In a bid to innovate both its online and in-store experience, Target has partnered up with Techstars to create a retail-focused accelerator program. The application system is now open and closes March 20, 2016, after which Target will select 10 companies to work out of its Minneapolis headquarters for three months next summer. Each startup will receive an investment of up to $120,000 in return for 6 to 10 percent equity.
Target's accelerator will operate similarly to Techstars, which offers three-month accelerator programs in Boston, Chicago, London, New York and Seattle, and provides its startups with mentors and access to a network of investors and executives in addition to funding.
As a sponsor, Target will have the opportunity to invest in the accelerator's startups (opening the door for acquisitions), but the companies will not be barred from working with other retailers. “Ultimately, the startup needs to do what’s right for the startup,” West Stringfellow, who will head the accelerator, told TechCrunch. “We’re not setting expectations about investment or acquisition or partnership or anything like that.”
Techstars has previously partnered with Disney, to create a media and entertainment accelerator, and Barclays, to create a fintech accelerator, but this is its first retail-focused accelerator.
Interested entrepreneurs can apply here.