April 8, 2024

Ahold Delhaize and Four Other Leading Global Grocery Retailers Establish Pioneering Collaborative Venture Fun, W23 Global

  • W23 Global brings together five global grocery leaders, including Ahold Delhaize (US, Europe, Indonesia), Tesco (UK, ROI, Europe), Woolworths Group (Australia, New Zealand), Empire Company Limited/Sobeys Inc. (Canada) and Shoprite Group (Africa).
  • The new collaborative retail venture capital (VC) fund will seek to invest US$125m throughout five years in the world’s most innovative start-ups and scale-ups with the potential to transform grocery retail and address the sector’s sustainability challenges.
  • W23 Global is led by CEO and Chief Investment Officer (CIO) Ingrid Maes who brings 25+ years of innovation in FMCG and grocery retail and currently leads Australian grocery leader Woolworths Group’s innovation fund, W23 Australia.

Five of the world’s leading grocery retailers have come together to establish a pioneering collaborative venture capital (VC) fund, W23 Global. The fund will seek to invest in innovative start-ups and scale-ups that deploy technology to enhance customer experiences, transform the grocery value chain and address the sector’s sustainability challenges. Each retailer is an equal funder and partner in W23 Global, while their CEO’s will sit on the investment committee.

W23 Global CEO and Chief Investment Officer Ingrid Maes: “W23 is a potentially game-changing international VC fund with a powerful proposition for both our investors and portfolio companies. We aim to offer our investors incomparable access to transformative innovation in grocery and sustainability worldwide. W23 Global will work with its investors to identify common unaddressed challenges and support entrepreneurs to develop solutions, offering faster pathways to global scale for portfolio companies. With leading grocery CEOs on our investment committee, founders can rapidly develop ideas based on an accelerated understanding of retailers’ needs.”

W23 Global complements its partners’ continuing direct innovation and investment strategies. The fund’s portfolio companies will be free to contract with any customer, whether a W23 Global partner or otherwise, on whatever terms they decide.

Upon the announcement, Ahold Delhaize CEO, Frans Muller, said: “As pioneers in retail innovation for more than 150 years, Ahold Delhaize has consistently led the way in investing in the customer value proposition. We look forward to enhancing our efforts by partnering with other industry leaders and maximizing our collective impact. Together with best-in-class start-ups and scale-ups, we strongly believe we can further drive retail innovation, foster sustainability and deliver greater value to communities worldwide.”

Where W23 Global will invest 

W23 Global will seek to invest in start-ups and scale-ups deploying technology to:

  • benefit consumers by driving faster, more personalized and connected experiences across stores and online;
  • create more efficient grocery value chains to the benefit of all stakeholders;
  • address grocery’s biggest sustainability challenges from farm to household, including emissions and waste reduction, packaging innovation, product traceability and transparency, healthy choices and biodiversity.

In addition to investing in early-stage businesses, W23 Global will seek out entrepreneurs to solve problems that are not currently being adequately addressed.

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