RILA Launches RTech Open Innovation Engine

Connecting Retailers with Solvers

Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the trade association for America’s largest and most innovative brands, launched its RTech Open Innovation (ROI) Engine. The ROI Engine is designed to connect retailers – through a newly launched RTech Innovation Network – to a diversity of innovative, entrepreneurial and creative “problem-solvers” with the goal of addressing complex business problems in a rapid, cost effective, and efficient way. 

“Retailers are learning that to solve challenges and accelerate innovation in their companies, they must look beyond traditional models and broaden their network of problem-solvers,” said Adam Siegel, senior vice president of innovation for RILA. “The ROI Engine will link retailers to a vast array of entrepreneurs, startups, innovators, technologists, students, and researchers that can quickly and nimbly rise to meet retailers’ tech and innovation needs.”  
The ROI Engine will host “open innovation” competitions to crowdsource solutions to retail’s most pressing needs by leveraging an expansive network-of-networks of problem-solvers: the RTech Innovation Network. Comprised of leading startup incubators and accelerators, venture capital firms, and technology companies, the Innovation Network includes 1776, Accenture, Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Ventures, Closed Loop Ventures, Commerce Ventures, Facebook, Google, Government of Israel Economic Mission to the West Coast, Greylock Partners, GSVlabs, IBM, Metro Accelerator, New York Fashion Tech Lab, Pegasus Analytics, Pinterest, RetailAccel, RocketSpace, Schematic Ventures, Shoptalk, Singularity University, Sonae IM, Techstars, TheVenture.City, Uncommon Partners, and XRC Labs.  

These partners are at the frontline of retail innovation and are spurring the growth of the retail innovation ecosystem. 

1776: “As 1776 gets ready to open our first Retail Incubator in a mall, we couldn’t be more excited for the launch of the ROI Engine.  We hope to be a catalyst to spur change and innovation by leveraging our entrepreneurs’ creative approach to help solve some of retailers biggest challenges,” said Jennifer Maher, CEO of 1776. 
Center for the Circular Economy: "We are delighted to collaborate with our Innovation Partners on the RTech Open Innovation Engine, beginning with the first challenge, the Retail Hanger Innovation Challenge," said Kate Daly, Executive Director of the Center for the Circular Economy. "We look forward to helping identify the most viable innovations for a range of retailers’ circular economy challenges.” 

Commerce Ventures: “Commerce Ventures invests in retail-tech companies that address the most important and challenging problems faced by retailers today. We are excited to connect these amazing entrepreneurs with retailers as part of RILA's pioneering RTech Innovation Network," said Matt Nichols, General Partner, Commerce Ventures. 
GSVlabs: "The retail market is experiencing the convergence of multiple disruptive technologies and changing consumer expectations. Today, it is more important than ever for retailers to stay ahead of the innovation curve and RILA's (Tech Innovation Network is an incredible opportunity for retailers to engage with the best of the retail startup ecosystem,” said Alec Wright, Chief Innovation Officer at GSVlabs. 
New York Fashion Tech Lab: “The New York Fashion Tech Lab ( is proud to participate and support the RTech Innovation Network by helping to promote and connect in our alumni and network which consists of emerging tech companies and founders who are innovating at the intersection of fashion, retail, and technology," said Jackie Trebilcock, NYFTLab Managing Director. 
METRO Accelerator: "I see RILA's RTech Innovation Network as playing a key role to accelerate the global retail innovation ecosystem, and am proud that METRO Accelerator -- and its vast network of startups -- can contribute to advance our mutual cause," said Andreas Wuerfel, Director Innovation Community at METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars and CEO Inc. 
Uncommon Partners: “Retailers need uncommon partners to create unexpected collaborations that will push innovation further and faster than any of us could on our own. We’re excited to contribute our expertise and network to the ROI Engine and join RILA and its members in changing the narrative about retail transformation,” said Kyle Nel, Co-Founder and CEO of Uncommon Partners. 
The ROI Engine will also use the RTech Collegiate Network to tap into the creative spirit of students at leading universities across North America. Earlier this year, the Center launched its Collegiate Network in collaboration with Arizona State University, McGill University, Georgia Tech, Santa Clara University, Texas A&M, and many others, as a centerpiece of developing a robust retail talent pipeline. 
To learn more about the RTech Open Innovation Engine, visit   


RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad. 

The Retail Innovation Center, an initiative of RILA and Accenture, has a mission to help retailers navigate the industry transformation, and to spur the adoption of the “RTech” term within the retail innovation ecosystem. Visit to learn more about the Retail Innovation Center’s activities and to engage in the conversation. 

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