Innovation

Walmart Announces Nationwide Virtual Commerce Competition

Walmart has announced a nationwide competition for developers who create new virtual reality (VR) solutions that can change the way people shop and live.

According to Chain Store Age, Walmart’s technology incubator — Store No. 8 — is partnering with Thrive Global and Accenture to create a nationwide competition for developers. The contest, called Innov8: V-commerce, invites startups to submit ideas that have the potential to change the way people shop and live.

Winners will receive capital to fund development costs, as well as strategic advice. In addition, there will be an opportunity to work with Walmart, Jet.com, Thrive Global and other retail partners, and the most innovative experiences will be showcased at an exhibition in Los Angeles on Oct. 18.

According to a press release, the exhibition will highlight the most innovative companies in virtual reality and commerce, allowing them to interact and present their ideas to today’s leading brands and influencers. Exhibitors should submit ideas for the next generation of immersive technologies to create a consumer experience that makes shopping more mindful, more human, less stressful and more enjoyable.

“Virtual reality creates a presence, a mindfulness, that nothing else today can. We are looking to leverage virtual reality to drastically enhance the way people shop. 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.

Along with Finnegan, Innov8’s board will include Seth Beal, principal of Store No 8;  and Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce and founder and CEO of jet.com. It will also 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,” Finnegan said. “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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