Coca-Cola Africa partners Disrupt Africa to launch challenge to identify tech solutions measuring in-market performance

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Coca-Cola Africa has partnered with Disrupt Africa to launch a startup challenge aimed at identifying tech-based solutions measuring the performance of its products in markets largely dominated by informal trade.

The “Tracking Revolution Challenge”, which will see Disrupt Africa source startups from across the continent and give them the chance to pitch in front of Coca-Cola executives for the opportunity of securing a pilot project with the company, has been launched to solve an internal business problem for the beverage manufacturer.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Coca-Cola Africa covers Southern Africa, East Africa and the Horn of Africa. The majority of non-alcoholic ready to drink beverages in these markets are sold through informal retailers, making it challenging for many manufacturers, including Coca-Cola Africa, in obtaining insights into performance using actual real time data.

“Modern Trade such as hypermarkets and supermarkets are relatively simple to track as information is collected via the scanning methodology at tills,” said Njabu Hlanze, business insights manager at Coca-Cola Africa.

“However, the majority of our products move through informal trade channels, and due the nature of retail tracking – non-scanning and the use of manual auditing – coverage of this channel is not particularly as robust as we would need it to be. On-Premise traders such as restaurants, bars and cafes also move a sizeable amount of our products, also making it a key channel of interest for us.”

As a result of this, Coca-Cola Africa has prioritised the testing of new end-to-end solutions that provide deeper insights into the performance of our brands and competitors, and has partnered with Disrupt Africa, as part of its Pipeline service,  to launch the Tracking Revolution Challenge, which is seeking innovative, faster, cheaper and more accurate methods to track retail dynamics.   

“Our tracking methods currently are captured at the channel phase of the product journey. However, our beverages are also heavily consumed away from home. Thus, the most holistic way of tracking which would be ideal to us would be to also capture the next part of the product journey – from the consumer and ideally as soon as possible from the purchasing moment as this would eliminate “claimed” volumes to actual volumes,” Hlanze said.

Key metrics Coca-Cola Africa is looking to track include price, volume sales, value sales, distribution, pack type, geography and channel type. Executional metrics would also be of interest. The challenge is primarily focused on the Kenyan market, however scalability into the rest of the African market would also be beneficial.

Winning startups, which will be given the opportunity to work with Coca-Cola Africa on trialling their end-to-end solutions, will be the ones that best track sell-out sales of total basket of goods and key metrics in these informal or on-premise channels, track “away from home” consumption of beverages in real-time, or both. 

“The use of innovative technology is the only way forward and hence Coca-Cola Africa’s partnership with Disrupt Africa to find the best suited candidates,” the company said.

Applications are open here until July 21, after which 10 startups will be selected to pitch to a panel of Coca-Cola Africa executives on August 12 and 13. The five best startups will then be selected to pitch to the panel again, in greater detail, on August 19 and 20.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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