Corporate Brand Accelerators Are Having Their Moment.

Did you know that Target runs a Startup accelerator? Did you know that Proctor and Gamble does too? Can you guess what these retail giants focus on when it comes to business creation?

It’s all about consumer products.

Target’s accelerator, called Target Takeoff, is currently looking for Spring 2020 applicants and is specifically geared toward startups that can innovate within the rapidly changing “beauty brand” space. This will be the third year in a row that Target has run its five-week Bootcamp innovation program.

The five-week, consumer product startup accelerator is designed to help brand owners build the knowledge and connections to take a beauty brand to the next level. It teaches the ins and outs of mass retail while working with a team of mentors and Target leaders. — Target News

The great thing about corporate accelerator programs like Target’s is the specific focus on a niche industry segment. In my opinion, Startup Accelerators that are trying to please the crowd by keeping the application criteria loose and general are actually hurting a Startup chance at success.

Startup founders enter accelerator programs because they offer resources. The more niche and specific the accelerator, the more valuable resources they have to offer. Deeper connections, better infrastructure, more informed peers, industry experts on staff- these are all resources that are crucial to the success of Startups within an accelerator.

Proctor and Gamble’s accelerator is similar to Target’s in that they have a very specific focus and the intention is for Startups to work on consumer-facing products and brands. PGV (Proctor and Gamble Ventures) focuses on the consumer wellness niche in a broad sense. They describe their mission as “creating new brands and businesses that improve how people care for their families, clean their homes, and elevate their wellbeing.”

The focus areas for the 2020 accelerator cohort are:

· Chronic Conditions

· Non-Toxic Home And Garden

· Personal Performance

· Male Wellness

· Sleep

· Women’s Wellness

· Caregiving

They have multiple testimonials on their accelerator home page about the successful and happy founders that have gone through their program. Almost all of them discuss the deep level of PGV industry connection and the fully hands-on model that they use to help develop startups.

Shayne M. Wetherall, CEO of Zevo, is one such testimonial:

“These guys have unbelievably great skills at penetrating markets, building and sustaining high-value brands….and a lot of unbridled enthusiasm. It’s pretty unique, and it’s working really well.”

Startup Accelerators like Target’s and P&G’s are differentiating themselves from the big players in the Accelerator ecosystem with their focus on a niche area of a market and influence on startup cohorts to work on consumer-facing startups. Given these guidelines, entrepreneurs find it easier to develop a vision and get clear on their mission.

As we move into the new year, I believe this “corporate brand consumer-facing” accelerator trend will continue and likely pick up. Many brands that are looking for a refresh can put some resources behind an accelerator with very little effort. Given the opportunity, Startups can dramatically alter the trajectory of a tired brand and get it on track with a fresh update.


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