions based on six broad themes which address business priorities in the post-COVID world.