Target, the Fortune 50 retailer which launched its accelerator program in India this January, has announced its second batch. The first batch of start-ups, which focused on search, content, data, social and mobile, graduated from the program in June, 2014. Two of the start-ups, muHive and Konotor, from the first batch continue to work with Target and have matured their products significantly.
The Target Accelerator Program is an initiative designed to help startups develop innovative technologies that have the potential to enhance the retail shopping experience and improve Target’s business. Target will work with five technology start-ups for the next four months. The startups selected for this batch run along the themes of omnichannel, digital marketing, mobile, supply chain and data. The five start-ups include:
Twiddly - enables mobile marketing on lock screen. The content can be segmented based on user feedback and social signals
Whodat’s Spaces - an app that lets guests visualize and experience furniture and home décor products using a handheld device
Wazzat - enables visual search for online and mobile applications, specializing in pattern, color and style match for apparels and accessories
Torch - a system that monitors store traffic allowing better understanding of guests while they are shopping
Visarity - Elbe, a 3D platform creates rich 3D images and delightful creative experiences on mobiles and tablets
“The entrepreneurial ecosystem in India is thriving and the talent available has the passion and ability to develop disruptive technologies that can be scaled globally. The Target Accelerator Program was launched to help start-ups develop transformative business ideas, and the first batch has reaffirmed the belief that there are many great ideas”, said Navneet Kapoor, president and managing director, Target India.
The accelerator program launched by target was set to be a test-case for all the other corporates who want to build innovation capabilities out of India. For long, India and Bangalore have been seen as a low-cost, back office for big corporate houses. Target’s accelerator program, that it runs from its India office was a sort of an endorsement of the fact that the giants are now looking at India, especially Bangalore, as a source of innovative technologies. The continuation of the program and an increased amount of attention, as obvious from the number of applications, shows that Target is leading the way for other corporate accelerators in setting this trend.
The startup founders from the first batch seemed to have gained a lot from the accelerator program. Since the startups selected for the program are aligned with the vision of Target, all of them have an opportunity to work with Target’s massive retail business and interfaces. The products are tested across several Target stores and especially with its online offerings.
Target, world’s second largest discount retailer continues to evolve itself into an omnichannel company and apart from its Indian program, the giant also works with several startups in the US to further the same goal.