Pentland Brands Chief IT Officer judges ‘Start-Up of the Year’ at Retail Week’s Tech. Festival 2019

In an always-on, digitally connecting world where emerging technologies can be responsible for disrupting the biggest global brands, the question ‘what gives big business the competitive edge of a start-up?’ is a contentious one. At Pentland Brandswe believe in driving innovation, and therefore meaningful change, through technology and data. Technology plays a pivotal role in our business, not least in our digital & innovation strategy, our business transformation road-map, our acquisition strategy and ultimately helps us make our brands matter to more people around the world – enabling the Pentland of tomorrow. 

Equally as important to driving a successful digital strategy is keeping pace with rapid advances in business technology. Abhy Thomas Joseph, Chief IT Officer (CIO) at Pentland Brands, was recently invited as an industry expert to judge ‘Start-Up of the Year’ at Tech. Festival. As well as providing tech start-ups with a platform to showcase their ideas to expert decision-makers in commerce technology, the competition provides established businesses the opportunity to seek out the next big industry disruptor.  

Featuring 47 of the most innovative retail tech start-ups showcasing game-changing solutions, retailers were out to find the next big tech trend promising revolution for the sectorWith just three minutes on the Discovery stage to reveal their propositionthe up-and-coming businesses pitched in competition to win Tech. Festival’s Start-up oThe Year. The judges were impressed by the variety of solutions and ground-breaking propositions presented.  

Highlights include: BOON Spotlight whose revolutionary gift finder uses AI technology and psychology to understand likes and dislikes to find the perfect gift suggestion for a user and gift recipient; Envopap which utilised green technology to provide agricultural waste with a second life – so far the use of their materials has helped save 760,000+ treesHowever, LiSA was named the Discovery winner  championed for its idea to create a platform that allows customers to create their own shoppable streaming channel.  

On judging at Tech. Festival, Abhy says“For me, this is an opportunity to support and nurture start-ups and in turn see some really creative talent that will shape the future of our economy. It was a great experience and I was inspired by some of the pitches we had – it has definitely pushed the boundaries of my imagination.”