The startups will receive a $120,000 investment in exchange for a 5% equity stake in most cases.Shopping mall giant Westfield Corporation has teamed up with digital advertising agency R/GA to see if they can find a way to shake the retail industry up a bit. They have placed an absolutely massive opportunity on the table for 10 young companies that have been accepted into a startup accelerator program.
The startups will receive a $120,000 investment in exchange for a 5% equity stake in most cases. The ultimate goal is for the companies to make business connections with participating companies such as Macy’s, Shopify and Verizon that will result in pilot tests. They will have access to Westfield Labs, which helps spur innovation in the retail sector, as well as creative help from R/GA.
The companies accepted into the program have been whittled down from numerous applicants, and bring some potentially disruptive ideas to the program, which launched on August 1. The program will run for three months, and commence with a Demo Day in San Francisco in late October. Here are the companies that have been accepted, along with a description of their concept.
- Agent Q. Provides the artificial intelligence necessary to automate the process of natural language interactions through chatbots, customer service and product search.
- AxleHire. Same-day delivery services provider for both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers.
- Clarifai. Artificial intelligence company that specializes in visual recognition and solves real-world problems for businesses and developers.
- Cordial. Helps brands in retail and publishing to deliver highly personalized messages while helping to track digital behavior.
- Darkstore. On-demand logistics platform that helps transform underutilized brick-and-mortar spaces into local fulfillment centers.
- Happy Returns. Building a network of Return Bars that will allow online shoppers to return items in person, eliminating the hassles associated with online returns.
- Miyagi. Online training platform that helps brands and retailers develop training programs for their employees on the front line.
- Oak Labs. The company is building the ultimate intelligent store platform that will help help retail become more software-driven, starting with an interactive dressing room mirror.
- Percolata. Helps to optimize sales teams by using sensor and sales data in physical retail stores.
- Reply.ai. End-to-end solution to build, manage and scale chat bots across all of the major messaging platforms.
There’s an incredible opportunity at hand for these 10 startups, who are bringing some potentially revolutionary ideas to the table. We’ll have to wait and see which ones jump from the accelerator stage to thriving startup, but it’s pretty hard not to see a bright future ahead for them.
8 AUGUST 2016, USA