A new batch of startups head to Target headquarters this summer for our second annual Target + Techstars retail accelerator. The 13-week program, which hosted its first class of startups last June, allows us to mentor 10 early-stage founders whose groundbreaking ideas we believe can impact the retail industry.
This year’s class includes: Air Tailor, Bybe, Kokko, Local Crate, Savitude, Shopturn, SpotCrowd, StoryXpress and Upsie. A startup from our India Accelerator Program, called Find Me a Shoe, will also join the group. Expertise ranges widely—from online advertising to rebates to clothing alterations—and founders come from as near as Minneapolis and as far as Belgium.
“Target’s long history of creativity and invention is rooted in our ability to spot breakthrough ideas that can make Target better for guests,” said Pam Tomczik, vice president corporate development. “The goal of the Target + Techstars retail accelerator is to uncover, validate and scale those ideas by helping startups bring new products and experiences to retail.”
While in Minneapolis, the startups will have access to a range of mentors who will provide feedback, answer questions and offer advice to foster the startups' growth and development. More than 120 mentors have signed up to advise this year’s group, including Target’s own CEO Brian Cornell, Chief Merchandising Officer Mark Tritton and Chief Human Resources Officer Stephanie Lundquist.
To get a sense of just how much impact these startups can make after a single summer, the incoming founders need only look to last year’s accelerator class.
Mobile enterprise staffing and scheduling tool Branch is now running a pilot in select distribution and call centers and 130 Target stores. Inspectorio, the platform for inspecting manufacturer quality assurance, raised a $3.5M+ seed funding round from Target and have begun operating globally with Target and other global retailers.
Several of last year’s accelerator companies now have product on Target shelves. The makers of safety wearable device Revolar took what they learned last summer and launched a new product called Revolar Instinct—now in 200 Target stores. A Made-It-Myself Wreath Kit by the DIY flower arrangement startup It’sByU will be in 300 Target stores by September.
As with last year, this summer’s accelerator is run in collaboration with the accelerator experts at Techstars, and will end with a Demo Day in October when participating startups present their work to a Twin Cities audience of Target team members and the greater tech community.
Keep an eye on this space for more details about this summer’s class and the participating mentors!
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