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BrewDog founder divides £1m between five ‘Next Unicorn’ competition finalists

06/06/2023 – Beverages / BrewDog / James Watt / Innovation / Unicorn / Investment / Startups

BrewDog founder divides £1m between five ‘Next Unicorn’ competition finalists

BrewDog co-founder and CEO James Watt has announced that all five finalists of his ‘Next Unicorn’ competition will each be taking home a share of his £1million investment – backing an extra two firms who expected to miss out at the contest’s Las Vegas final.

Mr Watt’s ‘The Next Unicorn’ search aims to create the next generation of Unicorns, following in the footsteps of his beer company, which reached that landmark US$1 billion valuation in 2017.

The initial plan was to back three brands in his search for the next billion-dollar business. However, having been so impressed by the quality of the final five, the BrewDog boss will now inject a minimum of £150,000 into each business to help propel them on their way to unicorn status.

Announcing the news to the winners at BrewDog’s stunning Las Vegas rooftop bar, Watt committed to investing an initial £1 million of his own cash, with a further £4 million up for grabs should the winning businesses reach particular milestones.


The Next Unicorn winners

Amongst the Next Unicorn winners is Basket – an app allowing shoppers to bookmark potential purchases from any site. “It’s difficult to find real innovation in tech and e-commerce, but Basket is something I would 100% use myself,” remarked Mr Watt. “It genuinely helps the consumer and I think it’s got application in the UK and globally.”

The BrewDog CEO will also invest in Yum Bug – a company producing edible bug-based recipe boxes and snacks. “The food scene is going to change dramatically, and I think Yum Bug can shake it up and produce more sustainable ways to get the protein that we all need,” commented Mr Watt. “Once you get over the fact that you’re eating bugs, it’s surprisingly delicious.”

Another finalist winner – Mous – which produces extra-protective cases and accessories for phones, headphones, and other consumer tech, was described by Mr Watt as: ““An upstart UK company trying to have an impact on a global scale to take on absolute giants.” They’ve done “fantastically well” thus far, according to the BrewDog boss, and boast a “great team focused on R&D and innovation”.


Elsewhere, Tallow & Ash – a manufacturer of planet-friendly laundry products – also found itself in the money: “Their mission is to shake up a stuffy sector, where all the incumbents have been doing the same thing for decades,” commented Mr Watt. “It reminds me so much of our mission to shake-up beer, when we set out in 2007.” 

The final winner was Uncouth, which offers personalised and prescribed skincare treatments. “Skin issues affect so many people’s mental health on a daily basis. I suffered from severe acne when I was a teenager, so I feel the pain point here,” revealed BrewDog’s CEO. “Their brand is fantastic, their mission is great, and this is a business that is going to help a lot of people.”

The public urged to get involved 

The competition also allows members of the public to invest in the five chosen businesses via Crowdcube – the world’s largest equity crowdfunding platform – on exactly the same terms as the BrewDog boss.

Summarising the Next Unicorn, Mr Watt added: “I have been so incredibly impressed by the quality of the entrants to the competition, and getting down to just five from the 750 that applied has been really tough. I want to thank Dom Joly, Codie Sanchez, Matt Cooper and Evelyn McDonald for their help selecting the eventual winners.

“What’s really exciting is members of the public can now invest in these businesses too. Each of the winning companies are available on Crowdcube, where people can invest pound-for-pound on the same terms as me,” he noted in closing. “This isn’t a competition where you just sit back and watch other people make money, the public can get involved too.” 

To find out more and invest in the finalists, visit:

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