SOURCE: Norwest Venture Partners

Norwest Venture Partners

November 03, 2014 06:00 ET

Norwest Venture Partners' Josh Goldman to Moderate Prestigious Digital Commerce Startup of the Year Competition

Startups Battle to Win Title of Most Promising Rising Star in the Retail World at NRF's Big Show

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 3, 2014) - Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), a global, multi-stage venture and growth equity investment firm, today announced that General Partner Josh Goldman will moderate a panel of judges and participate as a judge at the inaugural Digital Commerce Startup of the Year Competition. This is the first time in its 104-year history that the nation's largest association serving the retail industry is putting its name on such an award.

A team of venture capitalists, prominent retailers, and board members will review the entries and invite five finalists to present at Retail's BIG Show on Jan. 12, 2015. The competition will identify and showcase not only the most innovative and creative startups in the digital retail space, but those companies that industry experts agree will fundamentally change the retail business.

Today, consumers leverage a combination of mobile, online and in store shopping along their path to purchase -- even for a single item. Examples of the innovations taking place in retail include:

  • Beacons that provide mobile promotions to shoppers- targeted down to the particular aisle of the store
  • Analytics that enable merchants to understand customers' in-store behavior, link that with data about online shopping habits, and make more strategic decisions
  • New systems and technologies at the Point-of Sale
  • Immersive mobile- or tablet-based shopping experiences
  • Innovative loyalty programs; and
  • Innovative payment systems for merchants.

"Startups are leaving no stone unturned as they revolutionize the way products are sold and bought by consumers and retailers everywhere," said Artemis Berry, vice president of digital retail for and the National Retail Federation. "As one of the only industries whose impact on innovation affects the consumer each and every day, retail thrives on the ideas brought forth by these entrepreneurs who help make the consumer shopping experience unlike anything we've ever seen. We're very much looking forward to crowning the winning company and witnessing its future successes."

"I have seen dozens of retail startups come through our doors this year," said Josh Goldman, general partner, Norwest Venture Partners. "But those that stood out demonstrated either the ability to deliver an experience customers crave, or a radically new technology to make retailers more efficient or responsive. I can't wait to see what these contestants show us."

The timing could not be better for companies seeking to impact the retail space. Mobile commerce grew 48 percent year-over-year to about $8 billion in the second quarter, according to data released by comScore and the U.S. Census Bureau. That's the fastest increase in mobile commerce since the first quarter of 2012. (BI Intelligence). A recent Forrester research report found that U.S. online retail accounted for almost 9 percent of the $3.2 trillion in total retail and is expected to continue to expand along a compound annual growth rate of about 10 percent over the next four years.

Our lineup of judges includes:

  • Josh Goldman, general partner, Norwest Venture Partners, who, as retail executive or board member, has generated more than $3.6 billion in realized exit valuations. NVP has invested in retail companies including but not limited to: RetailMeNot, ModCloth, Gilt Groupe, Minted, SundaySky and ThreadFlip.

  • J. Skyler Fernandes, founding managing director of Simon Venture Group (SVG), the venture capital arm of Simon Property Group, an S&P 100 company and the largest retail real estate company in the world. SVG invests in the future innovation of retail, including in-store and online shopping technology, logistics, internet of things, and data analytics.

  • Matthew Kaness, a senior retail executive who most recently served as Chief Strategy Officer for Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN), an innovative specialty retailer with global annual revenues of more than $3 billion. Mr. Kaness was the lead corporate executive focused on growth and innovation for more than seven years.

  • Vicki Cantrell, SVP communities and executive director, at NRF, who has more than 25 years of experience in the business, operational and technology segments of retail.

For more information on how to apply for the title of Digital Commerce Startup of the Year, please visit:

About Norwest Venture Partners
Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is a global, multi-stage venture capital and growth equity investment firm that has partnered with entrepreneurs to build great businesses for more than 50 years. The firm manages approximately $5 billion in capital and has funded more than 550 companies since inception. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., NVP has subsidiaries in Mumbai and Bengaluru, India and Herzelia, Israel. NVP makes early to late-stage venture and growth equity investments across a wide range of sectors including: technology, information services, business services, financial services, consumer products/services and healthcare. For more information, please visit Follow NVP on Twitter @NorwestVP

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