BrewDog co-founder and CEO James Watt has announced that all five finalists of his Next Unicorn competition will each be taking home a share of his £1million investment – backing an extra two firms who expected to miss out at the contest’s Las Vegas final.
Watt had initially planned to back three brands in his search for the next billion-dollar business but, having been so impressed by the quality of the final five, the BrewDog boss will now be injecting a minimum of £150,000 into help propel each finalist on their way to their intended unicorn status.
Announcing the news to the winners at BrewDog’s stunning Las Vegas rooftop bar, Watt committed to investing an initial £1million of his own cash, with a further £4million up for grabs, should the winning businesses reach particular milestones.
The Next Unicorn winners:
An app allowing shoppers to bookmark potential purchases from any site
Extra-protective cases and accessories for phone cases, headphones, and other consumer tech
Tallow & Ash
A range of planet-friendly laundry shampoos and conditioners, aiming to revolutionise the way clothes are washed
Personalised and prescribed skincare treatments
Edible bug-based recipe boxes and snacks
Speaking about each finalist:
James Watt on Basket: “It’s difficult to find real innovation in tech and e-commerce, but Basket is something I would 100% use myself. It genuinely helps the consumer and I think it’s got application in the UK and globally.”
James Watt on Mous: “An upstart UK company trying to have an impact on a global scale to take on absolute giants. They’ve done fantastically well so far and have got a great team focused on R&D and innovation.”
James Watt on Tallow & Ash: “Their mission is to shake up a stuffy sector, where all the incumbents have been doing the same thing for decades. It reminds me so much of our mission to shake-up beer, when we set out in 2007.”
James Watt on Uncouth: “Skin issues affect so many people’s mental health on a daily basis. I suffered from severe acne when I was a teenager, so I feel the pain point here. Their brand is fantastic, their mission is great, and this is a business that is going to help a lot of people.”
James Watt on Yum Bug: “The food scene is going to change dramatically, and I think Yum Bug can shake it up and produce more sustainable ways to get the protein that we all need. Once you get over the fact that you’re eating bugs, it’s surprisingly delicious.”
The competition also allows members of the public to invest in the five chosen businesses via Crowdcube on exactly the same terms as Watt.
Summarising the Next Unicorn, the BrewDog chief added: “I have been so incredibly impressed by the quality of the entrants to the competition, and getting down to just five from the 750 that applied has been really tough. I want to thank Dom Joly, Codie Sanchez, Matt Cooper and Evelyn McDonald for their help selecting the eventual winners.
“What’s really exciting is members of the public can now invest in these businesses too. Each of the winning companies are available on Crowdcube, where people can invest pound-for-pound on the same terms as me. This isn’t a competition where you just sit back and watch other people make money, the public can get involved too.”
To find out more and invest in the finalists, visit: https://www.crowdcube.com/explore/the-next-unicorn-finalists