Interview with Saeed Amidi, CEO of Plug and Play, describing how startups have the potential to accelerate the transformation of the fashion industry.
Why did Plug and Play decide to join Fashion for Good and run an accelerator together?
Plug and Play was delighted to be told that it had emerged as one of the best potential accelerator partners for the Fashion for Good initiative. A week later we were on a plane to Amsterdam to present our model of collaboration and hear more about the initiative itself. The focus on fashion and retail aligned nicely with the work we do in our Silicon Valley Brand and Retail accelerator, but the real clincher was the focus on environmental and social impact.
This introduced a new, very appealing dynamic. Plug and Play had never found the right partner to do something in this space, despite a strong desire to do so. This was a perfect opportunity, at the perfect time. We could now help find, nurture and invest in startups whose ambitions are to do good.
What is the Early-stage Innovation Accelerator and what will Plug and Play’s mentorship look like?
The early stage accelerator is a twelve-week startup programme designed to boost the growth of blue sky innovations. Together with Fashion for Good and our first founding partner, Kering Group, we will do this by leveraging the expertise of leading fashion brands and ultimately run a programme where the selected startups are exposed to top mentors, venture capitalists, fashion and apparel brands and industry experts.
Plug and Play’s major contributions will be in the realms of investment, business development support with top fashion and apparel brands/retailers, business model refinement, and pitch polishing. Plus the fact they’ll become part of the largest startup network in the world.
What is Plug and Play specifically looking for in the first cohort of startups to join the Early-stage Innovation Accelerator?
Initially, Plug and Play will identify, invest in, and accelerate great startups whose innovative solutions addresses one of three areas: sustainable sourcing of raw material (cotton), fabric and garment production (dying, finishing, and cut-make-trim), and end of use (reusing or remaking).
How can Plug and Play use its experience with other innovators to help make Good Fashion a reality?
Plug and Play has a proven track record of investing in great startups and connecting them with industry leaders to validate their technology in the market. We have proven this model in 11 verticals in Silicon Valley and will look to replicate this model in Amsterdam with a focus on social and environmental impact within the global fashion and apparel industries. We are true advocates that innovation should be open to all and since the issues we’re looking at in this programme will have a global impact, we will use on an approach which stresses strength in numbers. We believe it will be the best, probably only, way to tackle the complex challenges Fashion for Good is tackling in its pursuit of only Good Fashion.