Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator Announce Their First Class Of Startups


ts_retail_target_fc_rgbThe much anticipated Techstars Retail Accelerator in partnership with Target took a big step forward today by revealing the startups that will be relocating to Minneapolis this summer for their inaugural class.

This verticalized collaboration came together last fall to “focus on bringing new technology, experiences, products, and solutions to retail,” and is driven by Managing Director Ryan Broshar working with Target’s own Entrepreneurs in Residence.  It’s the first of a three year committment.

Selected from 500+ applications, these 10 startups will begin their three-month intensive startup acceleration on Monday, June 20th and culminate in demo day on September 20th during Twin Cities Startup Week. Notably, half of the chosen ones are led by female founders, while none of them are from Minnesota.

AddStructure: Based in Chicago and New York, AddStructure’s impressive technology can turn bits of random information into structured data using sophisticated machine-learning and sentiment analysis.

Blueprint Registry: This Seattle-based registry startup lets users create customized, shoppable blueprints of their own homes so wedding guests can use them to discover and buy gifts from participating retailers.

Branch Messenger: Launched out of Los Angeles, Branch’s strong core team has built software that solves large scheduling and communications challenges for hourly workers; users can easily swap shifts, view schedules and message co-workers, right from their phones.

Inspectorio: All the way from Hong Kong, Inspectorio’s team is tackling major supply chain challenges with a mobile platform that guides supply chain inspectors through each step of the process.

itsbyu: This female-led company based out of Philadelphia and New York has an innovative business approach to a traditional industry—they provide kits for users to create their very own wedding flower arrangements.

MakerBloks: The MakerBloks team, based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, creates interactive games and craft materials to help children learn about electronics, technology and STEM concepts.

MakersKit: Also based in Los Angeles, the founding team from MakersKit developed a service that provides DIY craft kits and instructional videos that inspire creativity in all age groups.

Nexosis: This Westerville, Ohio, machine learning company turns data into actionable intelligence that businesses can use to improve all aspects of their supply chains.

Revolar: Founder Jacqueline Ros, based in Denver, created Revolar’s wearable technology to help prevent sexual assault by sending alerts that can help keep wearers safe.

Spruce: Created by a husband-and-wife team – also out of Denver – Spruce offers a men’s style consultancy and barbershop that blends online services with a new kind of physical store experience.

Good & Gather – a concept already underway at Target, will also join the program this summer as the accelerator’s in-house “startup.” Created by the Food + Future coLab team in Cambridge, Mass., Good & Gather replaces traditional food labels with clear lists of ingredients in an effort to promote food transparency.


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  • Matt Otterstatter

    I think it’s very positive that all the startups are from outside MN, bringing fresh blood and new approaches to the area. Hopefully people aren’t too disappointed by a lack of local representation, because this is a staple of the Techstars corporate model (which is quite different than the original city programs) and should have been expected from the beginning.

    • Frank Jaskulke

      I agree. This is a good way to learn from others and to expose people from outside the region to Minnesota. Lets not disappoint them!
      I’ve got hot dish. J/K.

      • Jeff Pesek

        I third it, although am surprised that there wasn’t one local startup.

        If I was to place a bet yesterday that there would be at least one MN startup selected, I would have done so. And lost.

        • Joe Serrano


    • Joe Morris

      Really Matt? What does it say about the state of our local startup community. I think that both Ryan and Target just did us a great dis-service. I am very disappointed.

      • Matt Otterstatter

        Joe, I don’t think it should be interpreted as any kind of statement on the local startup scene. This is just the way Techstars corporate programs are designed to operate. I’ve been involved with a bunch of TS programs over the past few years, and I’ve only seen 1 local company in all of them combined. Certainly both Ryan and Target are big supporters of the region, so I’d encourage you to give them the benefit of the doubt.

        • Jeff Pesek

          Interesting perspective, Matt. Which TS programs have you been involved with and in what capacity?