The programme includes workshops, one-to-one sessions with senior leaders within Farfetch and mentorship meetings

The programme includes workshops, one-to-one sessions with senior leaders within Farfetch and mentorship meetings

Farfetch, a marketplace for luxury brands, has announced the first cohort of start-ups for its Dream Assembly programme, including a smart shopping device that provides real-time inventory, and blockchain-based digital certificates that provide full supply chain visibility.

Launched in April of last year, the accelerator initiative aims to provide a number of the world's most promising start-ups with a programme of mentorship, networking opportunities and access to early-stage funding.

Based out of Farfetch's offices in Lisbon, Portugal, the programme includes a series of workshops, one-to-one sessions with senior leaders within Farfetch and mentorship meetings covering topics including e-commerce, marketing, technology, fashion, logistics and operations, giving start-ups direct access to Farfetch's expertise in the luxury fashion and technology industries, over the course of 12 weeks.

"We were delighted by the response from so many incredible companies. The companies we have selected for the first Dream Assembly cohort all have great potential to present innovative solutions and are capable of shaping the future of commerce," says Stephanie Phair, chief strategy officer at Farfetch.

The companies chosen for the programme are working with technologies including virtual reality and artificial intelligence and are exploring ways of applying these and other technologies to revolutionise the future of commerce.

Dream Assembly will welcome the first cohort of start-ups in Lisbon, on 7 September and, along with the 12-week programme, will offer networking opportunities for the participating start-ups, connecting them to relevant contacts in the fashion industry.

Global luxury brand Burberry will be contributing with knowledge and resources for the first Dream Assembly cohort. In addition to sessions in the Portuguese cities of Lisbon and Porto, Seed Accelerator 500 Startups will be hosting a one-week growth bootcamp in San Francisco. The programme also includes a demo day in London, where companies will have the chance to pitch their projects to a selected pool of external investors for follow-on funding.

The start-ups:

FTSY - 'footsy' (Canada) is an app that makes shopping for shoes online easier. By using AI and a smartphone, FTSY scans a user's feet and instantly curates a personalised footwear collection to match the shape of the user's foot and style preferences. 

Buy Buddy (Turkey) created a smart shopping device that provides real-time inventory, product security, customer behaviour data to retailers and allows customers to shop without going to check out. When a customer comes to a store, Buy Buddy can rapidly help them find the desired items and process payment without having to wait in line.

For Upteam (Hong Kong), luxury always means luxury, even if pre-owned. Rui&Gui, two Portuguese entrepreneurs based in Asia for over a decade, took this basic idea and created Upteam - a data driven B2B pre-owned luxury bag and accessory curator, supplying authentic items to both online and offline shops across 30 different countries. Upteam acquires, authenticates and curates all its stock and carries more than 5,000 products, offering clientele unlimited access.  

Shopvious (France) aims at giving luxury brands access to the most reliable and actionable analytics through a new ground-breaking data source: blockchain-based digital certificates. Attached to each luxury product, these certificates provide full visibility on the supply chain, guarantee authenticity through the entire product lifecycle and create a permanent link between brands and end users.

The Restory (UK) is a technology-powered luxury restoration brand using proprietary technology and data to engage directly with customers. Starting with shoes and bags, its strategy is to earn entry into the rest of the closet and to transform an out-of-date utility into a lifestyle service. The Restory empowers consumers to invest in the brands they love and enables brands and retailers to leverage a
down-stream after-care ecosystem. (Portugal) uses computer vision to collect relevant information from websites, catalogues and social media to create a platform where retailers could easily monitor their competition. Additionally, using image recognition, it is able to detect objects like clothes in real time.

WISHI (USA) is solving the 'I don't know what to wear' problem by connecting people with an online personal stylist. By offering access to stylists who provide personalised recommendations on what to wear, WISHI unlocks a previously luxury service.

Like Airbnb, Uber or Lyft, Villageluxe (USA) is promoting the sharing economy revolution, urging consumers to buy better, therefore buying less and lending more. Villageluxe believes in the power of peer to peer and sustainable luxury fashion, and it provides an endless world of high fashion and luxury accessories available to borrow from some of the most sought-after closets in New York City and beyond.

Fashpa (Nigeria) is a global marketplace for African fashion and design. It seamlessly connects consumers to unique and sustainable merchandise from independent brands and boutiques through a single online storefront. Starting with Africa, Fashpa offers its sellers in emerging markets end-to-end technology to power e-commerce, a digital storefront, supply chain management and market access to clients from all over the globe.

Auverture (Netherlands) specialises in fine designer jewellery. 

Didimo (Portugal) gives brands a simple way to streamline and scale the production of unique lifelike 3D characters. For a retail company, incorporating Didimo's technology will improve the customer experience while shopping online, reducing the returns of online orders, resulting in financial loss, the startup says.