Walmart Inc. on Monday said it has named Scott Eckert as senior vice president Next Generation Retail and principal of Store No. 8, the retail giant’s start-up incubator, which has been able to turn several innovative ideas into viable businesses and build them at scale within large organizations or as stand-alone entities.
Scott was previously executive in residence at Bain Capital Ventures, where he was responsible for evaluating potential new investments and advising chief executive officers of existing portfolio companies.
Eckert succeeds Lori Flees, who in addition to heading Store No. 8, was senior vice president of health and wellness at Walmart’s Sam’s Club division. Flees is reportedly devoting all of her time to her Sam’s Club responsibilities.
Marc Lore, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S. e-commerce, announced Scott’s appointment in a memo to associates. “Scott’s background as a global technology executive make him a perfect fit to lead Store No. 8 and its mission of incubating technologies that can transform the future of retail,” Lore said. “His start-up mentality and ability to lead in emerging categories will help fuel Store No. 8 as we continue to dream big…and develop next-gen capabilities to serve customers.”
“As someone who has spent the past 20 years working with entrepreneurs or as an entrepreneur, new business creation is a core part of my DNA,” Eckert said. “For any entrepreneur excited to create new ways to serve customers, there’s no better place to start a business and have impact at scale than Walmart.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with other entrepreneurs in a vibrant start-up ecosystem, helping them navigate the complexity of creating and building something that matters,” Eckert continued. “That’s what we’re doing at Store No. 8 and I’m delighted to be part of it.”
Prior to joining Bain, Scott was president and ceo of Rethink Robotics and led the company from the pre-product, start-up stage through several rounds of venture financing, global expansion and revenue increases. Earlier, Scott was cofounder and ceo of Motion Computing, a provider of tablet and PC solutions for vertical markets, and as founder and general manager of Dell’s worldwide e-commerce business in the early days of the Internet revolution.
Store No. 8’s portfolio companies include Jetblack, Spatial& and IRL. Members-only shopping over text message service Jetblack finished its Beta test phase and has launched in Manhattan. Jet Black, Store No. 8’s first portfolio company, is run by Jenny Fleiss, cofounder of Rent the Runway.
Store No. 8 in 2017 held Innov8, an open call to the virtual reality community, where Spatial& responded. Spatial& was subsequently acquired by Store No. 8, becoming the second company in its portfolio. Katie Finnegan, cofounder and ceo of Spatial&, has been working on v-commerce and pushing the boundaries of VR with a focus on creating immersive retail experiences.
Intelligent Retail Lab located at Walmart’s Neighborhood Market in Levittown, N.Y., has Store No. 8’s imprint all over it. Walmart claims it’s the only retail Artificial Intelligence Lab operating in a real-life setting, with AI-powered services and experiences. IRL has information hubs, interactive displays and an on-site data processing center that’s fully visible to shoppers.