TrueStart, a sector specialist retail and consumer innovation hub set up by retail experts, is to officially launch next week.
TrueStart aims to connect the “next wave of disrupters” with established market leaders to give young start-ups the expertise they need and to give big businesses structured access to innovation.
It has been set up by former retail broker Matt Truman and former corporate financier Paul Cocker, and is being run by serial entrepreneur Richard Mergler.
Truman said: “We aim to put a platform in place for the development of a network of world class companies and industry stakeholders that will guide, embrace and accelerate the progress of our entrepreneurs.”
TrueStart is based at a 4,500 sq ft hub in London’s Victoria where entrepreneurs can work from, and it has also formed partnerships with businesses such as Land Securities and White & Case to provide mentors, expertise, experience and assets.
Truman said TrueStart concentrates on finding companies that can “structurally innovate the niche they inhabit, the ones that can scale in a capitally efficient manner, and the best management teams that can truly understand the competitive advantage they create”. He said businesses could range from tech companies, predictive analysis, next generation ecommerce, social commerce or an innovative new fashion brand.
TrueStart has signed its first seed investment – The Unseen, set up by alchemist Lauren Bowker. The Unseen is a materials science and design consultancy which fuses science and creativity to integrate biological, chemical and electronic elements into materials. This led to the invention of colour-change inks that can be applied to any surface, and respond to a variety of different environmental conditions including light, heat, pollution and moisture.
The invention has already been used in couture clothing collections and sculptures and has attracted interest from a range of brands.
TrueStart’s official launch is on March 5 at an event at the Phillips Gallery, whereby a series of innovation leaders from companies such as Samsung, Twitter and Featurespace will speak.
Truman said: “We want the retail community to know that to obtain structured sustainable pre-emptive access to innovation, it doesn’t have to be cost or time prohibitive. Fundamentally we are solving that problem.”