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Target gets one step closer to accelerator launch


Target Corp. has reached an important milestone in its journey to launching a new retail accelerator in partnership with Boulder, Colorado-based start-up accelerator Techstars.

Target initially announced the new accelerator, expected to launch in June 2016, last October. The retailer has now closed the application process, after receiving applications from more than 500 technology start-ups in 45 countries and 32 states. Ideas submitted include connected toys and virtual fitting rooms.

Ryan Broshar, managing director of Techstars and West Stringfellow, VP of internal innovation and operations at Target, will narrow the pool down to 10 startups who will relocate to Minneapolis, where the 8,000-sq.-ft. tech center will be located in Target’s headquarters, starting in June. Participants will be provided with resources and guidance from mentors like Casey Carl, chief strategy and innovation officer of Target, and Jason Goldberger, president of and mobile.

Selections are expected to be complete by April or May, with the accelerator lasting from June to September 2016. Target has signed a three-year agreement with Techstars which will include three rounds of start-up development and funding. In an October 2015 interview with Chain Store Age, Target spokesperson Jenna Reck said the program sprung from efforts initiated by Target chief strategy and innovation office Casey Carl.

“We’ve had a dedicated innovation team for a couple of years,” said Reck. “(In 2014), Carl accelerated the work of the team and this spring hired three entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIR) who are experts in areas such as digital and brand-building. They were charged to create business and drive new growth for Target.”

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