Shaping the future of convenience
Guided by our vision of being the world’s preferred destination for convenience and mobility, we are always exploring innovative and differentiated solutions that make our customers’ lives a little easier every day. Through the Circle K Venture Fund (the “Fund”), we collaborate with and invest in businesses that are developing technologies and platforms with the potential to transform the customer journey in our stores and forecourts and to redefine the meaning of convenience.
Established in 2020, the Fund invests in startup companies that are developing and deploying solutions that enhance the experience in our stores while providing team members with the tools and resources that free them up to focus on our guests.
With a focus on the digital customer experience and operational efficiency as well as delivery and distribution, the Fund has initially dedicated $100 million to invest in emerging technologies and solutions.
We work collaboratively with our funding partners to explore the market opportunity, test their products iteratively in live and online environments in multiple geographies and measure their impacts on the consumer journey, customer and employee satisfaction. Through this process, we gain insights that can help us refine and scale the innovation and to deliver clear benefits for our business while helping fuel and accelerate their growth.
Managing Director, Mergers and Acquisitions and Circle K Venture Capital
The evolution of our customers’ convenience needs has accelerated since the start of the pandemic, and these investments and partnerships give us a way not only to participate in the growth of these innovative teams, but also to explore the ways they can add real value for our customers, shareholders, and team members. As we move forward with our strategic goals, the Fund is supporting cutting-edge solutions with the potential of improving the customer journey and team member experience at our locations, delivering our products and offerings in new ways, and changing the very nature of convenience.
Some of our recent investments include:
Among the Fund’s most recent investments are Farmstead and Food Rocket, both U.S.-based companies, offering delivery of grocery, convenience, and pantry items at competitive prices and compelling speed. We are working with both partners on piloting commercial programs, testing and learning the best approaches to compete in the fast-expanding world of delivery and distribution for our urban and suburban customers.
Other investments we have made include Pensa Systems, a leading innovator in the automated use of computer vision and artificial intelligence for retail-in-store data and analytics, and Jackpocket, the first licensed-third party app in the U.S. providing an easy, secure way to order official state lottery tickets.
Meanwhile, as we explore ways to shape the customer journey beyond our physical stores, we are also working to enhance the in-store customer experience through technologies that improve labor efficiency and enable store teams to focus more the customer. As labor challenges have increased in North America, we have invested in technology that helps retailers and other groups alleviate staffing challenges by tapping into the fast-growing gig economy.
The Fund will continue to invest in strategic partnerships offering innovative solutions that respond to the evolving consumer needs and help transform the global landscape of convenience and mobility.
Related third-party press releases:
Pensa’s Adoption by Johnson & Johnson, General Mills and Circle K Points to Expanded Demand for Advanced Retail Shelf Intelligence (June 8, 2021)
Jackpocket and Circle K Team Up To Bring U.S. Lottery Players a New Way to Play (July 15, 2021)
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November 8, 2021