20 Jul '18
The French hypermarket chain Leroy Merlin, operating in Russia in the field of retail for household and countryside cottage construction/repairs, and the government-owned Russian Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF, aka FRII in Russian) earlier this year launched a joint acceleration program for retail-focused start-ups.
Leroy Merlin is interested in start-ups that develop services using big data and machine learning and are focused on marketing products, solutions to automate and robotize business processes, logistics technologies, including ones that make it easy to deliver goods of different sizes to customers, solutions for the uberization of high-tonnage long-haul transportation, and also services that help optimize and better control internal management and operation processes.
Each start-up the partners pick for acceleration are eligible for anything between $40K and $400K in investment from IIDF. The teams benefit from consulting by Leroy Merlin and IIDF experts in marketing, sales, market analytics, and are expected to learn how to launch pilot projects in Leroy Merlin outlets they will choose.
An individual tracker/coach is assigned to each of the selectees, who helps develop each team’s acceleration objectives and assists in starting pilot projects in partnership with Leroy Merlin.
The best acceleration program graduates may look forward to launching their projects across the huge area of Leroy Merlin’s Russian presence from Kaliningrad in the west to Khabarovsk in the Far East. Some of the brightest ones will also be eligible for their next $240K-$5.2m investment round to be raised from IIDF. The Russian government fund has also promised to help the best start-ups develop an individual strategy for corporate scaling or selling, build connections with corporate customers and strategic investors, put together a PR campaign for their brand names, and hire the right employees.