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Fund to accelerate retail innovation established by five grocery leaders

Posted: 11 April 2024 | | No comments yet

The W23 Global fund will aim to offer investors incomparable access to transformative innovation in grocery and sustainability across the globe.

Fund to accelerate retail innovation established by grocery leaders

Five of the world’s leading grocery retailers have come together to establish a pioneering collaborative grocery venture capital (VC) fund, W23 Global. The fund will seek to invest in innovative start-ups and scale-ups that deploy technology to enhance customer experiences (both in store and online), increase productivity across the grocery value chain and address the sector’s sustainability challenges, looking at everything from biodiversity in agriculture to sustainable packaging.

The five retailers involved in W23 Global are:

  • Tesco (UK, ROI, Central Europe)
  • Ahold Delhaize (US, Europe, Indonesia)
  • Woolworths Group (Australia, New Zealand)
  • Empire Company Limited/Sobeys Inc. (Canada)
  • Shoprite (Africa).

Each retailer is an equal funder and partner in W23 Global, while their CEOs will sit on the investment committee. 

W23 Global complements its partners’ continuing direct innovation and investment strategies. The fund’s portfolio companies will be free to contract with any customer, whether a W23 Global partner or otherwise, on whatever terms they decide.

W23 Global‘s CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Ingrid Maes, said: “W23 Global is a pioneering international VC fund with a uniquely powerful proposition for both our investors and portfolio companies. At a time when innovation is reshaping retail and value chains across the economy, we aim to offer our investors incomparable access to transformative innovation in grocery and sustainability across the globe.

“W23 Global will also work with its investors to identify common unaddressed challenges and identify entrepreneurs best placed to innovate new solutions. Our ambition is to offer our portfolio companies faster pathways to global scale, without being exposed to a venture fund anchored by a single strategic investor. With five of the world’s leading grocery CEOs sitting on our investment committee and access to our broader ecosystem, our founders can test and develop their ideas quickly based on an accelerated understanding of retailers’ needs,” she concluded.