5 retail-facing startups who crushed it at NRF 2021

Date Updated: Thursday, February 4, 2021

First order of business for Microsoft for Startups in 2021 was the annual event for the National Retail Federation. NRF 2021 Chapter One was an entirely virtual affair spread over several days in January. The move to virtual gave the whole show a little more room to breathe than normal and it seems to have paid off in terms of engagement and participation satisfaction.

We first previewed the event with one of our in-program startups, Uncrowd, where CEO Richard Hammond returned to write a guest blog for us about his year since the last NRF show.

We also showcased some of the great retail-facing startups we are proud to work with when our own Tom Davis wrote about maintaining focus ahead of the event launch.

One day before the show began in earnest Microsoft hosted an opening event for five of our in-program startups where they had the opportunity to interact with and demo solutions for some of the biggest names in retail. Right after the main session, we hosted breakout rooms so that the conversations could continue and so far we estimate that around 10 new opportunities were created for these Microsoft for Startups portfolio stars.

A real highlight of the show itself was the virtual round table that Microsoft for Startups hosted with:

The live session was watched by retailers from a range of industries and the recorded version of the session remains available for all attendees of NRF 2021.

Our moderated panel shared how each of their solutions is serving retailers including how they have adapted their solutions to serve retailers in a pandemic challenged market. Our panelists also indulged in some fascinating speculation about what the immediate future holds for the retail vertical.

Coming Soon

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As a follow up to NRF 2021, Microsoft for Startups is delighted to be partnering with M12 to host the Retail Innovation Forum on Thursday, February 11 at 9:00 am PST. The 90-minute forum will act as a virtual showcase for disruptive retail startups in Microsoft for Startups’ and M12’s portfolios. We’re turning the spotlight on 16 different startups and giving them a platform to present and demo their retail-focused solutions. Attendees will be able to breakout rooms to learn more aligned to particular types of solution.

This represents a real opportunity for companies to fast-track their evaluation of technology solutions to meet innovation and adoption goals. Customers can request 1:1 meetings through the live survey tool and moderators will create same-day meetings following the session.

You can reserve your spot today at the Retail Innovation Forum to ensure you don’t miss out on this opportunity have meaningful, direct conversations with the leading startups in the retail space.

Click here to sign up now for the Retail Innovation Forum.

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