Following Walmart's (NYSE:WMT) lead, Target (NYSE:TGT) launched an Accelerator Program in India, which leverages brilliant minds for the next big tech ideas, according to the retailer.
Two years ago, WalmartLabs invested in Bangalore's tech talent to build a global e-commerce platform. Similarly, Tesco, the UK's largest retailer, has a technology center in Bangalore to build global solutions.
Target executives expect that the technology ideas from Bangalore will change customer engagement in the U.S. "The Indian operation of Target is not a back office, and the accelerator program showcases that India has talent to solve global problems in the retail market," Navneet Kapoor, CEO of Target India, told BusinessWorld.
Target's program, launched early this year, focused on small startups that were charged with bringing innovative ideas to Target across five key areas: search, content, data, social and mobile. Hundreds of startups applied to the program, but only five were selected and given the opportunity to develop their ideas at Target's Bangalore office with access to mentors, tools, resources and operational support.
"We provide these start-ups with real problems and we don't mind working with them in certain areas of our business because they are nimble at converting ideas from ideas to market-ready product," Kapoor said.
This week, the five startups from the first class of the Target Accelerator Program — Turnaround Innovision, MuHive, Konotor, Unbxd and InstaClique — presented their work to a group of venture capitalists, angel investors, Target mentors and media.
The products and ideas from all five startups will be tested in select Target stores and on Target.com. The second group of Accelerator startups, expected to start in the fourth quarter, will focus on digital, omnichannel technologies and analytics.
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