Dubai-based Chalhoub Group launches ‘Greenhouse’, a space and accelerator, as part of its digital transformation push

Chalhoub Group, one of the biggest names in luxury retail across the region, has announced the launch of Greenhouse, a space and accelerator, as part of its digital transformation push. The group that is retail partner of brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Lanvin, Swarovski, Lacoste, Puig, Make Up for Ever, and Smashbox for Middle East, had launched its 900-day plan for digital and cultural transformation in the company earlier this year, to turn itself from a traditional distributor to a hybrid retailer.

Greenhouse is one of the core elements of company’s transformation plans. Apart from having a very cool space and an acceleration program for retail startups, it also includes Ibtikar, Chalhoub’s internal incubator that offers an opportunity to any employee to lead and develop a business idea related to the company’s grand vision. According to the statement, Ibtikar is already into its second group of intrapreneurs, who are provided with dedicated time and funding to test and prove their ideas. These employees also receive training programs and mentorship as part of the program.

The accelerator will run a three-month program focused on retail-tech startups who will receive $20,000 as grant. But more importantly, they will be offered with market access and retail expertise through the Group’s partnerships with over 300 brands, more than 600 retail outlets and in-depth regional coverage of 14 countries.

Greenhouse already has five startups with them since September, taking part in the program.

Amsterdam-based StoreDNA provides actionable insights to help retailer optimize their store’s traffic, conversion, revenue, and inventories. The startup uses intelligent in-store technologies and existing infrastructure, collecting customer behavioral data and blending it with store economics.

Finnish startup SizeMe is a fitting and sizing service for clothes and shoes. It can be integrated into an existing online store and recommend the best fitting size using the customer’s personal measurements and the measurements of the fitted garment.

China’s EuroPass has developed a mobile payment solution for the retail network in Europe that allows Chinese travelers shop with their preferred payment methods, AliPay and WeChatPay. The startup also supports organizations in reaching a qualified traffic of followers on Chinese social networks, where it promotes the brands and products to attract Chinese visitors in stores.

Phygitalmind is an Istanbul-based SaaS startup that digitizes in-store retail processes to maximize growth, profitability and customer engagement. Their products are either designed for self-service use of shoppers, for store associates, or for the teams at HQ.

Brandquad is a Russian digital collaboration platform for retailers and brands that allow them to centralize all the data about products, enrich it, transform it, and then easily export it, however, each channel/distributor/retailer or system needs.

The group hopes to infuse entrepreneurial culture beyond Greenhouse through the interaction with startups, helping the group’s digital transformation.  “The Greenhouse will be a tangible element of the transformation; embodying principles of starting small, failing fast or scaling fast. It will also help us stay on top of all the latest retail-tech trends; positioning the Group as a magnet for innovative startups, as well as attracting high potential talent.” noted Dina Sidani, Head of Greenhouse.

“At Chalhoub Group, we consider startups as our allies and we want to offer them a working space, mentorship and a ground to scale-up their ideas. The Greenhouse is a unique opportunity for tech companies and startups from all over the world to implement and test their solutions with the leading retailer of luxury in the Middle East. I am a strong believer that it’s our responsibility to support the next generation of entrepreneurs, to help them succeed and contribute to the economy. The Greenhouse is an exceptional program to accelerate the right solutions in building a future-proof Group.” commented Patrick Chalhoub, co-CEO of Chalhoub Group.

The space is located in Dubai Design District and apart from hosting the startups participating in its acceleration program and the intrapreneurs of its internal incubator Ibtikar, Greenhouse will also organize different events that will feature founder stories, workshops, hackathons and training sessions for Chalhoub team members and selected partners across the community.

The startup taking part in its acceleration program will get to work closely with brands and business units to enhance the in-store experience, optimizing backend operations and improving in-store analytics with real-time performance.

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