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The Future of Retail Challenge

In association with

IBM Unilever Iceland Argos
The Future of Retail Challenge

Can your startup revolutionise retail?

Demonstrate a winning idea for the retail industry using IBM Bluemix and access to up to £750,000 worth of investment and business acceleration support.

Venturespring, the international venture development studio, in association with IBM, Argos and the Unilever Foundry present The Future of Retail Challenge. This startup competition invites the startup community to propose innovative new tech solutions, built on IBM Bluemix, that solve problems within the retail industry. Open to both early and growth stage startups, this is your chance to win access to £750,000 of investment, £20,000 of business acceleration support and worldwide exposure for your startup.

What you have to do is:

  • Register for the innovation challenge
  • Check out the submission categories
  • Create your startup tech with IBM Bluemix
  • Submit your entry
  • Become the winner

Do you have what it takes?

The Future of Retail Challenge 2016 is now closed for submissions.

What you can win

The boost your startup needs.

Access to £750,000 of investment

The winning entry will be pitched to our network of investors.

Up to £20,000 worth of growth support

Receive expert advice, vital PR and business acceleration resources.

A worldwide showcase

Your startup will get the exposure it needs to achieve success.

How to participate

  • Step 1

    Once you’ve registered, familiarise yourself with the submission categories.

  • Step 2
  • Step 3

    Build your prototype app on IBM Bluemix.

  • Step 4

    Submit your startup, its IBM Bluemix URL and description.

The Judges

Your entry will be reviewed by a panel of judges selected for their breadth
and depth of expertise in technology, venture capital and the retail industry

Among our judges are experts from IBM, Argos, Unilever Foundry, Unilever Ventures, Innovate UK,
London & Partners, TechLondon, Premier Farnell, Octopus Ventures, MMC Ventures and more.

Colleen Hayes

Colleen Hayes

Global Director, Entrepreneurial Development, IBM

Colleen is responsible for advancing IBM’s strategic growth initiatives by building a global ecosystem. In particular she works to engage startups and entrepreneurs.

Jeremy Basset

Jeremy Basset

Head of Unilever Foundry

Jeremy’s role is to drive technological and cultural transformation across Unilever, by enabling partnerships with pioneering innovators, startups and corporates.

Alison Say

Alison Say

Head of Ecosystems and Innovation, IBM Cloud UK

Alison fosters technology innovation by working with entrepreneurs, startups, developers and enterprise clients in the private and public sectors.

Cassandra Harris

Cassandra Harris

Managing Director, Venturespring

Tech City’s TopTech100 list and Great British Entrepreneur finalist, Cassandra works with corporate incubators, accelerators and venture divisions to create internal startups.

Olivier Garel

Olivier Garel

Managing Director/CEO, Unilever Ventures

Olivier invests in and supports entrepreneurs building consumer growth companies that develop the innovative technologies and business models to disrupt massive markets.

Harriet Green

Harriet Green

VP & GM, Internet of Things, Commerce and Education, IBM

One of the most high-profile businesswomen in Britain today, Harriet is right on the leading edge of the next wave of development in the digital age, leading two new divisions at IBM.

Janet Coyle

Janet Coyle

Principal Advisor, London & Partners

With a strong track record in both the public and private sectors, Janet has Silicon Valley and UK experience in supporting high-growth companies to scale up and internationalise.

John Walden

John Walden

CEO, Home Retail Group

John’s proven record of business growth extends across a diverse range of businesses. His expertise encompasses multi-channel retail and other customer-oriented enterprises.

Chris Wheatcroft

Chris Wheatcroft

Tech Club Manager, Angels Den

One of the UK’s biggest and most successful angel networks. He is an active member of the early stage investment community and is a mentor at several accelerators as well as being on the Investment Committee for the Ascension Ventures SEIS Fund.

Luke Hakes

Luke Hakes

Investment Director, Octopus Investments

Luke is an early-stage technology investor with a focus on finding teams that are building businesses with the potential to transform or dominate an industry.

Nick Canning

Nick Canning

Joint Managing Director, Iceland Foods

Nick’s responsibilities have included every aspect of the consumer-facing side of the business, from stores, people and marketing, to e-commerce.

Margaret Perchik

Margaret Perchik

Associate, MMC Ventures

A former investment banking technology researcher, Margaret is responsible for sourcing new deals, deal execution and sector research at one of the UK’s most active venture capital investors.

Roland Meister

Roland Meister

Head of Automotive, Aerospace and Autonomous Connected Vehicles, Innovate UK

Roland has extensive experience of leading and developing technical and business teams in Formula 1, aerospace, automotive, marine, autonomous rail, and intelligent mobility.

Miles Kirby

Miles Kirby

Director: Growth Investments, Oxford Capital

Miles leads investments in the technology space and has over 15 years of venture and growth experience and a background in forming and running new ventures.

Justin Cina

Justin Cina

Marketing Director & Product Owner, Gust

Justin has been helping startups flourish for over a decade, seeing three successful exits during his time operating a startup advisory firm. Now, at Gust, Justin oversees growth and the creation of innovative services for early stage founders, helping to make fundraising easier and more accessible.

Goncalo de Vasconcelos

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos

Co-founder and CEO, Syndicate Room

Serial entrepreneur Gonçalo understands what investors are looking for from a business. He also writes about equity crowdfunding, business angel investing and venture capital investment.

Marcus Bergsli

Marcus Bergsli

Global Strategic Alliance Business Manager, Premier Farnell

Marcus drives the successful accelerated execution of the group’s global Services Beyond Product strategy, managing agreed assigned strategic supplier relationships and solution marketing programs.

Mike Butcher

Mike Butcher

Editor-at-large, Techcrunch

Writer, broadcaster, editor and co-founder of TechHub, Mike works on the biggest tech company news site and has been called one of the most influential Britons in technology.

Nenad Marovac

Nenad Marovac

Managing Partner and co-founder, DN Capital

Nenad oversees the global operations with day to day responsibility for operations in the UK and Germany focusing on investments in e-commerce, marketplaces, mobile and digital media companies.

Jenny Tooth

Jenny Tooth

Chief Executive, UK Business Angels Association

Jenny has over 20 years’ experience of supporting SME access to investment. She has operated investment readiness programmes and participated in expert groups on access to finance.

Neil Hayes

Neil Hayes

Merchandising and Format Development Director, Iceland Foods

A retail leader with 10 years senior leadership experience gained across store operations, omni-channel fulfilment and supply chain development at three of the UK’s largest retail businesses.

Fatima Zada

Fatima Zada

Director of Technology and Innovation, Harvey Nichols

Fatima has a wealth of experience in the technology needs of global luxury brands, working at French Connection, Burberry and now Harvey Nichols. She has held several positions in several continents, from the USA, UAE, to Korea and Hong Kong.

Agata Samojlowicz

Agata Samojlowicz

Lead Technologist, Online Commerce, Innovate UK

Agata's focus is on eCommerce, retail and the High Street. She has over 12 years' experience in the mobile content, entertainment & media space and has worked for companies like T-Mobile, Disney, Capcom, Tapjoy and Shazam.

Register for The Future of Retail Challenge 2016

Please fill in your name and email address below and we’ll send all the information you need straight to your inbox!

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Now give yourself a head start.

The first step in the The Future of Retail Challenge is to create your account on the powerful IBM Bluemix Platform.

An email containing the The Future of Retail Challenge details is winging its way to you now. Meanwhile, you need to create your free IBM Bluemix account. IBM Bluemix is the cloud-based development platform with which you’ll need to create your startup.

Create your free IBM Bluemix account now
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