Walmart’s tech incubator holds virtual commerce contest

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart’s technology incubator — called Store No. 8 — is on the hunt for cutting edge virtual reality (VR) solutions.

In an effort to uncover new VR applications — and innovative ways to apply the technology to commerce — Walmart’s Store No. 8 is partnering with Thrive Global and Accenture to create a nationwide competition for developers. Called Innov8: V-commerce, the contest invites start-up companies to submit ideas that have the potential to change the way people shop and live, according to Walmart.

Selected winners will receive capital to fund development costs and strategic advice during incubation of their concept, along with an opportunity to work with Walmart, Jet.com, Thrive Global and other retail partners. The most innovative experiences will be showcased at an exhibition in Los Angeles on October 18.

Innov8’s board will include Katie Finnegan and Seth Beal, Principals of Store No 8; and Marc Lore, president and CEO, Walmart U.S. e-commerce and founder and CEO, jet.com. It also will include Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global; and executives from Accenture Labs, Forerunner Ventures, and the Virtual Reality Fund.

“Our first step is to identify the most innovative companies and minds in the space to help us on this mission,” said Katie Finnegan, principal of Store No 8. “Innov8 will further define the future of commerce by inspiring and driving growth in the underlying ecosystem of technologies needed to bring shopping into the era of virtual experiences.”

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