Covid-19: Farfetch start-up programme to run on 'digital schedule'

Online fashion marketplace Farfetch has announced the fourth cohort for its Dream Assembly start-up programme – with the eight firms involved looking to help shape the future of fashion and retail using technology.

The programme will be held in a fully digital format, for the first time, due to the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus crisis and the accompanying health and safety guidelines businesses must adhere to. It means the mentorship, networking opportunities and support start-ups receive over the coming seven weeks will be provided virtually, rather than face to face, as is the norm.

This year’s cohort was selected from 155 applications, and includes businesses from around the world. The list is, as follows:

Cerebra: This US firm aims to transform sales, CRM, inventory and text data into real-time insights that enable users to action decisions around merchandising, customer satisfaction, sales, and inventory-planning.

Favourup: Based in the UK, this company calls itself a geo-targeting advocacy platform which aims to help fashion, retail, and travel brands to create location-driven user generated content for each market, with real-time insights down to a postcode level.

Immersive Virtual Apparel: This German business-to-business marketplace enables gaming companies to incorporate fashion skins and digital personas into games and virtual worlds.

M-XR: A 3D capture technology business from the UK, which allows brands, studios, and creators to digitise their real-world product catalogues accurately and automatically.

Newlife: From the Czech Republic, this company calls itself a decentralised social network designed to aggregate cultural innovators and produce the largest dataset for design and aesthetics trends.

StyleScript: Netherlands-based, this start-up creates personal profiles of customers and aims to match them up with the right products based on those profiles.

Supply Compass: Another UK company, and one that describes itself as a product development and production management platform enabling fashion brands and manufacturers to produce better, together.

Whoqip: A German connected store solution provider, which aims to link up retailers with customers across channels in real-time, and speed up the purchase journey.

David Grunwald, vice president of innovation at Farfetch, remarked: "These companies all have business models focused on the digitisation of commerce across various industries, which will be more relevant than ever now, and for a post-Covid world."

Dream Assembly 4 will offer participants masterclasses, and one-to-one sessions with senior leaders from Farfetch and partners, covering topics including luxury fashion, marketing, technology, and operations. The aim is to give start-ups direct access to Farfetch’s knowhow in the luxury fashion and technology industries, and provide them with introductions to external investors and luxury brands.

Cipriano Sousa, Farfetch’s CTO, added: "In these extraordinary times, Farfetch wants to keep supporting the community with this amazing programme, sharing know-how, tools, and expertise to help the start-ups reach their full potential and ultimately helping them increase efficiencies in their current business models.”

Burberry, which itself has a strategic global supply chain collaboration with Farfetch, returns as a partner for Dream Assembly for the fourth time.

Launched two years ago, in April 2018, Dream Assembly has now helped accelerate 60 start-ups thanks to the three completed programmes to date and other inititaives.