Day 1 at the XRC Labs Accelerator

retail accelerator

“What’s an accelerator?” a familiar question that we are asked daily.* Rather than simply telling you, let’s take it back a week and start from the beginning of this curriculum.



9:00 AM
It’s Tuesday morning, the founders of eight up-and-coming retail and consumer product good companies enter the classroom on the first floor of the Parsons School of Design in New York City. They are greeted with breakfast burritos and an introduction to the XRC Labs program that consists of an orientation of what to expect in the ten weeks to come.

The companies remain a mystery to the outside public.

11:00 AM
To foster team collaboration, a circle is formed in the middle of the room for our first company “roll call”.

What is your greatest business need right now?

What milestone success have you celebrated recently?

All companies are asked to answer these questions. Interestingly enough many needs and milestones overlap. For example, while some companies are celebrating funding and partnerships, others are in the process of seeking those out.

4:00 PM
We hit the ground running and start the XRC Labs curriculum with Melissa Gonzales of the Lionesque Group. She provides everyone with valuable insight into the pop-up shop experience and strategy.

7:30 PM
It’s finally time for everyone to wind down and formally kick off the program with XRC’s inaugural launch party event held at Parsons. With a packed room of attendees exploring the event and networking, the launch is a huge success. As the evening approaches it’s end, we reveal our cohort. Here are the eight companies that will be forever known as the first class of XRC Labs:

The day concludes with our special guest speaker, Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker. Blumenthal refers to the early stages of his company, “We had people requesting to come by our office, but my office was out of my apartment!” Given where the company is today, we can’t think of a more empowering note to end the day.

Okay…but seriously, “What’s an accelerator program?” you’re probably still thinking to yourself. Our answer: It’s whatever you need it to be.

It’s a way for us help build the emerging stages of your brand. We are here to support you: from offering you a workspace, working as your recruiters, to accessing capital, mentoring, and operational support, this initial 10 week program brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and sponsors (read: fancy people) to foster rapid innovation and unlock new opportunities in retail.

Evan Polivy