Target Launches Website To Gobble Up Startups’ Ideas

Image courtesy of (Mike Mozart)

Best Buy isn’t the only retailer looking to work with hot new startups, Target was just a bit more quiet about the whole thing. Last week the big box retailer stealthily launched a website aimed at collecting ideas from startups interested in working with the company. 

The website solicits pitches from early-stage companies that are looking to run pilot programs that would enhance customers’ experiences with the retailer, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Unlike Best Buy’s recently announced plans that would put new products on shelves, Target’s “Pitch to Pilot” initiative isn’t a way for companies to hawk product ideas, but instead to provide insight on services the retailer could one day offer in stores or online.

Pitch to Pilot is Target’s way of dealing with an influx of information from startups, that are apparently dying to work with the retailer ever since it launched its Techstars accelerator program last year.

That program, which recently graduated its first class of 11 startups — has received interest from more than 500 tech-based startups with ideas about how to impact retail—from supply chain to data analytics to new ways to integrate digital and in-store experiences.

“A lot of it was people reaching out over email or through LinkedIn or if they knew somebody at Target,” a spokesperson tells the Tribune. “And you never know if you’re reaching out to the right person.”

Target’s new website — startup.target.com — will formalize the process for these companies, as they will fill out a pitch form. Target claims it will respond within 30 days.

Target sets up website to invite pitches from startups [Minneapolis Star Tribune]