UK-based e-commerce payments and ID venture, Nuggets, is to join the Lafayette Plug and Play business accelerator programme.
It is the only blockchain-based startup among the 17 companies chosen to take part in an initiative created by France’s Galeries Lafayette group in partnership with the Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play Tech Center.
Nuggets will also join the Plug and Play global community. Member companies have raised over $7 billion in funding since 2006, with success stories including Dropbox, PayPal, Lending Club, SoundHound and Zoosk.
Alastair Johnson, Founder and CEO, Nuggets, says: “We’re so excited by this opportunity and particularly proud to be the only blockchain-based member of the Lafayette programme. We have the chance to connect with so many retail leaders, make the most of a range of business development opportunities, and become a part of the most vibrant startup community in the world.”
Lafayette Plug and Play is a three-month Paris-based acceleration programme focused on the business development of startups set to disrupt the retail industry. There were 213 applicants this year. During the next three months, 17 startups will be invited to mentor sessions, networking events, and business development matchmaking opportunities. Corporate partners involved include Carrefour and Lacoste.
Johnson comments: “When I look at the successful companies that have been involved in the global Plug and Play community, it’s hard not to feel proud about being invited to become a member. Now we have to work hard to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Late last month, Nuggets announced that it had brought onboard Steve Castle as a Non-Executive Director.
Castle has been supporting Nuggets as a strategic adviser for over a year and was an early investor. His most recent high-profile role was as a part of the team briefed with turning around Liverpool Victoria General Insurance Group (now known as LV=) in 2006. He has also held senior Group Board positions at RBS Insurance, Direct Line and Churchill.
The announcement closely followed the appointment of former Managing Director of Visa, Kevin Jenkins, to establish the venture in Europe and lead on business development.
Jenkins, who has also held a leadership role at Mastercard, commented: “The current model of businesses holding personal information is broken. It needs fundamental change, study after study shows that customers are frustrated by the payments journey: the many steps they have to take, and the security fears.”
“For decades, the payments industry has been trying to achieve a balance between security and convenience. What impresses me so much about Nuggets is that it manages to optimise both. I’m convinced that every stakeholder in the payments ecosystem, from customers to retailers, will embrace Nuggets. I’m incredibly excited to be part of a genuine revolution.”