Nike is setting up a a venture capital fund — the Sustainable Business & Innovation Lab — to invest in startups working on alternative energy and green innovation, reports Bloomberg.The fund will also be looking for ways to improve Nike’s manufacturing efficiency and cut costs.
Big tech companies, such as Intel, have long had VC arms, but consumer products brands have mostly stayed away. An exception is Nike’s competitor Adidas, who backed a VC fund earlier this year.
Long-time VC John Hill, formerly from Intel’s venture offshoot, and Avi Sahi from buyout firm Perseus will be some of the names involved in Nike’s new project, says Bloomberg.
But why aren’t they just doing it in-house?
Nike VP of Sustainable Business and Innovation Hannah Jones provided a hint yesterday, in an interview with Sustainable Business Oregon:
We’ve taken on challenging issues and invested significant resources in new ways to make products and share what we’ve learned. However, in order to accelerate the industry’s progress to a sustainable future, it’s imperative that the industry works together and collaborates in order to create lasting, scalable, systemic change.
We cannot do this work alone, and so collaboration is key.
It goes to show that even an R&D powerhouse like Nike can’t do everything on its own anymore.
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