M&S’s Ignite team – the home of open innovation at M&S – is looking for ideas and technologies that can encourage more sustainable behaviours amongst its customers, as well as solutions that can help M&S achieve further efficiencies in its agricultural supply chains.
Grosvenor has launched an innovation challenge seeking to discover new technologies and partners that are putting customer experience at the heart of bricks and mortar retail.
As the price of materials, energy and products soar, it's tempting for retailers and brands to discount to keep their customers, whose disposable income continues to shrink. For many brands the urge to discount, if not well thought through, can be damaging to your brand and easily spiral in a race to the bottom. In this piece we take a look at how businesses can lean into strategic partnerships, innovative tech platforms and other ways to creatively keep your customers.
NFTs (and applications utilising blockchain technology more broadly) are coming under increasing scrutiny for their impact on the planet, and for good reason. The blockchain technology which enables the creation and trade of digital assets is environmentally damaging due to the ‘mining’ processes required to certify transactions, which use a LOT of power. Having said this NFTs certainly don’t have to be entirely at odds with ESG considerations.
For the past two years most of our community interactions have been virtual – but none were quite like the event we hosted at the end of 2021. We jumped into the Metaverse with our guests to take them around a ‘Truetopia’ of virtual shops, streets and leisure spots as our avatars got together in the virtual auditorium, to discuss realistic opportunities for brands and retailers in our community.
The Metaverse has well and truly landed. All things 'metaverse' have reached fever pitch since Facebook's rebranding to Meta. The October 2021 announcement not only set out a vision for what a fully immersive digital world powered by VR would look like for the company's 2.89 billion monthly active users, but also confirmed a colossal investment in making this a reality – $10 billion this year alone. Since then, everyone's been talking about it.
We have been immersed in the virtual world and metaverse for quite some time but the landscape is still evolving and we're still learning. We've done some of the hard work so you don't have to by putting together a glossary of terms that might help unravel the mystery of the metaverse.
Shell’s latest Innovation Challenge with True aims to find the most exciting businesses and ideas to help its 45,000 forecourts improve their water efficiency.
Johnson & Johnson has chosen to work with True to run its LaunchPad process, using its own international network of startups and investors to identify and filter market-leading solutions capable of adding value to one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies.
True co-hosted a consumer and retail trade mission to New York in collaboration with the UK Department for International Trade. Hoxton Analytics, Localistico, Mishipay, Spirable, ADAY, All Shades Covered, Placed and VITL all took part representing the breadth of businesses we invest in.
Here at True we're fortunate to witness the innovation activities of a wide range of players from early-stage brands through to emergent, scaling operators all the way to some of the largest global businesses. In addition to ongoing, organic innovation we are increasingly seeing a trend towards acquisition as a means for larger companies to expand their capabilities and reach. Here Matt investigates why more businesses are turning to investment to innovate.
Giles Humphries, CMO and Co-founder of health-focused food box, Mindful Chef, talks to Rich about how he and his Co-founder built their business to put purpose, people and planet at the heart of their operations. Giles also shares his founder journey from the early stages through to its acquisition by Nestle and discusses some of the challenges faced during the pandemic, which included how to deal with a trebling of demand over a very short period.
With an increased awareness among consumers of the impact a meat-free diet can have on climate change and the environment, allplants has put plant-based eating at the heart of their business. Hear how Jonathan (JP) has built his business to harness not only the vegan target market, but the thousands of consumers who are looking to put plants at the heart of their diet, whether that is for their own health reasons, or for the health of the environment.
Alison Hutchinson CBE, Founder & CEO of Pennies, the UK's leading fintech charity, speaks to Rich about the charity's unique model and challenges in funding the development of such an innovative platform. They discuss everything from having to create a complicated payments platform, with a lean team, through to the huge impact retailers and brands can make to their nominated charities through the micro-donations platform.
How do you level the playing field between the sexes in male-dominated sports? If you were brave you could start by setting up a new all-female motor sport business and race series. This is exactly what Catherine Bond Muir has done with the single-seater W-Series. Catherine speaks to Rich about the commercial challenges of setting up such an expensive sport and fundraising more generally, while driver Powell talks to Rich about her role as an influencer in supporting and growing the series.
True acquired sustainable kidswear brand Frugi in 2018. Nine months on, Rich Anson catches up with Frugi’s Co-founder Lucy Jewson and True’s Co-founder Paul Cocker about why Lucy and her husband – a couple with a passion for the planet – decided True would be the right investor to work with as they grow their company the responsible way.
Ribble Cycles is a bike brand to be passionate about, and the company has rewarded our own faith with superb performance since we acquired it in November 2015. True brought in CEO Andy Smallwood, formerly of Boardman Bikes, to help support the growth and transformation of the brand. The results of the rebrand have been phenomenal, with sales growing 50% year-on-year and a significant increase in the average selling price of each bike, reflecting the increasingly aspirational nature of the brand.
True invested in the game-changing beauty brand War Paint in 2020, following a period of massive growth for the company. Founder of War Paint, Danny Gray, talks to Rich about how he used his experience as a teenager to build a successful business in one of the fastest growing sectors of the beauty industry.
An exciting new chapter for The Cotswold Company begins, as True appoints Ralph Tucker as CEO of the business, charged with driving the next stage of growth. The Cotswold Company, a leading online furniture retailer and a True portfolio company, specialises in oak, pine and painted furniture and also sells through its showrooms in Stow-on-the-Wold, Chelmsford, Norwich, Godalming and Harrogate.
Following a year of rapid acceleration in digital adoption – to coin a Bezos phrase – many brands and retailers are looking at how, using technology, they can turn cost centres into profit centres, a practise that we, at True, love.
Not a day seems to go by that a New ‘Quick’ grocery operator doesn't raise funds - launching in a new country or forming a new partnership. In just the past few weeks Berlin-based Gorillas has raised $1bn, and launched a partnership with Tesco.
Consumer specialists True scale their investment and innovation firm to more than £600m AUM in just five years – with the Covid downturn proving to be no barrier to performance.
Walgreens, America’s best-loved pharmacy, health and beauty company, today announced two innovation challenges in collaboration with True, as part of its ongoing mission to offer the best variety of accessible omnichannel services and products for its customer-base.
On 10th October, leaders and innovators from across our Live Network gathered at Sea Containers, London to exchange ideas with the innovators and leaders making waves in the retail and consumer industries. Fever-Tree‘s CEO and co-founder, Tim Warrillow, delivered the keynote, while the founders from the latest startups to join our network, Klydo and Stitched, completed the line-up.
In 2018, True hosted its inaugural Cycle Challenge in Mallorca – helping to bring the annual fundraising total for our charitable partner Tommy's to more than £125,000.