Home Depot Forms VC Firm, Funds Tech Doers to Get More Done
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The world’s biggest home-improvement chain followed on from the giant burrito-making group in forming a venture-capital firm to speed development of technologies that help it operate more efficiently and give customers better experiences.
As TheStreet reported, Chipotle had adopted a number of technologies to, among other efforts, prepare food and more efficiently schedule staff.
In late April it put up $50 million and said it was looking particularly for food technology. The Newport Beach, Calif., company formed Cultivate Next to make early-stage — seed through Series B — investments into restaurant innovations.
Now, Home Depot is tripling down on CMG’s investment.
Home Depot Ventures Wants Ideas
The Atlanta company said in a May 3 statement that it formed Home Depot Ventures “to identify, fund and partner with early-stage and growth stage companies to accelerate emerging technologies that aim to improve the customer experience and shape the future of home improvement.
“The $150 million fund aims to invest in companies that advance Home Depot’s ability to provide a seamless interconnected shopping experience, develop new and differentiated capabilities, and extend its low-cost provider position.”
Home Depot says it wants ideas to, for example, “simplify how people invest in their homes,” as they move in, make regular maintenance and repairs, and renovate and remodel.
The company, which caters a lot to home-improvement contractors, wants to help them manage and grow their businesses
Within its stores, it wants its employees to be able to “collaborate more safely, easily and efficiently to meet the rapidly changing expectations of customers.”
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Broadly, it wants ideas about “platform innovation, delivery optimization, asset and network optimization, and application of data science.”
Home Depot Not New to Startups
“With Home Depot Ventures we are lending our support and expertise to enable rapid scale of innovation,” Richard McPhail, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Home Depot, said.
The company said it would add value to startups by giving them “direct access to the expertise and expansive footprint of the broader enterprise.”
Like Chipotle, Home Depot has a history of investing in startups.
The companies it’s backed include:
— Afero, provider of a platform that enables all internet-driven devices in an enterprise to work together seamlessly and securely;
— Loadsmart, a technology company that helps shippers and carriers price, book and move freight more efficiently;
— Made Renovation, a digital platform enabling bathroom renovations, and,
— Roadie, a crowdsourced delivery platform that enables same-day delivery to more than 20,000 Zip codes in the U.S. Roadie was acquired by UPS (UPS) – Get United Parcel Service, Inc. Class B Report in 2021.
Home Depot at the Jan. 30 end of its fiscal 2022 operated more than 2,300 retail stores in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. It employs some 500,000 people.