SAN BRUNO, Calif. — A competition designed to encourage “the virtual reality community” to submit ideas that might change the way consumers shop and live was launched on Thursday by Store No. 8 and Thrive Global in collaboration with Accenture LLP.
The competition will culminate with an invitation-only exhibition in Los Angeles on October 18 curating interactive and immersive experiences, the organizers announced in a statement. The exhibition will highlight the most innovative companies in virtual reality and commerce, allowing them to interact and present their ideas to today’s leading brands and influencers.
Each exhibit at the event will encompass Store No. 8, Thrive Global and Accenture’s vision for the future of virtual reality, storytelling experiences that show the increasing sense of engagement and connection consumers have with the products they love. Exhibitors are encouraged to submit ideas fundamental to the next generation of immersive technologies, all with the mindset of creating a step-change in the consumer experience that makes shopping more mindful, more human, less stressful and more enjoyable.
Store No. 8 is an innovation center for uncovering, inventing and investing in the ideas that will transform the future of commerce. It was launched in March 2017 with support from Walmart. Thrive Global describes its mission as helping to “end the epidemic of stress and burnout by offering companies and individuals sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance both well-being and performance.” Accenture is a provider of management consulting services.
“Virtual reality creates a presence, a mindfulness, that nothing else today can,” Katie Finnegan, a principal at Store No. 8, said in a statement. “We are looking to leverage virtual reality to drastically enhance the way people shop. Our first step is to identify the most innovative companies and minds in the space to help us on this mission. Innov8 will further define the future of commerce by inspiring and driving growth in the underlying ecosystem of technologies needed to bring shopping into the era of virtual experiences.”
The program invites applications from growth and innovative early-stage companies from around the world that are developing technologies and content that will shape the future of commerce in virtual reality. Selected winners of the open invitation will receive capital to fund development costs and strategic advice during incubation of concept. Winners will also be provided an exclusive opportunity to work with Walmart, Jet.com, Thrive Global and other retail partners.
“Right now, we’re in the middle of a cultural shift away from burnout and based on the connection between well-being and performance,” said Arianna Huffington, founder and chief executive officer of Thrive Global. “The companies that will win the hearts and minds of consumers are those that shape our daily lives by making everyday experiences, like shopping, easier and less stressful. Innov8 will focus the industry’s brightest minds and talent toward the development of virtual experiences that change the way we live for the better.”