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Target Accelerator bets on 7 startups for its fourth batch; here’s what’s new

Tarush Bhalla
5th Oct 2016
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With more than 22 startups in their portfolio now, Target Accelerator on Tuesday showcased their fourth batch, through which seven startups have successfully been accelerated.

The startups graduating from the fourth batch of Target accelerator
The startups graduating from the fourth batch of Target accelerator

During the course of acceleration, Target helps startups with customerisation, giving them access to more than 2,000 of its retail stores in the US, allowing them to develop, scale, and test their products.

According to Mahesh Calavai, Director — Target Accelerator Program, the fourth batch was a bit different from their previous batches. He says,

We are also a startup which is actively experimenting and trying to do new things. We actively look to understand how startups can integrate with us as we put ideas across, working together with them.

What’s new?                          

Drawing attention to how this batch is different, he says:

“Historically, the accelerator has always worked with startups which have an active working model. However, this time, the accelerator inducted a few startups which were still experimenting with their working model, being more of an incubator to these specific businesses.”

Through their fourth batch, Target also actively tried to find and build synergies among the products of the startups under acceleration, attempting to use their technologies in conjunction to solve certain problems.

Mahesh also says that the accelerator has definitely moved from just in-store, retail, and customer experiences to helping Target as an organisation better their processes. This includes functions like marketing and legal documentation, among others.

This year’s batch also saw the accelerator’s first foray into the consumer product segment through haptic footwear company, Lechal. This seems to be in line with Target’s three broad exploration areas in terms of innovation priorities. These key business areas include core retail, consumer IoT, and food technology (in terms of ingredients and quality of food).

Further, through the acceleration, the company promises to provide these startups better understanding of the different nuances of retail; maturing operations (helping startups right from IP protection to making them investment-ready); providing startups the necessary space, technology, and infrastructure as well as a huge customer base; and lastly, if deemed right, providing funding to these businesses.

Meet the startups

Although the batch consisted of five startups when last covered, two more joined midway through the programme. Here are the seven startups that graduated from Target’s fourth batch of acceleration:

1) Preksh

Working on virtualisation technology, Preksh lets customers view the architecture and services of a store on computer screens virtually, capturing the entire store in 3D.

2) Uncanny Vision

Working in the space of consumer vision, the startup helps in providing critical insights by capturing critical data such as people’s actions, scene recognition, and face recognition to enhance customer experience at stores.

3) MintM

Working as an analytics engine for large-scale stores, the startup throws analytics spotting trends for actionable insights. This could range from footfall to content and engagement.

4) Charmboard

It is an interactive app where users can save snapshots while playing videos.

5) StoryXpress

It is a cloud-based video creation tool that makes it easier for businesses to create video content.

6) LawBot

Being an AI-powered contracts engine, the startup helps in reviewing and drafting contracts. Through the process of drafting, the engine also helps users check for any common errors, loopholes, or missing obligations in the contract.

7) Lechal

Providing mobility to the visually impaired, Lechal is a manufacturer of interactive haptic shoes. It can also provide data about things like distance while using it.

Having received close to 300 applications for this batch, the accelerator programme has successfully worked with companies across domains of virtual and augmented reality, digital marketing, enterprise, and supply chain.

Apart from the programme, Mahesh says the retail behemoth is also engaging with startups to foster the culture of innovation, speed, and agility within organisations.

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