In a move that will help Ahold keep a close eye on innovations in e-commerce, the retailer has entered into a three-year partnership with Netherlands-based startup accelerator Startupbootcamp.
Being involved with Startupbootcamp will enable Ahold to witness e-commerce trends and innovations at their origin and get to know promising startups, the company said in a release. In exchange, program participants will benefit from Ahold’s experience as a retailer with a history of innovations spanning almost 130 years.
Ahold’s business includes several e-commerce front runners — some of which began as startups. In the Netherlands, Albert Heijn started experimenting with home delivery in 1987 with a service called James Telesuper. Today, Albert Heijn Online is the largest online supermarket in the Netherlands. U.S. Internet grocer Peapod, part of Ahold since 2001, started out in 1989 as the first pure e-commerce company in the world. Bol.com has grown into the largest online general merchandise retailer in the Netherlands since its inception as an online bookstore in 1999.
“We are excited to be partnering with Startupbootcamp E-commerce. With their creativity and flexibility, Startupbootcamp's young companies are quick to spot what consumers and companies need, while they are also able to commercialize innovations very rapidly,” Hanneke Faber, Ahold’s chief commercial responsible for online activities and innovation, said in a statement. “With those qualities, they can inspire Ahold to develop further as an omnichannel retailer. At the same time, our mentors will help promising start-ups with a wealth of experience in the areas of both e-commerce and traditional retail.”
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Patrick de Zeeuw, co-founder of Startupbootcamp, said, “Ahold is a great company that has offered young companies like Peapod and bol.com the opportunity to blossom. This makes it an inspiring example for our participants. The startups can sharpen and grow their businesses, and Ahold can stay close to the startup-ecosystem.”
The first 10 companies selected for Startupbootcamp E-commerce originate from Portugal, the Netherlands, Israel, the Czech Republic, Greece and the U.K. Ahold is providing mentors, with different areas of expertise, from Albert Heijn and bol.com.
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