Best Buy is lighting a fire under the pipeline bringing start-up tech to consumers’ homes.
The retailer announced a new initiative, known as Ignite, which works with start-ups interested in selling through Best Buy stores and/or its website. Manufacturers are encouraged to apply through the company’s website; it has also partnered with PCH, a product accelerator that assists with development, manufacturing, packaging and inventory management.
As part of this program, Best Buy revealed the enhanced floor space dedicated to start-ups in its new Mountain View, Calif., store. The store, which just opened its doors Sept. 16 after relocating from Sunnyvale, Calif., sells such crowdfunded products as the RoBo 3D printer, Zuli Smartplug and Noke Bluetooth padlock. The products are highlighted within newly designed dedicated floor space that also shows off new wearables from such companies as Under Armour, Muzik and Bragi.
Other Best Buy locations will now also carry the Prynt cellphone case printer, among other crowdfunded devices, Best Buy said.
BestBuy.com, meanwhile, will sell all of these start-up wares and more, highlighted on a new Ignite page slated to appear this fall.
Tech-savvy consumers have increasingly flocked to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to procure the latest and greatest (see the record-breaking success of the Pebble smart watch), and many retailers are anxious to get a toehold in this clear selling opportunity. Several of the products mentioned above can also be found through other mass-market retailers.
Likewise, Best Buy is not the first retailer offering a start-up assistance initiative: Amazon launched a similar program last summer — without the brick-and-mortar support, of course — and further bolstered the program in July with the addition of Kickstarter products.