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R/GA teams with Westfield Labs for new connected commerce accelerator

In a bid to “reimagine the future of retail”, creative agency R/GA has launched an accelerator program in partnership with Westfield Labs for growth-stage and early-stage start-ups.

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The initiative is looking for applicants that can impact connected commerce, redefine the mall or in-store experience, or enhance a consumer’s engagement with brands at any stage of the transaction process. It will run with other program partners including Macy’s, Shopify Plus, Bank of America Merchant Services and Verizon.

“Access to these diverse commerce leaders will provide unparalleled opportunities for start-ups seeking to create innovative experiences and technologies at the intersection of digital and physical commerce,” reads the write-up.

Those participating will also have the opportunity to join roundtable discussions on innovation and forward-looking research with the program partners as well as third-party experts from around the globe. The aim of doing so is to inspire and inform as well as help identify potential market opportunities for the program start-ups.

“At Westfield Labs we are committed to building digital experiences that connect consumers with our retail partners,” said Kevin McKenzie, global chief digital officer at Westfield Corp. “Our team is thrilled to collaborate with top ranked agency R/GA and world-class retail partners to evangelize and promote talent and innovation in the commerce space.”

“R/GA is honored to work with partners who are leading the discussion about the future of commerce,” added Stephen Plumlee, global chief operating officer of R/GA and managing partner of R/GA Ventures, which is the division behind the R/GA Connected Commerce Accelerator. “We look forward to bringing the unique value of our award-winning global talent pool and client relationships to this program. Our model has proven that it creates incremental long-term value for founders, investors, and our program partners.”

The program is looking for start-ups focused on in-store experiences, mobile commerce, payments, merchandising, customer service, analytics, CRM and loyalty, conversational and social commerce, blockchain, POS, delivery and distribution, VR/AR commerce experiences, inventory and workforce management, and more.

Up to 10 start-ups will be selected to participate in the program, which will take place in San Francisco starting on August 1, 2016. The program will conclude in late October with an invite-only Demo Day at which each start-up will have the opportunity to present to investors and industry leaders from across the retail, e-commerce, and technology industries. Applications are open worldwide until May 23, 2016.

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

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