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The DV Pre-Accelerator

Through funding and mentorship, our pre-accelerator aims to increase diverse representation at a founder level to build the next global brands of the future.

What is the

The Pre-Accelerator is our commitment to changing
the face of the drinks industry.


BOOSTING Diverse FoundeRS

We fund and mentor diverse founders, powering the next global brands of the future.


Comprehensive Support

Lasting 9-12 months, our program offers up to $500k/£350k in funding along with tailored support and resources.


Path to Success

Our aim is to set founders up for market entry, future investment, and sustainable growth, ensuring a solid foundation for long-term success.


We firmly believe that increasing diversity at a founder level will create positive ripples throughout the drinks industry. Since 2021, we've backed early-stage startups with £8/$10 million funding and mentorship, helping founders to test and scale the next drinks brands of the future.

Successful founders have:

A founding team from under-recognised communities

A passion for drinks

A product that is on sale or ready to launch

An idea of your target customers

What stage is your company?

Stage One


You've laid the groundwork, your brand is taking shape, and you’re ready to take the first sip. With a clear vision and the ambition to grow, you're primed to uncover your brand's unique flavour.

Stage Two


With accolades under your belt and a solid supply chain in place, your first hires have arrived to help define your audience and ignite engagement. As you test the brand levers that spark community connection, your journey from seed to sprout is well underway.

Stage Three

Test & Learn

Your product line-up shines, your audience is clear, and your playbooks are tested and true. With a smooth digital presence and a self-sufficient operational rhythm, your team is growing with each milestone.

Stage Four


Your liquid is excellent, your operations optimised, and your growth drivers are firing on all cylinders. With a solid plan and a culture that fosters success, you're poised to expand your reach and conquer new markets with a scalable model.

Stage Five


You've overcome production hurdles to conquer new markets and are well on your way to reaching your target margins. With a clear understanding of your loyal consumers and a scalable route to market, your leaders are equipped to drive strategic growth to acquisition.

Stage Six


From product to team, every element is finely tuned for ongoing yet sustainable growth. With your sights set on acquisition, your journey with Distill Ventures has paved the way for a toast-worthy exit. Cheers to the next chapter!

The Pre-Acceleration Process

You’re an ambitious but under-recognised non-alc or spirited drinks innovator looking for a partner to help bring your dreams to life.

Apply now

Apply online

You fit the bill and think we’d make great partners, so you apply via our website. 

Connect with Team DV

We review your application within six weeks and, if successful, connect to find out more about you, your brand and your vision.

Define your stage

We decide whether you’re an early-stage startup, or better suited for the full accelerator programme. 

Our team of experts

Diverse in approach and expertise, we live and breathe drinks, and are united in our passion to make your brand the best it can be.

Meet the team


founders say


You can read about our eligibility criteria here.

The Pre-Accelerator is an extension of the DV program. We built it specifically to give smaller and emerging brands a smoother, faster runway into the program – a space where you can test and learn before setting hard commercial goals and ambitious growth plans. It’s also where people who are new to the drinks industry can learn about crucial industry standards and practices, like the 3-tier system, distribution, and liquid R&D, without the pressure of annual sales targets.

A business incubator caters to startups at the idea stage, offering support during product development. Accelerators, however, target brands with clear products, aiding their growth with expert mentoring and funding.

Distill Ventures' Pre-Accelerator focuses on helping founders from underrepresented communities grow their drinks brands, giving them a boost into the drink's world.

We’ll support you in bringing a plan to life by working towards a mutually agreed series of test-and-learn goals. The results will inform a pitch we'll help you build for our Investment Board. There you'll aim to secure a bigger equity investment and work with DV and Diageo as long-term partners. 

Depending on what you want to achieve in the Pre-Accelerator, support or know-how from Diageo might benefit you so we would involve them. It's up to you.

Initial investment is in exchange for a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) which basically means no equity is exchanged at the point of investment. The SAFE note would convert to an equity stake at the next investment round. Regardless of the size of investment, we remain a minority investor, so founders stay fully in control as the business scales. 

Each Pre-Accelerator brand is paired with a dedicated DV partner who knows your business inside out. They offer tailored support and access to the wider team's know-how in PR, brand launches, e-commerce and more.

Recognising unique strengths and weaknesses, our support is both bespoke and broad ranging. On top of personal support, you'll gain access to our online resource hub featuring case studies, campaign trackers and interviews with fellow entrepreneurs, made with entrepreneurs in mind and updated regularly.

You can apply through our web application form here. The questions are designed to give us insight into your thinking while sparing an exhaustive interview process. Don’t worry if you’re only just getting started — we’re most interested in learning about your vision, your ambition and passions. We can’t wait to meet you!