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M&S partners with Founders Factory to find tech start-ups

Marks & Spencer has announced a joint venture with Founders Factory, in order to access the latest technologies from small-scale start-up companies.

M&S has become the start-up accelerator’s exclusive UK retail partner, through which it will invest in a number of start-ups in Founders Factory’s global network. As part of the deal, M&S will become a majority shareholder, building a portfolio of investments in start-ups.

“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,” explained M&S CEO Steve Rowe.

“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.”

Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Founders Factor and Lastminute.com, added: “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.”

Investing in start-ups is a new move by M&S as part of its transformation plan, but other retailers have realised the potential of start-ups for many years already, with John Lewis known for its JLab accelerator and Asos only last month partnering with an Israeli innovation hub in a bid to find innovative companies.