Could these five start-ups “revamp” the UK’s retail industry?

Government-backed Innovate UK has revealed winners of its £175,000 Future Retail competition with start-ups in bespoke eyewear and food waste

A made-to-measure glasses business and a food waste specialist are among five UK start-ups that have been dubbed the ‘future of retail’ after winning Innovate UK’s – the government-backed agency – latest IC Tomorrow competition.

The competition, announced in January of this year, has awarded each start-up a share of £175,000 for coming up with “pioneering” technologies that can help advance and “revamp” the retail sector.

Each of the businesses will now get to to trial their technology with brands and organisations such as Tesco, Unilever and Barclays and will retain 100% of their intellectual property (IP). Product trials are expected to commence in 2017.

The five winning start-ups are as follows:

  • Thaw Technology: New ways to fight food waste – will partner with Tesco and WRAP to roll out its ‘Use-By-Mate’ technology
  • Cephalometrics: Has created an eyewear design which can be sued to make made-to-measure spectacles – will be partnered with the London College of Fashion, UAL
  • Action Artificial Intelligence: Has devised an artificial intelligence system (AI) that allows users to order products 10 times fast there usual – will partner with Unilever
  • Rewarding Visits Ltd: Has built software that can help customers book personal banking appointments remotely – will partner with Barclays
  • Proxama: Has designed a mobile app that uses beacon technology (similar to the iBeacon) to help consumers and traders – will partner with the Greater London Authority

Innovate UK’s Matt Sansam commented on the winners:

“Consumers increasingly want more from their shopping experience and digital solutions are a key way for the industry to give consumers what they want. Each of the five winners demonstrates how new innovative technologies can be used to deliver positive interactions between the consumer and the retail industry.”

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