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Co-Founder Network 

COCA-COLA | Berlin


At Coca-Cola, we believe in great Co-Founders.

Coca-Cola’s Co-Founder Network is a platform that provides experienced Co-Founders with seed funding and open access to the power of Coca-Cola—its resources, relationships and global reach—to create great companies that can change the world.

In the past, we’ve been able to connect startups like Innocent and Spotify to the power of Coca-Cola to help them scale. We connected the Co-Founders at Innocent 10 years after they started. We connected the Co-Founders of Spotify 5 years after they started.

What if we could find the next generation of great Co-Founders before their big idea?

What if we could create a network of rock-star Co-Founders from around the world, connect them to the power of Coca-Cola and then let them do what they are already great at—disrupting existing industries or creating new ones—at global scale?

And that’s what Coca-Cola’s Co-Founder Network is all about—connecting great Co-Founders with the power of Coca-Cola.

We launched our Co-Founder Network very quietly in late 2013. Today we’ve networked 10 teams in 10 countries building a different kind of startup portfolio. It’s still early days for us but we see huge potential—something that only Coca-Cola could do.

How This Works

First of all, we are all about Lean—as in the Lean Startup Method. In fact, all of our Co-Founders are experts in the Lean Startup Method—that helps us all move as fast as possible with the least amount of resources. This method keeps us all on the same page—proving assumptions, validating with MVPs and focused on metrics that matter until our Co-Founders find a sustainable business model.

Once selected, Co-Founders start by understanding our assets and then begin to develop their idea. Creating a successful startup is never easy but we think that by starting with our assets in mind, we can make it easier for our Co-Founders to scale.

Co-Founder teams are completely independent from Coca-Cola. Co-Founders lead their own teams and own all of the IP, while also having open access to Coca-Cola. We set up a loan agreement with the Co-Founder team and co-develop the terms of the agreement. (Every startup is different, so the amount of the loan varies). We advise along the way and leverage our network effects as much as possible.

Once the startup stabilizes its business model, Coca-Cola converts it’s investment to date into a minority share of equity. This model creates a win-win for everyone. It creates the agility and autonomy our Co-Founders need to pivot and accelerate when they need to as well as giving Coca-Cola very early access to big new technologies, markets or industries.

Just to be very clear, this is not a typical accelerator model. We’re not looking for existing startups. We’re looking for Co-Founders that want to build new startups powered by Coca-Cola.


We’re looking for 2 Co-Founders who complement each other with their individual backgrounds, experience, skills and personalities. But this usually comes down to timing. If you are “in between” startups and are looking for something different, this might be for you. Perhaps you just had a big exit or maybe even a big failure and you’re looking to connect with a new team or open to trying a different approach. If so, this opportunity might be a good fit.

Qualifications for both Co-Founders:

  • Experienced co-founders only           

  • Track record in building products and teams, leading customer development and raising funding

  • Expertise in the Lean Startup Method (principles, tools, methods)

  • “Just do it” attitude—positive, collaborative, optimistic, determined

  • Ability to galvanize support for ideas through excellent influencing and communications

 Qualifications for Individuals:

Generally speaking, we look for one founder who is more left-brained—more analytical—and one founder that is more right-brained—more intuitive. Each team is different and it’s really the chemistry between the Co-Founders that ultimately make it work. 

 Having said that, we’ve now launched 10 teams and have used the below to help us in the process:

  • “Business Co-Founder”: Maybe you have a finance or technical background. You love getting into the details of product development or maybe you love to develop revenue models and analyze data. You’re the “business” lead on the team—you understand the vision and appreciate all of the creativity that goes into launching and running a startup but you’re more interested in the operations of the startup—really making it happen.

  • “Creative Co-Founder”: You likely have a marketing or design background. You’d consider yourself the “creative” on the team. You love exploring the vision and idea generation involved in launching and running a startup. You love to focus on the problem and really dig into customer development. While you appreciate the operations side of running a startup, you wouldn’t call that your area of expertise. You tend to focus on the “big idea.”


Interested?  Please send your detailed CV to Gregory Merlin - Global Talent Sourcing & Acquisition -