France: Cdiscount launches start-up innovation incubator The Warehouse


France: Cdiscount launches start-up innovation incubator The Warehouse
La Tribune, 08 Sep 2017, online:-
Cdiscount, based in Bordeaux, will launch The Warehouse, an innovation incubator in which the company will help five start-ups develop projects over six months for the supply chain activity. The six months will finish with a POC, proof of concept, and Cdiscount may or may not choose to invest further in the companies. The projects will all involve the optimisation of the supply chain, with no specific defined target, and the start-ups will have free use of the fully equipped 300 square metre warehouse and 200 square metres of office space. In addition to the development of potentially useful innovations, The Warehouse allows for a strengthening of partnerships with businesses in the region. The selection process for the start-ups is under way and Cdiscount will make its choice following the 15 September 2017 deadline. Additionally, Cdiscount has studied 400 of the young companies and selected over 30 POC, of which 12 are related to supply chain, and half to production. The possibility to develop the same project for other activities, such as automation and data science, is under study. The company currently counts 20 data scientists and has plans to double that number. Regarding automation, robots are being tested for use in logistics, specifically as part of the "fulfilment" offer, which provides logistics service for online marketplace merchants. The company also works with two laboratories concerning data science and robotics. Cdiscount created an innovation department in 2015, with divisions in each of the branches, including supply chain as of January 2016. Co-innovation with other companies has been developed, such as SNCF and Chronopost, in order to provide one day delivery thanks to the new high speed train between Paris and Bordeaux. Cdiscount numbers over 16 million customers, offers over 300,000 products, delivers 30 million products a year, and reports a business volume of EUR 2.70bn (USD 3.20bn). The company holds 400,000 square metres of warehouse space in ten sites, and employs 1,500, of whom 550 work in supply chain.
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