Starting a company today is EASY. So easy that 543,000 new businesses are started in the US each month. But as our partners over at Coca-Cola have pointed out, SCALING a company is hard. Startups need corporations to teach them how to scale. Fortunately, corporations also need startups (and lots of them) to function as agile and aggressive R&D units testing innovative ideas across a variety of verticals. This co-dependency, part of something we call the Innovation Trifecta, is driving major corporations to aggressively partner with accelerators and startups to start and scale companies together.
AJ Brustein of Coca-Cola visits Plug and Play
Strategically, you can increase your odds of starting a successful company by picking an industry with more corporate partnership opportunities. It will be easier to get funding, meet mentors, and find licensing or distribution partners. Though we operate corporate accelerator programs in Auto, Telco, Health, Wearable, Insurance, Digital Media, and Bitcoin, we get the most interest and engagement from our corporate partners involved in our Brand & Retail Center of Technology accelerator.
Plug and Play Retail Mentor David Dorf of Oracle talks Retail Innovation
Before you run off and start the next digital coupon startup, take a minute to glean some insights from our Brand & Retail Center of Innovation Knowledge Base, including what type of startups are getting selected, funded, and accelerated through corporate partnership.
Retail, as defined by IDG, can be broken into the following product categories: Fashion & Apparel retailers like Gap or Victoria’s Secret; Hardline Retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond or Big 5; Big Box Stores like Walmart or Best Buy; Food & Beverage retailers like Coca-Cola or Hershey’s; Department Stores like Macy’s and Sears; and Etailers like Amazon, though it is worth noting that many brick and mortar retailers have their own significant online/Etail presence.
Retail technology often solves problems that cross over product categories, for example inventory management or marketing personalization. The crossover offers corporations that normally don’t interact a unique platform to collaborate. For example, at our last Retail Startup Selection day, Proctor & Gamble, Pepsi, Sears, Clorox, Lowes, Staples, and Star Micronics participated in a round table discussion to select the startups in our latest Retail Accelerator class. Insights and experiences were shared. Ideas were generated. Startups were picked. To see what industry leaders are looking for in startup partnerships, you need only take a look at our Retail Portfolio Page.
Of the 236 startups who applied, 39 were selected with an average valuation of $1-10 Million. Though most of the startups came from the bay area, we also accepted startups from France, Poland, Germany, and Italy.
The companies selected were working on innovative solutions geared towards customer loyalty and consumer engagement, social engagement, predictive analytics and forecasting, in-store location, mapping, and beacon systems, perimeter and payment security, and Omni-Channel integration – the creation of a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available shopping channels.
The Mentors who will work with these startups are an impressive group and include Kurt Kober from The Clorox Company, Aj Brustein from the Coca-Cola Company, Michelle Collins from Procter & Gamble, Jon Strande from The Hershey Company, Andy Chu from Sears Holdings, and Mike Calbert from KKR.
If you work at a Brand, Retailer, or Retail Enabler, or if you have a retail company looking for funding, business and customer development, or networking opportunities in the retail tech sector, check out our Brand and Retail Center of Innovation and join us at an event or contact us for more info.
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