Cutting-Edge Retail Tech On Display at XRC Labs’ Demo Day
Have you ever heard of XRC Labs, the innovation accelerator for the retail and consumer goods industries? If not, you may want to get to know it. It's doing some pretty interesting things with retail technology.
Each year, XRC Labs runs two 14-week programs designed for startups in the retail technology space. XRC Labs provides rigorous business and industry training, plus initial funding to help grow the startups involved in the program. The startups are given access to an incredible retail ecosystem, including program sponsors, partners and mentors across hundreds of top-tier retail brands.
XRC Labs gets applications for the program from hundreds of retail tech startups each year, ultimately selecting companies that are focused on improving consumers’ omnichannel experiences, new consumer goods suppliers, and new retail and distribution companies.
Last week, XRC Labs graduated its “Cohort 4” class of 10 startups at its Demo Day event at The New School University Center. XRC Labs’ Demo Day essentially marks the program completion for the startups, as well as offers them the chance to publicly launch their businesses (in some cases they already have pilots lined up). The startups are busy meeting with investors and retailers at Demo Day, too. The event attracted venture capitalists and executives from Bloomingdale's, Brooks Brothers, eBay, Gap, Halston, Hudson’s Bay Company, Lowe’s, Steve Madden, Tory Burch, and Under Armour.
The Cohort 4 class of startups focused on solutions that personalize clienteling in the digital age, monetize social media comments, help physical retail stores drive more sales from nearby customers, and more.
“From facial recognition technology to on-demand manufacturing, XRC’s Cohort 4 startups are positioned to propel the key disruptive trends in retail forward,” said Pano Anthos, founder and managing director of XRC Labs. “It’s been exciting to see the companies establish partnerships with leading-edge retailers and brands to bring about transformation to an industry that needs to keep pace with the rapid changes experienced by their customers in everyday life.”
Here are the startups in Cohort 4 changing the face of retail:
- Affinity, a solution that helps retailers start a dialogue with their customers; think Stitch Fix personalization for brands and retailers.
- Cherry Pick AI, a first-to-market marketing automation technology that turns social media comments into sales.
- Convey, a tool that gives brands a stake in the secondhand market to unlock additional revenue and keep customers in their ecosystem.
- Facenote, a solution that uses facial recognition technology to help brands and retailers identify their most valuable customers.
- Feather & Bone, a natural health and wellness company with simple, pure and portable products.
- FFORA, a fashion lifestyle brand with a mission to design for all, starting with the disability community.
- Kid Things, a machine learning-powered, text-based shopping solution for busy parents of newborns to preschoolers.
- Nimbly, an on-demand 3-D knitting platform for innovation-driven apparel brands to optimize their supply chains and offer rich customization.
- TradeMonday, a market intelligence platform that helps resellers and brands maximize sales margins.
- Wondermile, a startup that drives in-store sales by connecting products in-store with the people nearby looking to buy them.
I’ll be covering some of these companies here in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.