Over 1200 Marks & Spencer colleagues engaged with the discovery and development of start-up investments.

This month marks the first anniversary of the M&S and Founders Factory Joint Venture (Founders Factory Retail), designed to identify and accelerate emerging businesses and put M&S at the forefront of industry change and trends.

In its first year, M&S has discovered and begun working with six fast growth start-ups, selected from over 100 hopeful new businesses identified from Founders Factory’s global start-up network. The competitive assessment process is led by a dedicated investment committee made up of colleagues from both M&S and Founders Factory. The JV’s portfolio of investments to date is listed below, with plans for the next investment to come in the new year.

Rocketo is a healthy (raw, dehydrated and organic) environmentally responsible dogfood product which is sold online as a subscription service. Rocketo products will also be stocked in 28 stores from early December.

Cogz is a marketplace for farmers, growers and producers to sell surplus produce direct to trade buyers before it becomes food waste.

Over 1200 colleagues across stores and support centres have been engaged in the Founders Factory partnership - from attending showcase events through to providing insight and data to help the business assess which investments to pursue. The access to the latest technologies and innovations is driving M&S to continually consider how it can better serve customers or operate more efficiently in the future.

Founders Factory was set up in 2015 by Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox to incubate and accelerate new start-ups in partnership with corporate partners across a range of sectors. M&S is Founders Factory’s exclusive UK retail partner and the majority shareholder in Founders Factory Retail – the Joint Venture focused on discovering and investing in fast growth, retail-centric start-ups that could improve the way M&S servers its customers.