W23 Global brings together Ahold Delhaize, Tesco, Woolworths Group, Empire Company Limited/Sobeys and Shoprite Group, investing US$125m in “the world’s most innovative start-ups and scale-ups”

Five of the world’s leading grocery retailers have come together to establish a collaborative venture capital (VC) fund, W23 Global.

Investment growth Adobe Stock

According to a statement, the fund will seek to invest in innovative start-ups and scale-ups that deploy technology to enhance customer experiences, transform the grocery value chain and address the sector’s sustainability challenges.

Each retailer is an equal funder and partner in W23 Global, while their CEO’s will sit on the investment committee.

“W23 is a potentially game-changing international VC fund with a powerful proposition for both our investors and portfolio companies,” explained W23 Global CEO and chief investment officer Ingrid Maes.

”We aim to offer our investors incomparable access to transformative innovation in grocery and sustainability worldwide,” she continued. ”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.”

W23 Global said that it complemented its partners’ direct innovation and investment strategies.

The fund’s portfolio companies will be free to contract with any customer, whether a W23 Global partner or otherwise, on whatever terms they decide.

“As pioneers in retail innovation for more than 150 years, Ahold Delhaize has consistently led the way in investing in the customer value proposition,” said Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller.

”We look forward to enhancing our efforts by partnering with other industry leaders and maximising our collective impact.

”Together with best-in-class start-ups and scale-ups, we strongly believe we can further drive retail innovation, foster sustainability, and deliver greater value to communities worldwide,” he added.