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Marks & Spencer partners with Founders Factory

Marks & Spencer has teamed up with Founders Factory to launch a joint venture that will invest in start-up retail businesses and help them grow.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Marks & Spencer partners with Founders Factory

Marks & Spencer has teamed up with Founders Factory to launch a joint venture that will invest in start-up retail businesses and help them grow.

As Founders Factory’s exclusive retail partner, M&S said it will benefit from exposure to new technologies, business models and entrepreneurial thinking through the joint venture as it seeks to put digital at the heart of its transformation strategy.

Founders Factory Retail will invest in a range of start-ups that will be sourced through Founders Factory’s global network.

The retailer will become the majority shareholder within the joint venture.

Steve Rowe, M&S 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.”

Co-founded by lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox, Founders Factory’s incubator creates 13 new start-ups each year while its accelerator invests in 35 start-ups annually. To date it has backed and built over 60 companies and aims to reach over 245 within five years.

Hoberman said: “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 start-up innovation with corporate scale and expertise, and so we are excited by this new chapter in a sector that is changing rapidly through technology.”

M&S recently announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft which is testing the capabilities of technology and artificial intelligence in a retail environment.

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