Marks & Spencer (M&S) today (Monday July 23) launched a joint venture partnership with Founders Factory focused on ‘discovering and developing’ start-ups.
M&S will become Founders Factory’s exclusive UK retail partner, and invest in several start-ups sourced through Founders Factory’s global network.
Co-founded by lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox, Founders Factory launches and scales start-ups across a range of sectors. The company says it ‘validates ideas, builds founding teams, finds first customers and invests directly in each start-up’.
M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said: “Partnering with Founders Factory as their exclusive retail partner gives M&S access to a global network of start-ups and entrepreneurs, which will provide disruptive thinking and questioning to the way we work at a time of critical transformation within the business.
“Founders Factory has a great track record in creating successful businesses. And by investing in new innovative technologies and products, we hope to change the way we work and operate.”
Brent Hoberman added: “We’re excited to partner with M&S as our exclusive retail investor in the UK and combine the company’s scale and experience to support early-stage founders. After over 60 investments in the last two years, we’ve seen the huge potential of combining start-up innovation with corporate scale and expertise, so we’re excited by this new chapter in a sector that is changing rapidly through technology.”
The move is the latest initiative by M&S to ‘to place digital at the heart of the business’. It recently announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft, which is testing the capabilities of technology and artificial intelligence in a retail environment.
M&S chief executive Steve Rowe
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