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MOBILITY

Target names freshman class for retail accelerator program

BY CSA STAFF

And then there were 10 — technology start-ups that is. And the lineup ranges from one that develops apps for supply chain inspectors to one that creates wearable technology that helps users prevent sexual assaults.

After receiving applications from more than 500 technology start-ups in 45 countries and 32 states, Target announced the 10 finalists for its first-ever tech accelerator. The retailer announced the new program, launched in partnership with Boulder, Colorado-based start-up accelerator Techstars, in October 2015.

Here are the 10 companies that will relocate to Minneapolis and embed themselves at Target headquarters this summer:

AddStructure

Based in Chicago and New York, AddStructure’s technology can turn bits of random information into structured data using machine-learning and sentiment analysis.

Blueprint Registry

This Seattle-based registry startup lets users create customized, shoppable blueprints of their own homes so wedding guests can use them to discover and buy gifts from participating retailers.

Branch Manager

Launched out of Los Angeles, Branch has built software that solves large scheduling and communications challenges for hourly workers. Users can swap shifts, view schedules and message co-workers from their phones.

Inspectorio

Based in Hong Kong, Inspectorio is addressing major supply chain challenges with a mobile platform that guides supply chain inspectors through each step of the process.

Itsbyu

This female-led company based out of Philadelphia and New York provides kits for users to create their own wedding flower arrangements.

MakerBloks

MakerBloks, based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, creates interactive games and craft materials to help children learn about electronics, technology, science, engineering and math concepts.

MakersKit

Also based in Los Angeles, MakersKit developed a service that provides DIY craft kits and instructional videos that inspire creativity in all age groups.

Nexosis

This Westerville, Ohio, machine learning company turns data into actionable intelligence that businesses can use to improve all aspects of their supply chains.

Revolar

Denver-based Revolar’s wearable technology helps prevent sexual assault by sending alerts that can help keep wearers safe.

Spruce

Created by a husband-and-wife team, also based in Denver, Spruce offers a men’s style consultancy and barbershop that blends online services with a physical store experience.

Good & Gather, a concept already underway at Target, will also join the program as the accelerator’s in-house participant. Created by the Food & Future lab Target runs in partnership with MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Good & Gather replaces traditional food labels with clear lists of ingredients in an effort to promote food transparency.

Each team’s founders will arrive in Minneapolis on June 20 for the program’s first day. They will work in a newly-built 8,000-sq.-ft. accelerator space in Target’s Minneapolis headquarters. The 14-week program will include guidance from mentors like Brian J. Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target, Casey Carl, senior VP of product design and development for Target, Julie Guggemos, chief digital officer of Target, and Todd Waterbury, chief creative officer of Target. In turn, Target says it hopes to learn from the startups’ pace and work style.

“We received twice as many applications as a typical Techstars accelerators. It really blew us away,” said West Stringfellow, VP of internal innovation and operations at Target. Leaders from across Target have volunteered to mentor and share their expertise with the selected companies this summer. Having worked in and with startups for most of my career, I am stoked to see the energy transfer between Target and the startups: Target empowering the startups with our expertise and the startups infusing their passion, energy and focus into Target.”

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FINANCE

Bed Bath & Beyond acquires home décor site — probably for a steal

BY Marianne Wilson

Bed Bath & Beyond made another move to boost its online offerings by acquiring a home furnishings and home décor flash-sales site.

The chain announced it has acquired One Kings Lane in an all-cash transaction. Bed Bath & Beyond did not disclose the purchase price, but said it was “not material” to its finances. It’s a bit of a comedown for the San Francisco-based One Kings Lane, which was founded in 2009. The online retailer once enjoyed a reputation as one of the industry’s hottest e-commerce start-ups, with a valuation of about $900 million just a couple of years ago. But flash-sales sites are no longer as popular as they once were and One Kings Lane, similar to many other e-commerce startups, failed to live up to its high-flying valuation. In December, the online retailer had a second round of job cuts amid slowing growth and cost-cutting pressures.

A reportin January 2016 fromRecodesaid that the company was looking to be sold for a quarter of that valuation.

“We have followed One Kings Lane and loved its site since its inception, and we are thrilled for the opportunity to provide them with additional support and exposure to promote and grow their brand," noted Steven H. Temares, CEO, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. "At the same time, One Kings Lane will serve as a cornerstone for Bed Bath & Beyond's growing offerings in furniture and home décor, and together we will be able to do even more for and with our collective customers wherever, whenever and however they wish to interact with us, and to further our mission to be viewed as the expert for the home."

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Westlake Ace Hardware adds new Kansas store

BY CSA STAFF

Westlake Ace Hardware has entered into a lease agreement and will be opening a new store in Overland Park, Kansas.

Lenexa, Kansas-based Westlake will take possession of the 15,500-sq.-ft. store on July 29. The store is the current location of Dobbels True Value Hardware. It will officially reopen as a Westlake Ace in fall 2016. Dobbels is currently having a going-out-of-business sale.

The new store will have a 12,500-sq.-ft.sales floor and sell traditional hardware products, as well as pet care, outdoor living, and barbecue products. Additionally, it will feature a large garden center and provide a wide range of seasonal lawn and garden supplies. A grand opening event will be held in October.

“Westlake is a growing and vibrant brand, and a valuable resource for our customers everywhere,” said Tom Knox, CEO of Westlake. “The addition of our newest store in Overland Park exemplifies our strategy to continually expand the Westlake brand in ways that make sense for our customers. Dobbels has been an important part of the Overland Park community for a very long time. We are looking forward to upholding their fine tradition of service by offering our new customers the highest level of products and service available.”

Westlake currently has 19 locations in the Kansas City metro area, and a total of 91 neighborhood hardware stores in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. The chain has been part of the Ace hardware distribution network since 1959 and a wholly-owned Ace subsidiary since 2012.

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