Coca-Cola Amatil partners with Indonesian start-ups

Amatil X Academy Shark Tank winners with Coca-Cola Amatil’s president director, Kadir Gunduz, in Jakarta. Also pictured are Amatil X Academy program director, Retno Dewati, and former CEO of BlueChilli, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin.

Coca Cola Amatil (Amatil) has set up a corporate venture capital platform, Amatil X, to partner with Indonesian start-ups and foster business growth opportunities.

Based in Sydney, Coca-Cola Amatil (Amatil) is one of the largest bottlers and distributors of non-alcoholic and alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages in the Asia-Pacific region. The Coca-Cola Company is Amatil’s largest brand partner and shareholder.

Digital transformation is a key driver of Amatil’s business. Inspired by the innovation taking place in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the company set up Amatil X in 2018.

Co-founder and head of Amtil X, Alix Rimington, said the partnership will help Amatil face market challenges by working with the right partners.

“Amatil X is a corporate venturing platform that helps us identify, work with and invest in startups, and build entrepreneurial capability across the business,” she said.

Amatil has been operating in Indonesia since 1992. The company has eight manufacturing facilities, more than 300 sales and distribution centres and a distribution network that reaches all corners of the country. Amatil employs more than 9,500 people in Indonesia and distributes 1 million cases of drinks to over 500,000 outlets across the nation every week.

Rimington says Indonesia was an ideal location to launch Amatil X.

“Startups set the pace of innovation, especially in Indonesia – I believe the country is fast becoming the startup capital of Southeast Asia,’ she said. ‘There is a growing population of well-educated, incredibly intelligent entrepreneurs building solutions to common problems.’

Amatil X has invested in two startups since its launch in Indonesia in April 2019. The first was Kargo Technologies – a freight logistics startup offering a platform that allows shippers, transporters and truckers to connect, transact and track shipments in real time.

“Kargo’s platform helps us to match freight loads with available trucking capacity,” said Rimington. “They are enabling us to fill the backhaul on some routes so trucks aren’t driving around empty after making a delivery. The technology is helping us ship products in a more productive, cost-efficient way.”

Amatil X’s second investment was in Wahyoo, a startup that works with “warung makan” – traditional small-scale eateries and restaurants – to digitise their operations. Wahyoo’s digital tools and services help eateries attract customers, enhance marketing efforts, implement loyalty programs, order and receive groceries, and manage financial accounts.

Rimington said Amatil X’s involvement goes beyond funding.

“We want to help startups to scale their business. We give Kargo access to our facilities to collect data so they can build out their technology. We pilot equipment with Wahyoo and provide offers for their customers,” she said.

Amatil X also runs the Amatil X Academy, a structured program similar to an accelerator that builds entrepreneurial capability in its workforce and connects them to the startup ecosystem.

“We believe our people know our business and our customers best – and they also know where the challenges and opportunities are,” said Rimington. “When we combine this customer focus with a startup mindset and an environment, which encourages experimentation, we can drive innovation across the business.”

Amatil X is finalising its third Indonesian investment.