SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the R/GA Ventures Connected Commerce Accelerator in partnership with Westfield Labs concluded with a demo event at Bespoke in Westfield San Francisco Centre. Following 12 weeks of mentorship, pilots, and ongoing work with brand, technology, and business consultants from the R/GA Services team, Westfield Labs, and program partners, the ten participating companies took the stage to present their commerce and retail-focused businesses to investors and business partners.
The 10 program participants represent the next wave of innovation in the commerce and retail space. They range from innovative takes on fulfilment, delivery, and returns (AxleHire, Darkstore, Happy Returns), to retail workforce optimization and training solutions (Myagi, Percolata), to adaptive messaging powered by machine learning (Cordial) to a new platform for the connected store (Oak). There are also three companies each with unique approaches to using artificial intelligence (AI) for customer service, bot management, and image recognition (AgentQ, Reply, Clarifai).
Announcements made during the showcase include a pilot program between Happy Returns and Westfield, two new Darkstore locations in New York and Phoenix, and the launch of OAK Stockroom.
The R/GA Connected Commerce Accelerator with Westfield Labs graduating class includes:
- Agent Q is a customer service chat platform that superpowers your agents with Artificial Intelligence. With the help of the R/GA Services team and the program partners, Agent Q has trained its machine learning algorithms to make agents faster and more effective.
- AxleHire provides same-day delivery services for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers that demand reliability and exceptional customer service. Throughout the program, they doubled in size - expanding revenue to almost $200,000 per month, fulfilling 40,000 deliveries in September alone.
- Clarifai is an AI company that empowers businesses and developers to solve real-world problems using visual recognition. During the program, Clarifai launched Custom Training, which enables customers to train AI models, and Visual Search which allows businesses to easily use AI-powered search to browse, find, and recommend images by keyword and visual similarity. Clarifai recently announced a $30 million round of funding led by Menlo Ventures.
- Cordial is an adaptive messaging platform that helps retailers and publishers combine analytics with machine learning to create messaging that speak to what consumers need in the moment. In partnership with R/GA, Cordial is expanding its machine learning capabilities and expand their customer base.
- Darkstore is an on-demand delivery fulfillment platform that enables e-commerce brands to store inventory in warehouses within cities so they can offer same-day delivery. Having already launched in San Francisco in May with Tuft & Needle, today they are launching four more brands including Frank + Oak, Peel, Wildfang, and Skipodz and announcing new Darkstore locations in New York City and Phoenix.
- Happy Returns is a technology, logistics, and service company that enables in-person returns for online shoppers. Building a network of Return Bars where online shoppers can return items in person for an immediate refund, the company eliminates the hassle and wait of returns by mail. Today, Happy Returns is announcing the expansion of its Return Bar network to two new Westfield locations, Westfield Topanga and Westfield San Francisco Centre, where its return services are now fully integrated into the mall concierge.
- Myagi lets sales associates master the customer experience, by delivering lightweight, easy-to-access lessons at exactly the right time.
- Oak known for their OAK Mirror, today announces Oak StockRoom, a new product leveraging Artificial Intelligence to predict and request in-store stock movement. Additionally, Oak provided a sneak peek at future products in their connected-store ecosystem.
- Percolata uses sensor and sales data in physical retail stores to optimize sales teams, giving a 10-30% boost in revenue using the same labor budget and staff.
- Reply.ai makes customer service suck less. With an end-to-end chatbot platform that can build, manage, and optimize 1:1 communication with customers at scale, Reply works with major brands and retailers to make customer service more manageable and efficient through messaging. Reply even partnered with R/GA and the Ad Council to power GoVoteBot, just in time to make registering to vote suck less, too.
Throughout the program, each company received customized support from R/GA and Westfield Labs, as well as input and collaboration from program partners including Macy's, Shopify Plus, Bank of America Merchant Services, Verizon, and Walmart. The program emphasized opportunities for business development and pilots with the program partners and their networks, enabling participants to develop new business models and actionable paths to market.
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 and @rgaventures.
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. A part of Westfield Retail Solutions, Westfield Labs works closely with Data Analytics, Business Development and Information Technology teams to respond to the strategic challenges and opportunities faced by retailers around the world presented by the rise of digital technology. 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. For more information, visit www.WestfieldLabs.com. Follow Westfield Labs on Twitter or on its blog.