Latest Rounds of Target Accelerator Programs Get Underway
Mentors and startups participate in a discussion during a Target accelerator program event. (Photo courtesy of Target).

Latest Rounds of Target Accelerator Programs Get Underway

Eight mission-driven companies have begun their cohort of Target's latest program, the Target Incubator, while nine are set to begin the Metro Target Retail Accelerator, recently renamed and revamped from what was Target + Techstars.

For three years, Target has been helping grow startup companies through various accelerator programs. Currently, the portfolio includes six offerings: Target Takeoff, Target Incubator, the METRO Target Retail Accelerator, Certified by Techstars, and the Target Accelerator Program.

“Working with startups gives Target the opportunity to consider testing outside innovations that might someday help us enhance our assortment and guest experiences,” read a company statement. “In exchange, the startups get access to many of our resources—including mentorship, expertise and programming to help them ultimately learn how to scale their business to reach mass retail.”

Two programs which recently kicked off their latest rounds of cohorts are Target Incubator—the Minneapolis-based retailer’s newest accelerator—and the Metro Target Retail accelerator, recently renamed following a partnership development.

Target Incubator focuses on helping novice, young entrepreneurs further their business ideas, while the Metro Target Retail Accelerator focuses on retail startups in any and all stages of development.

Target just announced the eight companies participating in the current Target Incubator cohort. They were selected from a pool of applicants whose businesses are mission-driven—that revolved around improving the planet or sociocultural conditions.

The chosen cohort includes:  

Blue Mangoes

  • Wisconsin-based.
  • Blue Mangoes partners with rural women farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean to create dried fruits. They aim to eliminate food waste through preservation while uplifting women.


  • Based in New York City.
  • Dressmate is a platform through which college students can rent clothing to one another. The goal is to embrace sustainability and take the waste out of shopping.


  • Based in Washington, D.C.
  • KnoNap created a cocktail napkin that can test drinks for date-rape drugs. If there is a drug, the color of the napkin will change.

Mickey’s Mission

  • Based in Buffalo, New York.
  • Mickey’s Mission produces custom dolls which are intended to highlight children who are typically underrepresented in the doll industry. Customers can choose the skin color, hair color and length, eye color, prostheses, scars and other characteristics.

Pulp Pantry

  • Based in Los Angeles.
  • Pulp Pantry is a sustainable food company that repurposes juice pulp to make other foods, including grain-free granola and chips.


  • Based in San Francisco.
  • Symba is an all-female tech startup that helps companies employ short-term talent. Symba helps design to welcome and train employees, manage projects, engage and provide feedback.


  • Based in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Terravive creates products and packaging that are biodegradable, plant-based and compostable. Products include, straws, silverware, bags, and cups, among others.

Trill Project

  • Based in Los Angeles.
  • Trill Project is an anonymous social network where users can express themselves freely. The app is intended to help those who are dealing with tough personal issues.

Meanwhile, with Target Incubator’s latest cohort already underway, the latest cohort of the Metro Target Retail Accelerator is set to begin their program later this week. The program was founded in 2016 and has since helped nearly 30 startups progress their business.

In December it was announced that for the first time, the Metro program would go global, as Target teamed up with German retailer Metro Ag to revamp the retail accelerator that was formerly known as “Target + Techstars.” The name change came when Metro Ag was brought in, with the idea of the partnership being to attract more startup applicants from around the world.

Participating startups will receive up to $120,000 in initial investment, as well as intensive mentorship from Target and Metro leaders, and development sessions will focus on taking an idea from concept to market and crafting compelling pitches to aid in fundraising and business development.

The businesses chosen to participate in the upcoming Metro Retail accelerator cohort are:

Afresh Technologies

  • Based in San Francisco.
  • Afresh Technologies is a fresh-food-first supply chain company. They use artificial intelligence to help retailers reduce waste by tracking perishability.


  • Based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • LISNR enables fast and secure communication between devices via speakers and microphones. The technology aims to power transactions for merchants.


  • Based in New York.
  • Perksy is a consumer platform that rewards users for answering brand questions. It allows customers to research brands and products.


  • Minneapolis-based.
  • Sezzle is a payment platform that allows online shoppers to “Shop Now, Pay Later.” Payments are made through an interest-free installment plan. The company recently raised $5.6 million toward a $6 million goal and reportedly plans to list on the Australian Securities Exchange later this year.


  • Based in Austin, Texas.
  • Shelfbucks offers tracking of ongoing daily performance of in-store display promotions and tracking of inventory to the sales floor. It offers transparency to retailers and supplier partners through Internet of Things software.


  • Based in Israel.
  • CB4 uses point-of-sale data to detect operational issues in store that could be affecting items with high demand. The software is intended to help prevent a loss of sales.


  • Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Einride is a transportation service that uses all-electric, autonomous vehicles. The company wants to transform the transportation industry through modern technology.


  • Based in Munich, Germany.
  • IDEE offers identification processes that are secure and convenient for businesses and customers. The company creates password-less identities to help customers avoid online scams.


  • Based in Paris, France.
  • UntieNots offers a targeted loyalty program for companies. It provides personalized promotions specific to a customer.

Related Stories