Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Founders Factory have today launched Founders Factory Retail, a joint venture (JV) focused on investing and growing start-ups. M&S will become Founders Factory’s exclusive UK retail partner, and invest in a number of start-ups, sourced through Founders Factory’s global network, which will expose the business to new technologies, business models and entrepreneurial thinking, as it seeks to put digital at the heart of its transformation strategy. M&S will become the majority shareholder within the JV which will build a portfolio of investments in fast growth start-ups, which it will seek to grow and scale.
Steve Rowe, Chief Executive 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 have 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.”
Founders Factory is at the forefront of the UK tech industry, co-founded by Brent Hoberman founder of lastminute.com and Henry Lane Fox, it is focused on launching and scaling start-ups across a range of sectors.
Brent Hoberman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Founders Factory: “We are 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 have seen the huge potential of combining startup innovation with corporate scale and expertise, and so we are excited by this new chapter in a sector that is changing rapidly through technology.”
The launch of Founders Factory Retail bolsters the ongoing transformation of M&S, which is seeking to place digital at the heart of the business. M&S recently announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft, which is testing the capabilities of technology and artificial intelligence in a retail environment.