The Magnit corporate accelerator, MGNTech, took place on July 8 with sixteen competing solutions reaching the final selection phase. Each startup pitched for ten minutes before receiving feedback from an expert jury comprised of Magnit representatives. The eight selected solutions will do pilot projects with the retailer over the course of the next year.
MGNTech Accelerator. Photo: Sk.ru.
Founded in 1994, Magnit is one of Russia’s largest retailers, with over 12,000 stores countrywide. Although the company is one of the dominating grocery chains, it continues to seek ways to increase its overall efficiency; the MGNTech accelerator is a tool to find companies with technologies that could help achieve such goals. The company estimates a one billion ruble (€11 million) benefit from adopting new technologies during 2021-2022.
The accelerator received 455 applications from startups in 11 countries covering three areas of focus: operations management, logistics & supply chain, and production. Out of the 455 applicants, the expert jury selected sixteen startup companies to pitch their solutions. A company does not need to be a Skolkovo resident to participate in the pitch sessions – eight participants were Skolkovo residents, while the rest were non-residents. The winning companies gain access to all the necessary resources and expertise available at Magnit and professional mentor support from Skolkovo.
Haut.AI solution for personalized cosmetic selection. Photo: Sk.ru.
Konstantin Parshin, the vice president and deputy director of the IT cluster at the Skolkovo Foundation, stated that “the first stage of the Magnit accelerator was a proposal to us to find technology projects to solve very particular issues. Consequently, we didn’t search for startups with ready solutions but teams with experience working in all three business fields. Moreover, the fields selected by MGNTech 2021 are in line with global trends – they studied innovations that leading global retailers are testing and invited leading Magnit figures working in the said fields to consider applying these innovations to their issues. As a result, global trends and the shop chain’s challenges converged.”
Evgeny Dzhamalov, the director of Innovations at Magnit, told Sk.ru that “already at the selection stage of the second MGNTech accelerator we understood that selecting the finalists would be a difficult task. Therefore, we sought out technologies that could improve current processes and develop promising areas of our business. During the winner’s selection, we paid attention to the novelty and innovativeness of the ideas. The criteria also included applicability, implementation as well as the potential benefits the to Magnit.”
Following the ten-minute pitch sessions, the expert jury made the selections and announced the winners, choosing a total of eight projects: