Target’s First Tech Incubator With Techstars Already Hatching Tangible Results

By Kavita Kumar
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Target’s First Tech incubator just wrapped up and by all accounts it was a success! Target executives who spearheaded the program emphasized all along that the aim of the program was not just for those start-ups to launch their products or services at Target. Rather, the purpose was to help them mature and grow while also persuading some of them to stay in town to boost the local tech scene.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Target Corp.’s first experiment in sponsoring a tech incubator has already produced tangible results, including at least six partnerships with the retailer among the 11 start-ups that took part.

Two of them — Hong-Kong based Inspectorio, which aims to improve third-party inspections of retailers’ supply chains, and Los Angeles-based Branch Messenger, a mobile app that enables store workers to more easily swap shifts — are moving their small teams and headquarters to Minneapolis as they expand current pilot programs with Target.

On top of that, customers will see products or services from some of the start-ups sold through Target. For example, deals were struck with Revolar to sell its wearable safety devices, ItsByU to promote its DIY flower kits on Target’s bridal registry site and MakerBloks to distribute its STEM-focused toys.

Those were some of the highlights revealed Tuesday at Demo Day, the pinnacle of the 3-month-long boot camp in which the early-stage companies were given access to hordes of mentors to help finesse their business plans.

Standing on the stage at Orchestra Hall, the founders of the start-ups, many of them clad in jeans, delivered their final 5-minute pitches before an audience that included investors, Target leaders, Twin Cities entrepreneurs and friends and family.

Target executives who spearheaded the program emphasized all along that the aim of the program was not just for those start-ups to launch their products or services at Target. Rather, the purpose was to help them mature and grow while also persuading some of them to stay in town to boost the local tech scene.

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