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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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