SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, R/GA Ventures and Westfield Labs announce the companies chosen for 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.
Beginning today, all companies will have access to resources from R/GA and Westfield Labs for the duration of the program, as well as input and collaboration from program partners that are global leaders in the commerce space including Macy's, Shopify Plus, Bank of America Merchant Services, Verizon, and Walmart. The program will emphasize opportunities for business development, pilots, and partnerships, with the program partners and their networks, and will enable the companies to develop and launch new business models that will disrupt the status quo and reimagine the future of commerce.
Participating companies in the R/GA Connected Commerce Accelerator in partnership with Westfield Labs are:
- Agent Q provides the AI to automate natural language user interactions through chatbots, product search, and customer service.
- AxleHire provides same-day delivery services for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers that demand reliability and exceptional customer service.
- Clarifai understands every image and video with the world's best visual recognition technology.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Percolata uses sensor and sales data in physical retail stores to optimize sales teams.
- Reply.ai is an end-to-end solution to build, manage, optimize, and scale chatbots across all major messaging platforms.
The program will take place at the R/GA San Francisco office, concluding in late October 2016 with an invite-only investor and business development event where each startup will present to investors and industry leaders across the retail, commerce, and technology industries.
"The innovative technologies, services, and business models of the companies in the program position them to be leaders in determining the future of retail and commerce," said Stephen Plumlee, Managing Director, R/GA Ventures. "We are excited to work with each of the companies to help them build their businesses through access to R/GA's creative capital and client network as well as through the extensive expertise and networks from Westfield Labs and the other program partners."
"Westfield Labs is thrilled to participate in this program and to collaborate with the next generation of companies seeking to redefine the retail experience," said Kevin McKenzie, Global Chief Digital Officer, Westfield Corp. "We are committed to infusing digital into our physical shopping environments to create new consumer experiences and we are excited to support the ten companies selected who share in our vision for the future of retail. We look forward to working together to identify opportunities to provide some of the participants access to Westfield's scale and visitors by implementing their products and solutions in some of our centers, further accelerating their access to real time customer interactions and feedback."
The companies will also have an opportunity to join roundtable sessions with the program partners and third-party experts from around the globe to discuss cutting-edge innovations and share forward-looking research, creating a multi-dimensional conversation defining the future of commerce and helping to identify potential market opportunities.
R/GA will provide its award-winning business transformation, strategic marketing, branding, design, and technology services, as well as access to its network of industry partners, global brand leaders, mentors, and investors. The companies will also have access to the Westfield Labs team who are among the world's leading experts in the convergence of digital and physical shopping, and work in partnership with top global retailers to enhance the consumer experience.
R/GA, the company for the Connected Age, develops products, services and communications to grow our clients' brands and businesses. Founded in 1977, the agency has been a pioneer at the intersection of technology, design and marketing with work spanning web, mobile, and social communications, retail and e-commerce, product innovation, brand development and business consulting. R/GA has more than 2,000 employees globally with offices across the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia-Pacific and is part of The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG), one of the world's largest advertising and marketing services organizations. R/GA Ventures was founded in 2013 and is a member of the GAN (gan.co), a network of the world's most respected accelerators and organizations in support of the startup ecosystem. For more information about R/GA, please visit www.rga.com, @rgaventures, and www.rgaaccelerator.com.
About Westfield Labs
Westfield Labs is an entity of Westfield Corporation and serves as a global digital lab focused on removing the friction from physical commerce. Westfield Labs is committed to transforming emerging ideas and technologies into viable businesses that move the retail industry forward. The team develops and pilots new technologies that converge the digital shopper with the physical world. Over time, new products, partnerships and services will be commercialized globally. For more information, visit www.WestfieldLabs.com. Follow Westfield Labs on Twitter here or on its blog.
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