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Innovation

Westfield Labs taps start-ups for connected commerce venture

Westfield Labs has selected 10 start-ups to participate in its three month Connected Commerce Accelerator program based in San Francisco.

Working with digital advertising agency R/GA Ventures, the purpose of the program is to develop and pilot technologies to advance retail and commerce industries in the digital age.

The program will emphasise commercial opportunities with partners including Macy’s, Shopify, Bank of America Merchant Services, Verizon, and Walmart.

The program kicks off this week and concludes in late October with an invite-only investor and business development event where each business will present to investors and industry leaders across retail, commerce and technology industries.

“Westfield Labs is thrilled to participate in this program and to collaborate with the next generation of companies seeking to redefine the retail experience,” said Kevin McKenzie, global chief digital officer, Westfield Corp.

“We are committed to infusing digital into our physical shopping environments to create new consumer experiences and we are excited to support the 10 companies selected who share in our vision for the future of retail. We look forward to working together to identify opportunities to provide some of the participants access to Westfield’s scale and visitors by implementing their products and solutions in some of our centres, further accelerating their access to real time customer interactions and feedback.”

The 10 companies will be experimenting with technology ranging from messaging bots, visual recognition, connected experience technologies, to innovations in fulfillment, returns, and training.

The participating companies are:

1. Agent Q provides the AI to automate natural language user interactions through chatbots, product search, and customer service.

2. AxleHire provides same-day delivery services for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers that demand reliability and exceptional customer service.

3. Clarifai understands every image and video with the world’s best visual recognition technology.

4. Cordial enables retail and publisher brands to deliver highly personalised messages, while tracking digital behaviour across connected devices, web, purchase events and signals for IoT.

5. Darkstore is an on-demand logistics platform that converts under utilised brick-and-mortar spaces into local fulfillment centres, allowing e-commerce brands to store inventory, have orders fulfilled, and connect to same-day delivery providers.

6. Happy Returns is a technology, logistics, and service company building a network of Return Bars where online shoppers can return items in-person for an immediate refund, eliminating the hassle and wait of returns by mail.

7. Myagi is an online training platform that makes it easy for retailers and brands to create, manage, deliver and measure customer service, product and sales training for their front line teams.

8. Oak believes the future of retail will be software-driven. Starting with an interactive fitting room mirror that enables customer requests, lighting changes, and checkout, Oak is building the ultimate intelligent store platform.

9. Percolata uses sensor and sales data in physical retail stores to optimise sales teams.

10. Reply.ai is an end-to-end solution to build, manage, optimise, and scale chatbots across all major messaging platforms.

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