Global drinks giant Diageo has teamed up with MAD//Fest London to launch PITCH//It – a search for start-ups who can propel new and innovative experiences across its portfolio of drinks brands at MAD//Fest London on 13-14 Nov.

Diageo, whose brands include Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, is looking for innovations that can boost the engagement and experience of its brands, especially in areas such as personalisation, loyalty, smart packaging and AR.

Following an initial call out, 15 start-ups will be selected to pitch at MAD//Fest on 13 Nov. Three heat winners and one wild card will be selected by the judges to participate in the PITCH//IT live final on 14 Nov. The final also includes a keynote from Mumsnet Founder Justine Roberts CBE.

The winner of PITCH//IT will receive a Diageo pilot valued at £20k+ (subject to Diageo regulatory approval) and free exhibition space at MAD//Fest London in 2020. The pitch is being led by Diageo Head of Emerging Technology + Innovation Benni Lickfett, who leads Diageo’s Futures team.

“Innovation is at the heart of how we do business at Diageo – whether that’s product development in our six innovation labs around the world or investing in the most exciting founder-led drinks brands via Distil Ventures,” said Benni Lickfett, Diageo’s Head of innovation + Technology.

“We’re also focused on innovation outside of the bottle that can add a new dimension to the experience of our brands – so we’re excited to discover new innovations and lay the foundations for future collaborations by getting behind the PITCH//It start-up competition at MAD//Fest.”

4,000+ industry leaders are expected to attend MAD//Fest London, which is the UK’s only invite-only marketing, advertising and disruptive tech festival. Speakers include Ogilvy Vice-Chairman Rory Sutherland, Dishoom Co-founder Shamil Thakrar, Burger King CMO Katie Evans, former Manchester Utd striker + AxisStars co-founder Louis Saha and leaders from organisations including Extinction Rebellion, Lidl, Starling Bank, L’Oréal and Paddy Power.

“MAD//Fest is all about taking a fresh approach to building relationships and immersing marketers in the latest brand innovations, disruptive technologies and industry trends,” added Dan Brain, MAD//Fest London’s Co-founder + Content Director.

“Diageo has an ongoing track-record for championing innovation. If you’re an ambitious start-up and want to get in front of the industry big stage, PITCH//It is the perfect way to put your innovation in the limelight and establish a relationship with a forward-thinking brand.”

Launched and sold out in 2018, MAD//Fest London was named the ‘UK’s Best Networking Event’ at the UK Conference Awards 2019.

Start-ups interested in the competition can apply here until Fri 25 October.

MAD//Fest 2019 takes place at The Old Truman Brewery in London’s Brick Lane, 13th and 14th of November. Apply for a VIP pass, or book your ticket now.