The firm became the first accelerator of a fashion firm in Spain. They will seek to improve service and supply chain.
The Desigual textile group has just become the first Spanish fashion company to launch its own startup accelerator: Awesome Lab. According to information from Expansión de España, with this the company intends to promote the development of technological solutions to face the main challenges of the industry.
The firm has defined five areas of interest to develop with its project: customer experience, sustainability, supply chain, talent and business intelligence and data analytics. For that they have selected Plug and Play as a partner, one of the main open innovation platforms that was an investor in companies such as Dropbox and PayPal.
Desigual will allocate about US $ 1.18 million to start up the accelerator and, in addition, it plans to invest about US $ 17.7 million in the next three years in some of the startups that are part of Awesome Lab.
“The project responds to a new way of facing innovation and a more open vision of the company that seeks to enhance collaboration as a competitive strategy. We want to improve, for example, the digital shopping experience with new virtual reality developments as avatars that show how will the garment fit you “, says Alberto Ojinaga, CEO of the firm.
The phases of the project
Awesome Lab will launch its first edition on July 20, when Plug and Play searches for startups. The process, which will run until mid-September, aims to identify 150 candidates for the program. Later, a committee that will include the founder of the fashion brand, Thomas Meyer, will reduce the figure to between five and seven projects in October.
The program will last from six to nine months in which companies will receive training and mentoring from the company and external collaborators, in addition to having access to financing or contacts to develop their project.
Desigual, in addition to participating in the most interesting ones, will also organize a Demo Day to put companies in contact with other investors.
Desigual, which has 404 stores in the world, 289 its own and 115 franchisees, closed 2020 with sales of 360 million euros, 39% less, and losses of US $ 97 million, compared to a surplus of 7.5 million in a year before. The chain points out that 2021 started “worse than expected”, with 50% of its stores closed on average until May.
The group increased its online sales by 50% in 2020 and has continued to grow 42% in this channel until May, which has skyrocketed its weight to 36% of its sales.