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Empire backs international grocery retail VC fund

Other partners in W23 Global include Ahold Delhaize, Tesco and Woolworths Group
Jillian Morgan, female, digital editor for Canadian Grocer
sobeys sign
W23 Global is headquartered in the U.K.

A new international venture capital fund led by major grocery retailers – including Empire Co. Ltd. – is looking to invest $125 million in businesses with potential to transform the industry.

U.K.-headquartered W23 Global says it plans to invest those funds over the next five years.

The VC will focus on companies deploying technologies to enhance customer experience, transform the grocery value chain and address the sector’s sustainability challenges

Additional partners include Ahold Delhaize (U.S., Europe, Indonesia), Tesco (U.K., Republic of Ireland, Europe), Woolworths Group (Australia, New Zealand) and Shoprite Group (Africa).  

Each retailer is an equal funder and partner, while their CEOs sit on the investment committee.

In addition to investing in early-stage businesses, W23 Global will seek out entrepreneurs to solve problems that are not currently being adequately addressed. 

"W23 is a potentially game-changing international VC fund with a powerful proposition for both our investors and portfolio companies. We aim to offer our investors incomparable access to transformative innovation in grocery and sustainability worldwide. W23 Global will work with its investors to identify common unaddressed challenges and support entrepreneurs to develop solutions, offering faster pathways to global scale for portfolio companies. With leading grocery CEOs on our investment committee, founders can rapidly develop ideas based on an accelerated understanding of retailers’ needs,” said W23 Global CEO and chief investment officer Ingrid Maes in a press release. Maes also leads Woolworths’ corporate VC fund, W23 Australia.

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