(photo credit: Courtesy)
A unique global accelerator program for retail-focused start-ups, backed by industry giants, has caught the attention of Israeli entrepreneurs.
The ultra-selective METRO Target Retail Accelerator certified by Techstars is set to commence in May. The three-month program aims to bridge the gap between innovation and implementation, helping start-ups access the lucrative global wholesale and retail markets.
Accelerator representatives recently visited Israel to scout for potential applicants for the program, backed by German wholesaler METRO and US retail giant Target, and powered by global seed accelerator Techstars. There are currently more than 250 retail technology start-ups currently operating in Israel.
Ten selected start-ups will participate in the accelerator taking place in both Berlin and Minneapolis, and receive funding of up to $120,000 each in addition to piloting, network and industry expertise from the retail giants.
“This is a great program for Israeli start-ups,” Hilla Ovil-Brenner, managing director of the Tel Aviv-based Barclays accelerator powered by Techstars, told The Jerusalem Post.
“While there are a lot of accelerators in Israel, they are not as international as this one. Innovators get to work with METRO and Target to evaluate their products and understand that there is business out there. Also, they get to tap into the larger international retail ecosystem which other programs do not offer.”
The program will conclude with a Demo Day in Minneapolis in August where entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to the leading officials from Target, METRO and Techstars, as well as to the local start-up community and potential investors.
Techstars, arguably the leading and most geographically-diverse accelerator worldwide, has been active in Israel since October 2015. It operates 45 accelerators throughout the world, and has a market cap of $17.7 billion.
“Techstars is very interested in Israeli industry and innovation,” said Ovil-Brenner. “We have a very large of community of Israeli companies that have gone through Techstars programs around the world, and we are scouting for more.”
Prior to heading the accelerator, serial entrepreneur Ovil-Brenner founded three companies, including Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-listed WhiteSmoke
, in addition to women entrepreneurship forum Yazimayot.
“I have been an entrepreneur my whole life and never received the level of support offered by Techstars. I would like Israeli industry to understand that there is a global network, and making worldwide connections is so feasible and easily reachable,” she concluded.
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