For the fourth consecutive year, Target is operating an accelerator for startups seeking to bring their products and services to market through tests and pilots at the retailer. But for this year, Target and Techstars joined forces with Germany-based food retail and wholesale giant Metro AG to include startups from outside the U.S.
The nine retail-focused startups participating in the METRO Target Retail Accelerator, Certified by Techstars, include:
- Afresh Technologies, an AI-based supply chain solution software for grocers;
- LISNR, a software solution that sends data between devices using sound on standard speakers and microphones;
- Perksy; a mobile consumer insights platform that rewards users for giving feedback to brands;
- Sezzle, an interest-free installment payments solution provider;
- Shelfbucks, an in-store merchandising tool designed to improve real-time performance of retail display promotions;
- CB4, a machine learning software that leverages POS data to detect in-store operational issues affecting items with high local demand;
- Einride, a Sweden-based transportation company that powers self-driving trucks;
- IDEE GmbH, a Germany-based software company that runs blockchain to completely replace passwords and provide authentication via a smartphone; and
- UntieNots, a France-based promotion personalization platform that offers shoppers “load to card” targeted coupons and gamified loyalty challenges.
As part of the three-month program, the startups focus on business development efforts, mentoring and applying an international lens to their business with the Target and Metro teams.Each startup receives up to a $120,000 initial investment.
The program kicked off in May at Metro’s accelerator headquarters in Berlin, before Target and Metro selected the startups based on alignment to strategic initiatives at one or both companies. The companies then moved to Minneapolis to take part in workshops on the competitive retail landscape, strategies for working with large retail partners and more. Finally, participants will relocate to one of the two cities mid-July for a few more weeks to continue conversations with Target and Metro business units.
For the finale, each participating company will get to pitch their business to Target, Metro and Techstars leadership, as well as the local startup community and potential investors, at a Demo Day in Minneapolis on Aug. 8.
During the first three years of the Target + Techstars program, the companies ran tests or pilots with more than half of the 30 participating startups — and are still actively working with more than a dozen companies.