Backed by the world's biggest brewer, ZX Ventures acts as an incubator and venture capital fund, with a focus on innovation in and around the beverage category. It was launched abroad in 2015 and expanded to South Africa in 2019 as a gateway to the rest of the continent.
The launch of the division ties into AB InBev's diversification ambitions to become a total beverage company, through the expansion of its non-beer alcoholic beverage and non-alcoholic beverage portfolios.
As Africa director of ZX Ventures, Zintle Botha looks at building core competency for beverage innovation across key markets within the continent – mapping clear portfolio strategies to seed and launch beverage brands that play a meaningful role in consumers’ lives. She manages the innovation process from developing goals, coaching team members and encouraging continued strategic collaboration within the matrix organisation.
Thus far, the local ZX Ventures division has developed and launched two successful products: Black Crown, an aspirational, proudly African gin and tonic brand; and Flying Fish Seltzer, a premium hard seltzer that taps into the global beverage trend and introduces it to local consumers.
ZX Ventures in Africa is still in its infancy, but the division will slowly begin to encourage applications and collaboration with African entrepreneurs and startups with promising ideas in the beverage space that can benefit from ZX's pool of resources.
In light of Africa Month, we chatted to Botha about beverage trends taking root in the continent, how ZX Ventures goes about working with entrepreneurs and incubating new ideas, and why the division is primed to accelerate beverage innovation in Africa.
Listen to the full interview below: