Marks & Spencer is to partner with start-up investment firm Founders Factory on a new joint venture focused on discovering and developing start-ups.
Founders Factory works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to invest and grow start-up companies. The firm invests in 35 start-ups per year, and has backed 60 companies to date.
M&S will become the exclusive retail partner for Founders Factory and invest in a number of start-ups sourced via the firm’s global network, giving the retailer access to cutting-edge technologies.
M&S will become the majority shareholder within the joint venture, called Founders Factory Retail.
Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S, said: “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.
“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.”
According to M&S, the launch of Founders Factory Retail will bolster the transformation of the retailer, which is aiming to place digital technology at the heart of the business.
Brent Hoberman, co-founder and executive chairman, Founders Factory said: “After over 60 investments in the last two years we have seen the huge potential of combining startup innovation with corporate scale and expertise, and so we are excited by this new chapter in a sector that is changing rapidly through technology.”