The METRO Target Retail Accelerator 2019 is live!
The program has finally started! It’s the culmination of 6 intense months of planning, scouting and selection.
To give you an idea; we worked as a team located in time zones 6 hours apart, scouted across all of Europe (incl. Israel) and the USA, attending events or hosting our own, in 20 cities. After a robust application process where we evaluated hundreds of applicants, we verified 250, selected 80 as finalists, interviewed the top 40 (with a total funding of $214M) and invited the top 20 to a pitch day in Berlin and Minneapolis. And now we have 9 of the finest stage-agnostic retail tech startups in the world. Which is precisely what we wanted, because our mission is to work with companies that can provide technology inside our businesses from day one.
We are working with companies from the following industries: Autonomous Vehicles, AI Loyalty, Retail Analytics, Gamification Consumer Insight, AI Supply Chain, In-store Display Intelligence, Ultrasonic Data Transmission, Retail Fintech, Identity Management.
So how does this three-month venture unfold?
First stop: a week of meetings with each startup, we call them deep-dives, they are attended by the whole accelerator team. We have been through an exhausting scouting and selection process and time has passed since we last spoke to our teams so this session lets us get into detail on founding, solving potential roadblocks, product, business model and the question of ‘how could we potentially do business together?’ This gives us the ability to start making connections with individuals in related business units that can serve as mentors and advisors to the startup founders as they further develop their capabilities and business models. This program is being run in a joint venture by two of retail and wholesale’s biggest companies, so identifying the right people at the start is critical to a successful outcome. Besides being a three-month immersive accelerator program, there is also potential for startups to run tests and pilots with METRO and/or Target.
The next two weeks are dedicated to identifying any gaps and using our extensive network of mentors and consultants to help the founders further develop their businesses. The finale of the first part of the program in Berlin will be one-on-one meetings with METRO’s C-Suite.
Now let us collectively exhale. That is only part 1. Only part 1! Part 2 is the same again with Target in Minneapolis starting in the following week. We manage all the travel and logistics and give the entrepreneurs time to get there and settle into their accommodations.
Being able to offer our startups access to two of the biggest players across two huge regions is unique.
For many of our entrepreneurs, this isn’t the first time founding or running venture backed companies. Many also come with decades of corporate management success and battle-hardened experience. Many are experienced technology leaders, hold MBAs and have filed patents.
To give another idea of the excellence in this cohort, we have teams with the following funding rounds: three series B, one series C, and three series A. We are also working with founders who have recently graduated the iconic digital champion Stanford University and hold Forbes 30 under 30 awards. Meetings run very well as all of the teams have existing working products and understand their markets completely. It really is a pleasure to experience this level of professionalism. The results of these early meetings are very positive. I’m excited to see what unfolds, and we haven’t yet gotten to Minneapolis.
I hope this gives you a clear picture of what this program is doing. In my next posting I will cover more on how the program is unfolding. Until then you can follow me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/garangoodman/
The METRO Target Retail Accelerator 2019 startups are:
For more information on the program kick off and the respective companies check out our press release here
-Garan Goodman, Managing Director METRO Target Retail Accelerator