- Anheuser-Busch InBev's venture arm, ZX Ventures, is teaming up with Techstars to launch a new accelerator, Techstars Connection.
- The accelerator aims to foster connections between people and products more quickly and efficiently and to create elevated social experiences.
- Focuses for the accelerator include to "enhance consumption experiences through curation, personalization and localization (and) leverage the hidden benefits of raw materials, fermentation and brewing in products and systems that help people to live well," according to a news release.
Decades ago, AB InBev was the first U.S. brewer to implement mechanical refrigeration and refrigerated railroad cars and the first to scale beer bottling efforts and employ pasteurization techniques to maintain beer quality and freshness.
But AB InBev is the world's largest beer company, set to become even larger should its SABMiller takeover receive global regulators' approval. That size and the shareholder responsibilities that accompany growth can get in the way of innovation. Many of the company's own domestic and light beer brands have fallen out of favor with consumers in recent years as craft brews and imports become more popular.
This accelerator complements efforts AB InBev has made in recent years to expand its craft and imports division, The High End. That most recently included the addition of Devils Backbone Brewing Company earlier this month.
Through this effort, AB InBev is positioning itself at the forefront of innovation., and it is able to oversee growth and evolution of the industry it currently leads.
AB InBev joins a handful of other top food and beverage companies that have launched accelerators, venture funds, and venture-focused business divisions, such as General Mills' 301 Inc., Campbell's Acre Venture Partners, and Coca-Cola's Venturing and Emerging Brands segment.