For the second year running, private equity firm True — in collaboration with the U.K. Department for International Trade (DIT) and Capital Accelerate & Scale Tech Superstars — hosted a retail technology trade mission to the U.S.
Last year’s mission is credited with generating an estimated $6.5 million in pending contracts for U.K. companies.
The latest trade mission launched Monday in Chicago and runs through today before hopping time zones to New York on Friday. Ross Allen, British director for international trade at the DIT said, “On the heels of New York Fashion Week, we’re thrilled this trade mission will be splitting time between Chicago and New York. The trade mission has really grown in size this year, highlighting the U.K.’s strength in retail tech. I look forward to watching these innovative companies grow and expand in the coming years.”
The trade mission is part of DIT’s long-term export strategy goal, which aims “to increase total [U.K.] exports as a proportion of GDP from the current 30 percent to 35 percent.”
For True, which operates “across the entire investment vertical,” the fund looks to foster British tech startups in “retail, consumer and leisure sector business models, which represent the future of the industry.” To that end, the trade mission connects the startups with companies and retailers such as 7-Eleven, TJX Cos., and Abercrombie & Fitch, which will be represented at the event along with about 20 more international leaders in consumer and retail industries. These are companies that are ever on the lookout for “transformative technologies to implement within their operations.” This year’s trade mission event brings in “15 of the U.K.’s most innovative retail and consumer technology startups” from artificial intelligence to analytics to applications development.
Mike Tattersall, True’s chief commercial officer, said this week’s mission builds on the success of last year’s event. “On this trade mission, we are aiming to make introductions that result in commercially valuable implementations of technology within some of the world’s leading retail and consumer groups. True’s model is built on delivering reciprocal advantage to everyone in our Live Network of over 5,000 global retail and consumer professionals and industry leaders — and the trade mission is an exemplary demonstration of our model in action.”
The event week also includes networking sessions organized by True and DIT, connecting participating delegates with venture capital natives of both cities. In addition, tech startups benefited from “a series of supportive sessions,” done in partnership with U.S. technology law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and organized by True, which was in advance of the trade mission, and was designed to prepare and “further refine their U.S. expansion plans and strategies.”
Daniel Glazer, who leads the U.S. expansion group of the Silicon Valley-headquartered law office, said as a firm with “a long history of supporting growth businesses, in both the U.S. and the U.K., we know there is a huge opportunity for British startups to successfully break into the U.S. market and scale quickly with the right support.”
“In collaboration with the Department for International Trade and True, the trade mission will undoubtedly provide rare opportunities for these growth businesses to build relationships with some of the world’s leading brands and we believe that through our participation we can ensure delegates maximize the opportunities open to them,” Glazer added.