2023 RevTech Summit: Driving Innovation, Collaboration, and Community

At the summit, RevTech announced it will team up with investor Laura Baldwin to launch a dedicated fund supporting female entrepreneurs. Dallas-based brand The Citizenry also revealed its further expansion into brick-and-mortar, with a debut location set for Stonebriar Mall in Frisco this fall.

The recent 2023 RevTech Summit convened an influential blend of retail innovators to exchange insights and build community.

Organized by Dallas-based venture capital firm RevTech Ventures in partnership with UT Dallas and SMU, the three-day summit in late August was an invitation-only “first of its kind” collaboration of “disruptive” retailers, industry experts, and venture firms investing in the future of commerce. About a dozen “highly curated entrepreneurs” in retail tech were also on the list.

As digital tools evolve, brands and retailers must determine what’s relevant. RevTech Ventures aims to discover “tomorrow’s impactful retail technologies and invest in them today,” the organization says.

According to the RevTech website, previous summit participants have secured over $1 billion in venture capital funding to date. Their solutions have scaled across e-commerce and been deployed in over 100,000 physical locations.

Taking it to ‘another level’

David Matthews, the 25-year industry force behind RevTech Ventures, says the summit is an evolution. “This is taking what we’ve done in the past up to another level,” he said.

Departing from traditional accelerator programs with its summit, the RevTech model aims to create a retail innovation hub in Texas by fostering connections and growth opportunities in the industry.

The discussions that unfolded over the course of the summit were a superstore of insights.

Sessions covered critical topics like scaling startups without the cushion of substantial funding and pitching strategies. Abe Minkara of Legacy Knight shared succinct “Shark Tank”-style narratives focused on essential stories versus embellishment. Morning networking sessions transformed into hubs underscoring community-building.

From breakfast sessions to networking meetups, the summit built and nurtured a sense of community among the curated crowd. Catherine Cullen, a representative of NRF National Retail Federation, was on hand to share insights into the ever-evolving landscape of consumer trends.

Fireside chats featuring industry stalwarts such as Jon Bolen of Entouch, Larry Waterman of Cavender’s, and Lindsay Lightman of RevTech Ventures were tied by a common theme—the need for actionable insights and the impetus for transformative change.

The Art of the Pitch panel: Tips and Tricks on How to Sell a Retailer. [Photo: Jewels Clark]

A ‘tight-knit community’

Attracting attendees from beyond Texas, first-time visitor Mary Bemis of Reprise in New York noted the strong sense of community at the summit. “I think that’s the part I’ve noticed the most here,” Bermis said. “It’s cool to see a showcase of Texas brands.”

The retailer noted the Texas retail community is smaller compared to New York, “but it seems a more tight-knit community, and that’s refreshing.”

Adding to the communal atmosphere, Plano-based Neighborhood Goods hosted a hub for networking and interactions, with a happy hour adding camaraderie. Founder Matt Alexander appeared on the final day, showing the collaborative spirit.

Networking at Neighborhood Goods [Photo: Jewels Clark]

Fund and retail announcement

Pivoting to key announcements, Matthews and investor Laura Baldwin, who is also president at Waco Bend Asset Management and managing director of Golden Seeds, together announced the launch of a women’s fund under the umbrella of RevTech Ventures. “There’s such an opportunity here,” said Baldwin. Female founders tend to perform better but get just 2% of venture capital, Baldwin says. 

“There’s definitely a need for more investment in women,” she said.

In another first, The Citizenry Co-Founder Carly Kouba Nance announced the unveiling of a modest Stonebriar retail space this fall, expanding the company’s reach into physical stores. The strategic decision reflects their commitment to enhancing the customer experience and further connecting with their audience.

The socially conscious home goods company goods are also slated to hit shelves at Container Store locations in the U.S. with its bath essentials including organic cotton towels and robes and hinoki wood accent furniture.

The Container Store recently launched a new brand campaign, “Uncontained,” highlighting its move into new strategic growth categories, including direct-to-consumer products never before sold in brick-and-mortar stores.

[Photo: Jewels Clark]

Quincy Preston contributed to this report. 

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