Marks and Spencer has announced it has partnered with six start-ups, as it marks the first anniversary of the M&S and Founders Factory Joint Venture designed to identify and accelerate emerging businesses.
The six fast growth start-ups were selected from over 100 hopeful new businesses identified from Founders Factory’s global start-up network.
So far M&S has partnered with power bank developer Charged Up, 3D scanning technology provider Texel, environmentally responsible dogfood producer Rocketo, custom suit manufacturer The Drop, farming marketplace Cogz and ethical and sustainable fashion disrupter Ruley.
M&S also revealed that over 1,200 colleagues across stores and support centres have been engaged in the Founders Factory partnership – from attending showcase events through to providing insight and data to help the business assess which investments to pursue.
Jeremy Pee, chief digital and data officer at M&S, said: “[We are] changing to create a more entrepreneurial, empowered and digital first mindset across the business. Expert partnerships like Founders Factory are catalysts for that cultural change – enabling us to work with and learn from the disrupters and not be disrupted.
“From subscription delivery models, 3D scanning technology to disruptive new product platform, Founders Factory Retail is parachuting alternative ideas into the business and exposing teams to innovative thinking.”
Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Founders Factory, added: “This partnership works because there are clear benefits for both sides. For M&S, start-ups provide access to new, innovative ways of thinking; and for each start-up, M&S offers scale and credibility.
“Founders Factory has now facilitated over 200 pilots with partners, six of which with M&S. And the partnership with M&S is only a year old; we’re only just getting started.”