Coal, Coke and crypto. It’s all in a day’s work for fast-moving consumer goods company Coca-Cola Amatil. After recent revelations the fizzy drinks bottler is up 80 million in coal royalties since 2014, turns out it’s also turned its hand to cryptocurrency. Or, crypto-facing start-ups.
Coca-Cola’s venture capital investing arm, Amatil X, has invested in Kiwi payments start-up Centrapay. Among other reasons, this is an apparent effort to give consumers the option to use an exotic digital wallet named Sylo to pay for cans and bottles at vending machines using cryptocurrency.
In fairness, tech is a lot sexier than coal. But it seems to be eating, rather than making, money at this point. Notes to Coca-Cola Amatil’s financial statements show Amatil X has invested $24.8 million in different start-up ventures since launching in April 2018.
The half year to June was the busiest yet for the drinks bottler, with $9.5 million cash ploughed into the start-up space.
Recently, Coke’s venture capital arm set up a multimillion-dollar Amatil X Early Stage Venture Fund in partnership with Sydney-based venture capital group Artesian Venture Partners.
The fund invests between $50,000 and $200,000 of the company’s cash flows in early-stage start-ups under what it styles as Artesian’s Venture Capital as a Service (VCaaS) platform. This essentially means Amatil X stumps up the cash and wears the investment risk, while Artesian offers the expertise and advice in return for fees.
The beverage giant’s advertising proclaims that “Things Go Better with Coke”. We wonder if shareholders would agree when it comes to these little adventures in capital allocation.