US retailer Target scouts for ideas in India with new startup accelerator program

US retailer Target scouts for ideas in India with new startup accelerator program
It’s not just Microsoft Ventures that wants to nurture Indian startups. Now the American retailer Target(NYSE:TGT) is rolling out its own accelerator program for early-stage startups in India. The new Target Accelerator Program is not the same as Microsoft Ventures, which purely aims at helping teams strengthen their product and taking them to the next level of business.Target’s program is designed to help early-stage startups develop concepts that the company could use to improve its own retail and online business. Though the concept looks interesting, it’s not so clear what advantage a startup gets – aside from possible funding – from Target’s new program. Nonetheless, the choice of location is a vote of confidence in the technical abilities of Indian entrepreneurs.

4-month stint

The accelerator program runs for four months at the company’s Bangalore office in the Manyata Tech Park. The five startups inducted to the first cycle are:

  • Instaclique – Social media management for customer engagement.
  • Konotor – In-app two-way communication for existing apps in both iOS and Android.
  • muHive – An online workflow management tool.
  • Turnaround – This automates the generation of rotating 3D images through a turntable and image processing combo.
  • Unbxd – Makes the SmartEngage platform for search personalization in product recommendations, web landing pages, and web navigation.

Clearly those have potential applications in both retail and e-commerce.

Navneet Kapoor, Target India’s president and general manager, commented at yesterday’s launch:

Innovation is core to Target’s culture and we believe great ideas can come from anywhere. We are excited to invest in our first accelerator program and are thrilled to be a part of the India start-up ecosystem. We trust that these start-ups will help spur innovative solutions that will ultimately benefit our guests.

Target has a developer challenge in the US dubbed Co.Labs & Target Retail Accelerator which is run in association with Fast Company.

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