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What’s the deadline for applying?

Category 1 + Wildcard: Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 at 11:59pm EST
Category 2 + Wildcard 2: Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 at 8:00am EST

What information do I need to provide in my application?

We ask you for information about you, your idea, your team and your company. Don’t hold back, let us know how great you are.

What happens once I’ve applied?

Once you’ve submitted your details via our application form on L Marks’ Bridge platform, a member of our team will review your responses to confirm your suitability for the programme. Our partner L Marks may be in touch to gather further details and answer any questions you have before your details are submitted to the Retail Innovation Discovery committee for review. We estimate that up to 15 teams will be invited to attend the Pitch Day.

I don’t live in the US, can I apply?

Of course! Companies, entrepreneurs and startups from across the globe are encouraged to apply. Bear in mind that you may need to plan to travel to the USA for the Pitch Day if your company is selected.

Is there a minimum age?

You must be at least 18 years old to enter Retail Innovation Discovery.

What is the process for applying?

We ask you for information about you, your idea, your team and your company in an online form. You can find the link here. Once the application is submitted, L Marks will get back to you with the next steps.


What type of products are you looking for?

Please take a look at our Categories and subsequent Areas of Interest to read more about the categories of Retail Innovation Discovery. We will be looking at one category at a time, starting with Predictive Modeling and Validation and then moving on to Customer Experience of the New Decade. If you have an idea that doesn’t quite fit any of those, but you still think it would work for us – send it through the Wildcard category!

Who can participate?

Companies, entrepreneurs and startups from across the globe who are prepared to develop their products and services in collaboration with the retailer for the benefit of their customers.

I’m not a retail business – can I still participate?

Retail Innovation Discovery is not exclusively for retail  businesses. We’re also interested in working with products and services that can apply to the retail industry. For example, if you have a great data analytics platform, you could work with us to see how it could help us to understand our customers and their preferences.

I’m quite an early-stage startup – am I right for the Retail Innovation Discovery programme?

We’re open to businesses at any stage of their development and if we want to explore partnership past pitch day, we will tailor our approach to the needs and state of the business.  If you feel that your business and products would benefit from the collaboration then we’d love to hear from you.

I’ve been in accelerators before and have customers – is this right for me?

We know that your needs will be very different from an early-stage business. We have worked with companies of all stages before, and have systems in place that enable us to effectively work with each. Your time is precious and we won’t waste it. So long as you have an ambition to test out your product and ideas, we can work together.

Do I need to give away equity to participate?

No, we do not ask for equity for participating in this program. However, we are open to exploring partnerships that may include equity or  may ask you to keep us notified about future funding rounds.

Are you asking for exclusivity?

No, we’re not asking you to sign an exclusivity agreement. We want to build a relationship based on trust and, if we like each other, we hope that you’ll see us as the first port of call when you need feedback on your new products. Please be aware that we may ask you to sign a mutual non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which you will need to adhere to, even when working with other parties in the retail sector.

Will I need to disclose confidential information about my business?

If you are invited to Pitch Day or we decide to explore further opportunities together, we may ask you to sign a mutual non-disclosure agreement (NDA) – this means that we’ll keep your confidential information confidential, and you’ll need to do the same for us. This will ensure we can work together productively. However, when you’re applying to join, neither party will be under NDA, so please only share with us information about your product or business that you consider in the public domain.

What does the Retail Innovation Discovery Pitch Day consist of?

After the review of all applicants, approximately 5 teams from each category will be selected to come pitch in person to the organization and key stakeholders across the business.

What do I need to attend in person?

If selected for the program we will provide the required onsite (Columbus, Ohio) date of Pitch Day.

Has this retailer run startup or accelerator programs before?

This company has worked with startups in the past to test and implement their technology. This program is meant to build on the success of previous efforts at a larger scale and across business functions.

Is there prize money attached to the Pitch day?

No, there is no prize money or competition attached to the pitch day. However,  the retailer is looking to provide and tailor resources such as investment, mentorship, pilot opportunities, etc. to the startups who show promising opportunities for partnership.

If successful at Retail Innovation Discovery Pitch Day, will I receive investment from the retailer and/or L Marks?

Investment decisions will be up to the discretion of the retailer and L Marks to explore post Pitch Day.

Who is L Marks? What is their role in Retail Innovation Discovery?

L Marks is transforming world-leading organisations through integrating pioneering technologies and inspiring an entrepreneurial ethos. Founded with a mission to create purposeful change and with an appreciation that collaboration is the accelerant for authentic transformation, L Marks is the engine powering innovation programmes across various sectors and has launched over 60 initiatives across the UK, Europe, Israel, Asia, and the US.

Working with partners that include BMW, Lloyd’s of London, and Arsenal FC, L Marks has created the UK’s largest network of corporate innovation labs and is now recognised as a leader in business change. L Marks collaboration programmes establish innovation as a key characteristic of their partners’ businesses, driving a dynamic culture and, ultimately, fuelling growth.

Through creating these relationships and experiences, L Marks is achieving rapid transformation across industries, accelerating the businesses of the future and making change happen today.