Westfield Labs and R/GA Welcome 10 Startups into the Connected Commerce Accelerator

August 8, 2016
Westfield Labs and R/GA Welcome 10 Startups into the Connected Commerce Accelerator

On Monday, August 1, Westfield Labs and R/GA announced the ten startups selected to participate in the Connected Commerce Accelerator. The products and services offered by the program participants showcase the broad range of possibilities for advancing the retail and commerce industries in the digital age – from messaging bots, to visual recognition, and connected experience technologies, to innovations in fulfillment, returns, and training.

The ten companies selected 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 personalized messages, while tracking digital behavior across connected devices, web, purchase events and signals for IoT.
  5. Darkstore is an on-demand logistics platform that converts underutilized brick-and-mortar spaces into local fulfillment centers, 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 optimize sales teams
  10. Reply.ai is an end-to-end solution to build, manage, optimize, and scale chatbots across all major messaging platforms.

To kick off the program, which runs from August through October, all ten companies said hello to a new office space – the second floor of R/GA’s San Francisco office. The open, auditorium-style space is meant to foster collaboration and interaction between the companies.

After settling in, all of the companies spent time getting acquainted – each team gave presentations about who they are and what they do. They began to discover synergies and complements between their companies, as Darkstore Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder Lee Hnetinka noted. “We are already amazed at the connections we’ve been able to establish and the conversations that have taken place on just Day One,” he said. Conversations about working together continued into the evening mixer, hosted at Bespoke.

The following day, each team had an hour-long pitch session with the accelerator partners – Westfield Labs, R/GA, Macy’s, Shopify Plus, Bank of America Merchant Services, Verizon, and Walmart – and engaged in lively conversation about aspirations for the program and collaboration opportunities.

Time with the partners proved invaluable to accelerator participants. The access to such established players in the retail industry is what drove Myagi Cofounder, Simon Turner, to the accelerator in the first place. “We applied for the program because we’re on a mission to help retailers and brands drive sales through developing sales associate skills, and to deliver on that mission we need to be involved with the best minds in retail and technology — and we think this unique accelerator delivers on that level,” he said.

Be sure to stay tuned over the next three months for more exciting updates from the Connected Commerce Accelerator!