2 December, 2019

Celebrating one year of our Founders Factory partnership!

We have big ambitions for our future here at M&S. And embracing agility by leveraging a start-up way of working is a big part of that. So it was only natural that we’d partner up with Founders Factory, an organisation that accelerates and incubates start-up businesses. Joining forces with them last year has been key to helping us drive innovation; stimulating ideas and unlocking the new thinking we need to move forward.

What Founders Factory have been doing is introducing us to a range of new retail businesses, from which we select five each year to invest in. The best thing about this is that we all get involved in choosing which start-ups are right for us to work with. The biggest opportunities that can inspire us to greater things.

So what have we been up to this last year? We’ve been busy investing in some incredible companies:

Charged Up gives people power on demand through its network of portable power banks. There are more than 1,500 stations in the UK, including in some in our stores.

Rocketo is a healthy (raw, dehydrated and organic) environmentally responsible dogfood product which is sold online as a subscription service. We now stock Rocketo in 28 stores.

The Drop offers made to measure suits at fantastic prices. Customers can choose a suit, upload a photo and their measurements and receive a tailor-made suit in three weeks, for just £299.

Texel is a 3D scanning technology that gives customers the chance to create digital avatars, so they can find clothing most appropriate to their shape and size. Daniel Himsworth, Digital & Data Partnerships Lead, said "This opens up many exciting routes for us, it puts us at the sharp end of change and gives us the tools to test new ways to inspire customers."

Cogz is a marketplace for farmers, growers and producers to sell surplus produce direct to trade buyers before it becomes food waste.

One company that we are working closely with Founders Factory to build from scratch, Ruley, allows influencers to create capsule collections to market and sell directly to their online audience. This has the potential to disrupt the ethical and sustainable fashion influencer space, and we’re excited to be at the forefront!

Looking ahead at year 2, we’re thrilled to have already identified our first investment. Hundreds of colleagues have been involved, so this really is a group effort that you can be part of. This is you taking a leading role in shaping the future thinking here at M&S.

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