Technology Innovation Scale

Moving Startups to Scaleups: Welcome to RetailXelerator

On behalf of the Sprosty Network, I am so pleased to announce the launch of RetailXelerator (RX).

On the road to success in the Internet of Things – where nine out of 10 sales still come through major retail – it’s not about being first to market, but first to scale. Sadly, 75 percent of startups don’t become scaleups – in many cases, because retail readiness is a very real skills gap.

RX is here to close that gap: This accelerator provides what others don’t: coaching and expertise f rom retail industry leaders, and face time with major retail decision makers. RX is the best place to get the tools, resources, mentorship, and direct retail connections that startups need to scale.

Comparison: RX vs. other startup growth channels

Incubators Angel Investors Accelerators Hybrid RX
Duration 1 to 5 years Ongoing 3 to 6 months 3 months to 2 years 12 weeks
Cohorts No No Yes No Yes
Category focus No focus Situational Seldom Seldom Yes
Business model Rent; nonprofit Investment Investment; can also be nonprofit Investment; can also be nonprofit Scaleup, warrant & cash
Selection  Non-competitive Competitive, ongoing Competitive, cyclical Competitive, ongoing Competitive by class
Venture stage Early or late Early Early Early Late/scaleup
Education Ad hoc, human resources, legal None Seminars Various incubator and accelerator practices 12-week retail graduate school
Mentorship Minimal, tactical As needed by investor Intense, by self and others Staff expert support, some mentoring Coaches, industry mentors, retailers
Venture location On-site Off-site On-site On-site Virtual, plus on-site Portfolio Day
Direct retail participation Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes
Scaleup capabilities No No Few Few Yes

Source: “What Do Accelerators Do? Insights From Incubators and Angels” by Susan Cohen, 2013; adaptations by Sprosty Network, 2016

Through RX, carefully-curated startups spend 12 weeks in a virtual course, learning the ins and outs of retail from industry heavyweights. They spend time with coaching mentors who make sure their products are ready for store and online shelves. At the end of it all, the startups pitch their products in to decision makers from the world’s retail giants – Walmart, Staples, Sears, and Verizon. These are the retailers that want to meet startups that can scale.

Thanks in part to our partners at, we launched the RX site Feb. 25, with a call for applications for the first class, focused on smart home products. We’re pleased to report that more than 200 startups applied within the first 24 hours. We are now curating the applications and inviting startups to join the first RX class – set to launch the week of April 4, 2016.

Check out the FAQs about RX, and follow us as we launch this fast pass for startups to move to scaleups with retail.

For more information:
Twitter: @retailxelerator


Post By Rick Rommel (9 Posts)

Product Development, Private Label, Merchant, Emerging Business, Consumer Electronics, Rocket Scientist (really!)

Rick serves as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s mediaX, and is a respected and entrepreneurial industry leader who has built innovative businesses in the consumer electronics, retail, and aerospace industries.

Most recently, Rick created Best Buy’s Global Private Label CE, the company’s most profitable internal start-up business. Prior to that, Rick helped lead Best Buy’s New Business Consumer Solution Group to create, incubate, and accelerate new global business opportunities.

Prior to that, Rick’s career spanned management roles in a $4B retail business; a $10M start-up; and consumer product development for Best Buy and Kodak. He has served in General Management, Product Development, Sales, IT, Business Development, Marketing and Operations roles, and began his career launching satellites at Hughes.