Żabka Group supports startups and seeks innovative solutions
The Żabka Group wants to build partnerships for positive change and support innovation and is therefore actively looking for cooperation with entities offering solutions supporting the transformation of the convenience ecosystem. It does this through Venture Studio, a unit that searches for startups based on current business needs but also based on consumer trends and insights. This is supported by the acceleration programs Foodtech Lab, Startup Impact Program, and Żabka Future Lab, the second edition of which has just started.
– The Żabka Group is working with startups that create innovative solutions for retail trade, especially in the areas of e-commerce, q-commerce, and Direct to Consumer (D2C). To reach the widest possible range of innovators, we have joined forces with local startup organizations and international accelerator programs. We have also created three proprietary programs: Żabka Future Lab for startups creating solutions of the future, Startup Impact Program for startups of positive impact, and Foodtech Lab for startups creating innovations in the area of food – says Karol Gajewicz, Head of Venture Studio, Żabka Group.
Thanks to the strength of the convenience ecosystem it creates, the Żabka Group offers young businesses the opportunity to deploy a product or solution on a large scale. In 2022, the Venture Studio team analyzed 1,335 startup applications, met more than 100 entities, and invited 13 of them to pilot a product or solution.
– By mapping innovations in the Żabka Group through Venture Studio, we identify challenges that individual business areas face. In this way, we identify priority directions to the search for solutions on the market, in the spirit of open innovation. When choosing startups, we are guided by their alignment with our strategy and potential for development, taking into account market trends– stresses Karol Gajewicz.
For the best startups that the Group invites to cooperate, there will be consumer tests, commercial piloting, and even financial support for further development. In addition, startups can count on access to a sensory laboratory, expert support, and numerous opportunities to establish relationships crucial for business development. The invitation to further cooperation by Venture Studio means for startups the opportunity to cooperate with all entities of the Żabka Group and the opportunity to test their solutions in the fastest-growing chain of convenience stores in Poland.
Last year Venture Studio carried out 4 acceleration programs, each aimed at a different group of young enterprises – including Żabka Future Lab, Foodtech Lab, and as many as 2 editions of the Startup Impact Program
Żabka Future Lab
On February 6, the 2nd edition of Żabka Future Lab was launched – the flagship acceleration program of the Żabka Group, which seeks innovative companies that will help develop the convenience ecosystem, offer new services to customers, improve logistics, optimize operations, and contribute to the transformation of the Group into a global leader in the retail industry.
The startups selected as part of the Żabka Future Lab have a chance to test their products and services not only in over 9 thousand stores of the chain, including the autonomous Żabka Nano outlets but also in logistics centers. They can also access the infrastructure of the Group’s partners.
Among the winners of the 1st edition of the Żabka Future Lab program is Virbe – a platform that allows creating of interactive 3D avatars and using them in customer service. Żabka tests them in the Żabka Nano autonomous stores to make shopping easier and bring customer experience to a new level.
Startup Impact Program
Big changes consist of small decisions made daily. That is why the Żabka Group, through Venture Studio, is also actively looking for startups working on solutions that help consumers change their daily shopping habits for the better for themselves and the Earth. This purpose is served by the Startup Impact Program. The Group carries out it together with Kozminski Business Hub – an organization dedicated to searching for and supporting startups at Kozminski Academy. The program is aimed at young companies whose goal is to have a positive impact on the environment, i.e. those working in ecology, health, or entrepreneurship. So far, KBH and Grupa Żabka have jointly implemented 2 editions of the program.
Startups with solutions in four areas can participate in the Startup Impact Program: reducing the environmental footprint, future packaging, developing entrepreneurship, and welfare and equal opportunities. The winning projects in the 2nd edition of the competition are: the development of technology for fast cooling of beverages without the use of electricity (E-ice), the production of biopolymers (Seasoil), and the development of intelligent composters suitable for use in urban and even office environments (Vermico).
The Żabka Group also wants to give young entrepreneurs the chance to develop together innovative food products that can help consumers make informed choices about good nutrition and sustainable lifestyles. The Foodtech Lab acceleration program, the first edition of which was launched in October last year, serves this purpose.
The project targets startups from all over Europe. It has been approached by solutions providers in areas such as innovative food products, alternative sources of protein, functional foods, or solutions supporting recycling and reuse.
140 startups from 20 countries participated in the 1st edition of Foodtech Lab. Among the winners were: SERio Vegetable cheese – vegan cheese with lupine, BIO COOLS – cryogenic, vegan ice cream, NewGranny – functional coffee drinks with high protein content, Small Giants – protein, healthy snacks with insects and Fermentful – plant kefir taking care of the proper intestinal flora. The winning startups will be able to implement their solutions in the Żabka Group ecosystem.
For its search for innovation and contribution to the development of the Polish startup system, the Żabka Group was awarded in the second edition of the ranking of “CREATORS OF THE POLISH STARTUP SCENE”, created by MamStartup in cooperation with PFR Ventures. The Group was awarded a prize in the category “Organizations and Innovation”, and the judges appreciated it for its strategy of supporting home startups through acceleration programs.