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River Island joins Land Securities in backing retail tech accelerator TrueStart

Press release

Fashion retailer River Island has announced it will join Land Securities in backing the London-based retail and consumer innovation accelerator, TrueStart. 

The new partnership will give entrepreneurs access to active mentorship, guidance and senior decision makers within the high street retailer, which along with Land Securities and consulting firm Accenture is TrueStart’s third major backer.

Land Securities’ partnership with TrueStart sees the property company’s retailers get exposure to the most cutting-edge products and technology developments in the retail and consumer world. TrueStart entrepreneurs, in turn, have access to Land Securities’ highly skilled people across a number of different disciplines as well as its portfolio of premium retail locations across the UK.

TrueStart has accelerated a number of notable success stories, including the wearable tech company, The Unseen; the social media platform that allows talent to monetise their social influence and global reach, Pollen the online curated catering marketplace for businesses, City Pantry; and fast growth, in-store retail analytics startup, Presence Orb.

Land Securities’ Head of Shopping Centres, Ailish Christian-West said of the ongoing relationship:

"Technology has huge potential to improve the retail experience across our portfolio, benefiting both our tenants and their customers. We're dedicated to exploring how retail innovation can continue to enhance the customer experience, and to actively support the growth and development of the future stars of retail technology."

River Island CIO, Doug Gardner said of the new partnership: 

"When it comes to gaining an edge in the competitive retail environment, technology has always had a huge part to play. The rate of technological change is now faster than ever before, meaning we're having to deploy things in the space of months, instead of years. Partnering with TrueStart gives us visibility into an exciting pool of companies that will help drive innovation across the industry."

TrueStart has today also announced the launch of ‘The Collection’ – a cohort-based version of the accelerator’s highly successful programme for retail and consumer tech startups.

Launching at the end of March and with applications open until February 22nd, ‘The Collection’ will welcome world class entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas across the retail and consumer landscape. TrueStart is offering a full six-month accelerator programme at its impressive open-plan London hub in Victoria. Two equity funding options for successful applicants are available:  £25,000 for 4.5% equity, or £50,000 for 9%.

The startups that progress through TrueStart benefit from dedicated retail and consumer industry support and access to a global network of senior industry figures, mentors and strategic partners. TrueStart’s strategic partners give chosen startups a unique opportunity to accelerate their businesses through active mentorship, guidance, scale and access to senior leadership.

TrueStart CEO, Baz Saidieh, says of today’s announcement:

“Those retail, fashion and consumer tech startups that successfully apply to join ‘The Collection’ will have direct, ongoing access to decision makers at organisations that have the scale and appetite to rapidly adopt their technologies and transform their business. This is a deep partnership for the right businesses. Given TrueStart’s track-record of delivering innovation directly to global retail and consumer stakeholders, our partners are all very engaged to see what products and services emerge in the next cohort.”

Startups can apply to join TrueStart’s 2015 accelerator today. A shortlist will be invited to pitch at R:evolution on 5 March 2015: R:evolution is TrueStart’s annual industry event, which is focused on the future of the retail industry. It is attended by 300 of the leading retailers, investors, and entrepreneurs.


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