START ME UP: Marks & Spencer is embracing the future with a joint venture aimed at finding and developing retail start-ups. M&S has teamed with Britain’s Founders Factory, a well-funded incubator for start-up businesses, on the project.
M&S said Monday the partnership will give it “direct access to cutting-edge technologies” through investment in talented entrepreneurs and businesses. M&S will become the majority shareholder in the JV, which wants to build a portfolio of investments that it will seek to grow and scale.
The retailer will become Founders Factory’s exclusive U.K. retail partner, and invest in a number of start-ups that will be sourced through Founders Factory’s global network.
M&S said it’s looking to discover new technologies, business models and entrepreneurial thinking as it seeks to put digital at the heart of its transformation strategy.
Steve Rowe, chief executive officer of M&S, said he’s hoping the start-ups and entrepreneurs “will provide disruptive thinking and questioning to the way we work at a time of critical transformation within the business. By investing in new innovative technologies and products we hope to change the way we work and operate.”
Founders Factory was cofounded by Brent Hoberman, who started Lastminute.com, and is focused on launching and scaling start-ups across a
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