Thorsten Marquardt takes charge of the Retailtech Hub accelerator / First batch ends successfully on Demo Day

Ingolstadt, 24.01.2018: The MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group has signed up Thorsten Marquardt (46) to head the retail innovation platform Retailtech Hub in Munich, which was launched in August 2017 in conjunction with Plug and Play. As Managing Director, he’s been responsible for operational business and collaboration with the accelerator’s partners since 1 January 2018. Thorsten Marquardt reports directly to Martin Wild, MediaMarktSaturn’s Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and the initiator of the Retailtech Hub. He put in his first public appearance yesterday at Demo Day, which marked the end of the Retailtech Hub’s first batch. Over 200 invited guests, investors and partners observed the final pitch presentations by the ten startups taking part. Their pilot projects with MediaMarktSaturn are now starting.

Thorsten Marquardt’s entrance couldn’t have been more apt. In his new role as Managing Director of the Retailtech Hub, he publicly introduced himself for the first time on Demo Day – the highlight of the current batch. Together with Pieter Haas, CEO of CECONOMY AG and the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group, and Martin Wild, he opened the final event of the current startup batch. Said Pieter Haas: “In the era of Phono sapiens, we regard ourselves not as a digital retailer, but as a retailer for a digital world – in-store, online, mobile and at home. The combination of digital and analogue is dialogue – and I don’t just mean literally! Dialogue is what we seek here at the Retailtech Hub, at eye level between startups and the retail sector.” The ten participating startups then pitched for investments and orders in front of more than 200 guests, investors and partners.

“We’re delighted to have been joined by Thorsten Marquardt as a colleague with extensive experience in collaboration between corporates and startups. This new position reflects the growing importance of the Retailtech Hub and is intended to make it even more attractive to corporate partners and startups. The first batch fills us with great pride. The ten startups have achieved magnificent things over the past three months. The current pilot projects are important innovation stimulus for us and excellent ‘proofs of concept’ for the startups,” said Martin Wild.

“In the global competition for digital business models, working in partnership makes us much stronger, more creative and also more attractive to startups than an individual company can be. Having realized this, MediaMarktSaturn has adopted this approach very successfully in the Retailtech Hub with an expanded network of partners and the global reach of Plug and Play. I’ve always regarded myself as a doer and I relish this challenge and the forthcoming second batch. I was enormously impressed by the professionalism and the wealth of ideas of the current batch on Demo Day and in recent weeks,” declared Thorsten Marquardt.

Demo Day was chaired by successful startup founder Philip Siefert with his humorous commentary and valuable advice at Kutchiin, a venue in Munich in the immediate vicinity of the Retailtech Hub. Siefert, who has turned the startup scene upside down for three years with his condom brand Einhorn (‘Unicorn’), explained how to be even more successful with an already established product – and encouraged the young entrepreneurs to believe in their ideas.

The ten startups demonstrated considerable success in their presentations. The POS startup MishiPay, which enables goods to be paid for and released while still on the shelf, is already working together with international travel retailer Dufry and French DIY chain Leroy Merlin, and will be teaming up with Saturn Austria for a pilot project starting in March. parcelLab, which offers solutions for personalized post-checkout management, has agreed to collaborate with 280 international partners and is also conducting a pilot project with MediaMarktSaturn.

In addition to MishiPay and parcelLab, other pilot projects are underway between MediaMarktSaturn and all other startups. One of them is Traxas Media, a provider of personalized, interactive screen advertising. store2be markets promotional areas for live marketing, while Neuro Flash harnesses big data to help retailers anticipate shopping behaviour. Then there’s OKIKO, an online pocket money account for children. Rapitag offers payment via a smart security label for products. Combyne is a fashion app which allows outfits to be digitally mixed and matched and images to be sent to selected users for evaluation, enabling even better analysis of customers’ buying habits. Streetspotr is an marketing intelligence provider. Finally, Weview is a video platform for product reviews.

Already including MediaMarktSaturn as well as the Schwarz Group with Lidl and Kaufland, in January the Retailtech Hub’s partners were joined by Aachener Grundvermögen, one of the largest owners of retail space in German pedestrian zones. The second batch will be selected on 6 February.

Thorsten Marquardt

Thorsten Marquardt founded EON’s corporate accelerator :agile five years ago and was thus instrumental in the development and integration of innovation and new digital business models at Germany’s largest energy supplier. Previously, he held various executive roles in Germany and abroad and for example helped set up the Desertec Industrial Initiative in Munich.