Bringing the best of the digital and physical realms together is at the heart of Rebecca Minkoff’s “connected store.”

Rebecca Minkoff’s quest to lead a tech revolution

The fashion designer and digital pioneer made a big announcement at Retail’s BIG Show, launching the first domestic fashion tech VC fund.

Everything Rebecca Minkoff does is designed around a digital viewpoint or digital lens. At Retail’s BIG Show, the founders of one of the most innovative brands in fashion unveiled a plan to cement its position as a leader in digital’s transformation. Rebecca Minkoff will partner with Quotidian Ventures to create the first domestic fashion tech VC fund focused on investments in technology with applications in fashion, e-commerce and retail.

Rebecca and Uri Minkoff (center) with the Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Holmes (left) and Quotidian Ventures’ Pedro Torres-Mackie (right) at Retail’s BIG Show 2017

An incubator for the ‘Store of the Future’

Rebecca Minkoff’s fashion- and tech-forward store took retail by storm a few years ago; as many as 10 startups and large tech companies pitch the brand each week about transforming the store of the future, according to President and CEO Uri Minkoff. Giving these startups the chance to work with Rebecca Minkoff meant an immense opportunity to help each company determine the price and purpose of its product. “If they could make it work with us,” he said, “they could then use that as a stake to go out to the rest of the world.” At Retail’s BIG Show, Uri Minkoff announced that data platform 42 Technologies is in line to receive the first investment.

Closing the tech gender gap

Empowering more women to be involved in STEM and tech is a key component for Rebecca Minkoff and the VC fund. “There are not enough female engineers, female coders, females working in the tech space,” she said. She’s sat through too many meetings with a male engineer designing something for a female and wants to bring a woman’s user experience to the conversation when it comes to design. Planting seeds in those companies to create a more equal platform of women and men working together — and helping women-led startups rise to the top — inspires her the most about this new venture.

“As we’ve delved more into technology, I’ve come face-to-face with the unsettling truth that it’s devoid of women and our voices. We have men creating technology for women and advocating for our preferences and our needs. We’re often left with the ‘shrink it and pink it’ approach or just not considered at all. That’s not okay.” —Rebecca Minkoff at Retail’s BIG Show Student Program

The rebirth of retail

The Minkoffs and Pedro Torres-Mackie, founder and managing director for Quotidian Ventures, also discussed their visions for the new paradigm of retail. Watch their full conversation from Retail’s BIG Show about virtual reality, artificial intelligence, what’s next in omnichannel and what makes Rebecca Minkoff’s brand so successful:

And hear more insights from Rebecca Minkoff’s keynote at Retail’s BIG Show Student Program: