Retail Innovation Spans Agricultural Biodiversity

Retail Innovation

Tesco has partnered with four international grocery leaders – Woolworths Group, Ahold Delhaize, Empire Company Ltd, and Shoprite – to establish W23 Global, a collaborative venture fund focused on fostering retail innovation. The fund will primarily target startups applying technology to elevate customer experiences and enhance efficiency across the grocery sector. Sustainability initiatives, spanning agricultural biodiversity to improved packaging, will also be a core investment theme.

The CEOs of each founding company will participate on the investment committee, and Tesco has committed £20 million over the next five years.

The formation of W23 Global reflects a growing trend among major retailers to seek external innovation sources. The grocery industry faces mounting pressure from e-commerce giants like Amazon, necessitating rapid technological adoption to maintain competitiveness. This collaborative approach allows retailers to pool resources, share insights into emerging trends, and gain preferential access to cutting-edge solutions.

Tesco Group CEO Ken Murphy stated, “Collaborating with these international retailers allows us to pursue the most promising retail innovations and sustainable practices on a global scale.”

W23 CEO and Chief Investment Officer Ingrid Maes added, “This fund offers our investors unparalleled access to transformative innovations. By identifying shared challenges and supporting the best entrepreneurs, we aim to accelerate solutions and streamline the path to global scale for our portfolio companies.”

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