Liz Bacelar, the founder of Decoded Fashion, has a new baby called TheCurrent.
The firm’s mission is to gather retail and brand leaders around the world through an open-innovation environment to help companies cut down on their research and development costs while they discuss and create cutting-edge solutions to help firms increase sales.
Bacelar said the collaborative focus of an open-innovation environment is the best way economically for companies to track the trends and innovate together. She noted firms that have in-house incubator programs often don’t get too far due to its cost structure. “When you innovate internally, you can’t move as fast as you are [restrained] by the company’s limitations. An open-innovation [process] can filter all that is going on, and then you can act fast [on what’s important to you],” Bacelar said.
Bacelar called Decoded Fashion step one in the process, which was aimed at getting the decision-makers in the fashion, beauty and retails sectors to talk with emerging tech firms. TheCurrent represents stage two, with less of a focus on talking and more on “doing relevant things together,” she said.
Also new is an accelerator program that will be offered in September. The business model for TheCurrent has three components: Scouting for projects that match with TheCurrent’s concept of a global start-up ecosystem; acceleration programs in the U.S. and in Europe, and invitation-only events in New York, London and Milan.
Decoded Fashion was acquired by Stylus Media Group in March 2014. Bacelar transitioned to founder and president, and left a year ago. She’s since connected with H-Farm, a publicly listed firm and one of Europe’s leading innovation hubs. Bacelar and H-Farm provided funding for TheCurrent.
“H-Farm is one of the largest accelerator programs in Europe. It is based in Venice. The Silicon Valley in Italy is in Venice, not Rome,” Bacelar said. She is currently signing partners for September’s accelerator program, which will begin in New York, and then after two months move to Venice.
Bacelar is headed to Austin, Tex., for the South by Southwest conference that runs for a week starting on Friday. At SXSW, TheCurrent will kick off a Style track on Sunday with a networking event at TheCurrent Mansion that will include mentorship meetings and fireside chats. It will also host a Colab Gallery showcasing the top collaborations between fashion and technology. One interactive presentation called Innovation Game Show — specifically focusing on brand and retail trends — will include a discussion with brand executives sharing stories on how to win with open innovation.