There’s a New Accelerator in town…
XRC Labs, an accelerator established earlier this year in partnership with Parsons School of Design and global management consulting firm Kurt Salmon, is announcing its first class today in NYC today with 8 retail and consumer goods startups.
Earlier in the year, XRC put out a call for applications for New York’s first retail and consumer goods accelerator which is a 10 week program focused on startups across all stages. The program will provide the accepted startups with access to first in class mentorship from the retail sector, branding expertise, and design resources while being housed in the heart of the city.
Angelia Muller from XRC Labs is heading up the program and recently told us that “We are excited to launch the first cohort of our program, which features exceptional startup companies in the retail and consumer goods space,. These markets are massive, hard to crack, and here to stay, which is why it is so important to foster an ecosystem of visionaries who can deliver experiences and innovations that haven’t really been done before.”
This inaugural class comes with stellar educations, previous exits, and domain expertise across on demand technologies, personalization, payments, retail and ecommerce technology, luxury, fashion, and personalization.
“XRC Labs is helping to bring the next generation of innovation and design to the retail industry, and Parsons is thrilled to be a part of the first cohort class,” says Joel Towers, Dean of Parson. “We are seeing technology being used in the design industry more and more,– these new companies will be key in continuing to grow and evolve the industry.
The program will culminate with a demo day at the National Retail Federation Conference later this year. But we took a look at each of the startups before then…
FINDMINE, founded by Michelle Bacharach and Konstantin (Costa) Itskov in the summer of 2014, is a SaaS platform for retailers that incorporates machine learning to sift through merchant’s catalogues to customize personalized looks for each individual shopper. The platform can be used to generate targeted combinations for display on websites, ads, emails, and even in stores.
Natalia, Inc., founded by Natalia Allen in the spring of 2013, is a fashion brand based on sustainable fashion that improves the lives of factory workers, reduces textile consumption, and saves energy by using robotics to improve the economic and social footprint of traditional manufacturing. The end result is modern clothes for modern women using smart textile manufacturing. This is not the wearable that you think of. The response has been great thus far as Natalia has been heralded as one of the 100 Most Creative professionals by Fast Company and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
OKMYOUTFIT, founded by Diana Melencio and John Orekunrin in 2013, is an on demand service for personal shopping and styling services. According to IBIS, the personal shopping industry is sized at $762M in the US alone and highly fragmented. This is where OKMYOUTFIT can step in and centralize a market ripe for disruption.
Urbacraft, founded by Ayssar Arida and Sabine de Maussion, is a customizable building set that allows anyone to be a city builder. Using modular plastics, the sets appeal to anyone interested in architecture, built environments, and urban design. Beyond that, the company has built a digital and physical platform for the created works that allow anyone to imagine, manufacture, and sell their own designs at scale.
Gleem & Co
Gleem & Co, founded in 2014 by Nikki Lawrence and Casey Sullivan, bills itself as the “premier online destination for one-of-a-kind fine and estate jewelry”. It is much more than that. The company operates an online marketplace for buying as well as consigning jewelry, serving as a trusted and transparent intermediary in an industry that has long been fragmented by independent collectors and dealers. The team has past experience at Soap.com (sold to Amazon), Gilt, and LVMH and plans to leverage this experience and the program to redefine high end jewelry sales and centralize it online.
RFM, founded by Kevin Flammia and John Reynolds in late 2014, is a ready to wear clothing brand for men that focuses on getting the perfect fit in a world where traditional sizing rarely results in an optimal fit.
Forrge, founded by Stacy Ferreira in early 2014, is an on-demand market place for finding workforce talent for retail outlets. Stacey’s previous company was backed by Richard Branson and was acquired when she was only 20 years old.
Eastern Kingdom, founded by Aaron Luo and Carmen Chen in late 2014, is a handbag brand that is set out to create the perfect luxurious and athletic handbag that serves the needs of active women. Blending fashion and fitness, the team looks to take a piece of this ever-expanding market.