- Target Corp. and Techstars have received more than 500 applications from 45 countries for the Target + Techstars retail accelerator program set to launch this summer.
- Only 10 companies will be chosen to participate in the 13-week program, which offers space at Target’s Minneapolis headquarters, mentoring, and a $20,000 capital infusion.
- Applicant’s ideas include innovations such as virtual fitting rooms and internet-connected toys, according to a Target blog post.
Ryan Broshar, the Minneapolis startup guru behind Matchstick Ventures, Beta.MN, and the Twin Cities Startup Week, and West Stringfellow, Target’s entrepreneur-in-residence, will pick the winning entrants to participate in the program. Mentors include Casey Carl, Target’s chief strategy and innovation officer, and Jason Goldberger, senior vice president of Target.com and mobile.
The startups in the accelerator will also receive $20,000 in funding from Boulder, CO-based Techstars for a 6% share in their companies, plus the opportunity to get an additional $100,000.
Target has expressed its intent to build a future based on innovation in the segments where it is active, and is also spearheading a food-technology accelerator program in partnership with MIT as well as a mysterious tech startup known only as Goldfish. Other legacy retailers aren’t far behind, with companies such as Home Depot, Sears, and Walmart launching their own in-house innovation labs. Many are looking to improve the in-store experience as competition from online retailers heat up. This may include wowing customers with a VR experience, or empowering store associates to provide top-notch service with the help of tablets and mobile phones.