The latest class of disruptors leverages cutting-edge technology, from facial recognition to on-demand manufacturing, to solve critical retail challenges
September 15, 2017 (New York) – XRC Labs, the innovation accelerator for the retail and consumer goods industries, graduated its fourth class of startups today. Founders of the 10 companies in Cohort 4 took center stage this morning at The New School University Center to publicly launch their businesses, which address needs of the modern consumer and critical challenges facing retail companies today.
Each class of startups is unique, given the rapid pace that retail is changing and the program’s focus on solving the most relevant industry challenges and pain points. Cohort 4 has pioneered industry solutions to personalize clienteling in the digital age, monetize social media comments, help physical retail stores drive more sales from nearby customers, and more. Social good is another cohort theme – with startups that focus on design for the disability community and the circular economy.
“From facial recognition technology to on-demand manufacturing, XRC’s Cohort 4 startups are positioned to propel the key disruptive trends in retail forward,” said Pano Anthos, Founder and Managing Director of XRC Labs. “It’s been exciting to see the companies establish partnerships with leading-edge retailers and brands to bring about transformation to an industry that needs to keep pace with the rapid changes experienced by their customers in everyday life.”
The Cohort 4 founders have multiple exits on their resumes, previous startups backed by Y Combinator, and work experience from companies including Zappos, Gilt Groupe, Google, Eileen Fisher, and Uber. Consistent with all XRC cohorts, the class is diverse: 60 percent of the startups have a female founder, and founders came from Chile, Hong Kong, North Carolina, San Francisco, and Boston to participate in the Manhattan-based program.
Here are the 10 startups in Cohort 4 changing the face of retail:
- Affinity helps retailers start a dialogue with their shoppers; think Stitch Fix personalization for brands and retailers
- Cherry Pick AI is a first-to-market marketing automation technology that turns social media comments into sales
- Convey gives brands a stake in the secondhand market, to unlock additional revenue and keep customers in their ecosystem
- Facenote uses facial recognition technology to help brands and retailers identify their most valuable customers
- Feather & Bone is a natural health and wellness company with simple, pure and portable products
- FFORA is a fashion lifestyle brand with a mission to design for all, starting with the disability community (30M people in the U.S.)
- Kid Things is a machine learning powered, text-based shopping solution for busy parents of newborns to preschoolers
- Nimbly is an on-demand 3D knitting platform for innovation-driven apparel brands to optimize supply chain and offer rich customization
- TradeMonday is a market intelligence platform that helps resellers and brands maximize sales margins
- Wondermile drives in-store sales by connecting products in a store with the people nearby looking to buy them
The Demo Day audience was packed with leading venture capitalists in the retail and AI spaces and executives from companies including Bloomingdales, Brooks Brothers, eBay, GAP, Global Brands Group, Halston, Hudson’s Bay Company, Intel, Lowe’s, Mastercard, Rite Aid, Samsung, Steve Madden, Tory Burch and Under Armour.
About XRC Labs
XRC Labs is an innovation accelerator that invests in early-stage startups positioned to disrupt the retail and consumer goods sectors. The company runs two 14-week programs each year that bring together entrepreneurs, investors, brands and retailers to foster rapid innovation and unlock new opportunities in retail. XRC Labs is based in New York City, and was founded in 2015 with support from founding sponsors Kurt Salmon, now part of Accenture, and Parsons School of Design at the New School. For more information, visit xrclabs.com.