07 Mar 2023 13:43PM

    Żabka Group seeks innovative solutions and supports startups through acceleration programs

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    Żabka Group seeks innovative solutions and supports startups through acceleration programs

    Żabka Group, the leading Polish convenience ecosystem with nearly 3 million customers daily, is looking for startups that will help embrace positive change and foster innovation, to further transform convenience shopping. Applications are now open for Żabka Future Lab, an accelerator program for startups that want to grow with Żabka Group and test their products and services at scale, using its infrastructure and resources.

    The program is open for early-stage startups, who can help Żabka Group with enhancing its customer experience, improving the logistics, optimizing operations, and transforming it into a leading global retailer. Up to 5 startups from all around the Europe and Middle East, who will apply to the program, will take part in workshops and mentoring sessions with industry experts that will help them improve business models, learn how to communicate with potential customers or develop the right product/market fit.

    Startups will also have a chance to test their product and services at scale, within Żabka Group’s infrastructure. Being the leading convenience ecosystem in Poland, the company has over 9,000 stores, over 50 Żabka Nano autonomous stores, and over 6 million users of its mobile app. In addition, the PoC and commercial pilots can be held within logistics facilities, with Żabka Group’s partners, and even conduct sensory tests in company’s own lab.

    Żabka Future Lab is one of three acceleration programs run by Żabka Group, and an example of a whole variety of endeavours by Venture Studio, a division of Żabka Future that specifically seeks for startups and tech companies, to foster innovation that could further expand and improve the convenience ecosystem and create additional value to for Żabka Group.

    „We work closely with startups to bring innovative solutions to retail. We support companies that are designing unconventional solutions for e-commerce, q-commerce, and D2C. We share our expertise to help young entrepreneurs test their ideas, reduce the risk of failure, and bring their products to market. The work of our team is all about supporting innovators, searching for new business opportunities, and building relationships within the startup community”, says Karol Gajewicz, Head of Venture Studio.

    Venture Studio on the lookout for startups

    In 2022 alone, Venture Studio analysed applications from 1335 startups, meet with over 100 of them and invited 13 companies for the pilot program of their products or service. The team has also organised 4 acceleration programmes, aimed at working with different companies, that solve different issues. The list includes the first edition of Żabka Future Lab, Foodtech Lab aiming at fostering innovation innovation in the food industry, and 2 editions of the Startup Impact Program, seeking for startups that create a positive impact on the world around them.

    The winning projects in the 2nd edition of the Startup Impact Program are the development of energy-free fast beverage cooling (E-ice); biopolymer production (Seasoil); the development of intelligent composters suitable for use in urban and even office environments (Vermico).

    The winners of the 1st edition of Foodtech Lab include SERio Vegetable cheese – vegan cheeses made from lupin, BIO COOLS – cryogenic, vegan ice cream, NewGranny – functional coffee drinks with high protein content, Small Giants – healthy insect-based protein snacks, and Fermentful – fermented plant-based drinks for gut health.

    Startup success stories in the convenience ecosystem

    Żabka’s Venture Studio has already seen successful pilots, tests, and implementations. Including Virbe and Omniaz. 

    Virbe is a startup that creates 3D virtual assistants using conversational AI, used to help stores improve customer experience. They can be present both in digital channels as well as in physical locations, serving as brands ambassadors that are brand always available. Żabka Group tests them in the autonomous stores, to provide customers guidance and personalised product recommendations, as well as make the checkout process a breeze.

    Omniaz is an end-to-end augmented reality solution for retail, uses AR to merge online and offline shopping experience. The first pilot, conducted in 2022, resulted in an NPS of 90%. The second pilot, with a larger customer base, is planned for 2023.

    “As a technology-driven company, we’re able to quickly test and validate new ideas. And with our large-scale operations, we’re able to do it in a real environment, always listening to customer feedback. That’s how we’ve introduced new payment methods, q-commerce services, and made investments in AI. And as a result, Żabka Nano is the largest chain of autonomous stores in Europe. But innovation is a constant process, not a single project. We’re always open for bold ideas that could help us respond to consumer needs, invent new categories and stay ahead of the market”, says Karol Gajewicz.

    The applications for the 2nd edition of Żabka Future Lab program are open till the 15th March. Selected companies will take part in the acceleration from April till June. 

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