Ahold Delhaize, Tesco, Woolworths, Sobeys And Shoprite Team Up On Collaborative Retail Venture

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Ahold Delhaize, Tesco, Woolworths, Sobeys And Shoprite Team Up On Collaborative Retail Venture

Five leading international retailers, including Ahold Delhaize, Tesco, Woolworths Group, Empire Company Ltd/Sobeys Inc. and Shoprite Group have teamed up to establish W23 Global, a collaborative venture capital fund.

Through W23 Global, the retailers will invest some $125 million (€116 million) over the next five years in tech-based start-ups and scale-ups that are seek to 'enhance customer experiences, transform the grocery value chain and address the sector’s sustainability challenges'.

Each retailer is an equal funder and partner in the VC fund, with the CEOs of each sitting on the investment committee.

Importance Of Innovation

“At a time when innovation is reshaping retail and value chains across the economy, we aim to offer our investors incomparable access to transformative innovation in grocery and sustainability across the globe," commented W23 global CEO and chief investment officer Ingrid Maes. “W23 Global will also work with its investors to identify common unaddressed challenges and identify entrepreneurs best placed to innovate new solutions.

“Our ambition is to offer our portfolio companies faster pathways to global scale, without being exposed to a venture fund anchored by a single strategic investor."


According to a statement issued by the fund, W23 Global will complement its partners’ continuing direct innovation and investment strategies. The fund’s portfolio companies will be free to contract with any customer, whether a W23 Global partner or otherwise, on whatever terms they decide.

Enhanced Efforts

Commenting on the fund's future activities, Ahold Delhaize CEO, Frans Muller said that the retailer was looking forward to "enhancing our efforts by partnering with other industry leaders and maximise our collective impact. Together with best-in-class start-ups and scale-ups, we strongly believe we can further drive retail innovation, foster sustainability, and deliver greater value to communities worldwide".

Elsewhere, Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy said that the retailer was "excited to be collaborating with four other leading grocery retailers" in the investment fund.

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