Staples Explores New Product Development Through Crowdfund Contest

A competition for startup companies created by Fundable and sponsored by Staples, the Crowd2Shelf Contest, drew thousands of participants and demonstrated that the retailer could find a fresh way to source some new products.

Startups across the country competed for a chance to crowdfund their way into a slot in the retailer’s assortment, Staples reported.

Contestants demonstrated demand for their innovative products by gathering votes and crowdfunding pledges. A panel including Fundable and Staples representatives chose the winners based on votes, success of crowdfunding campaigns and each judges’ understanding of what it takes for a startup to be successful.

The winning items initially debut on Staples’ new entrepreneurial store at Staples.com/fundable. The online store launch marks the first time the retailer has used crowdfunding to determine market demand and social support as part of its product selection process, Staples noted.

“We’re proud to showcase our Crowd2Shelf entrepreneurs through our new online store and help them launch their ideas,” said Daniel Reilly, Staples director/product design and innovation. “We were incredibly impressed with the caliber of startup product companies that participated and are thrilled to offer our customers these innovative new products.”

The winners as announced by Staples come from startups operating from coast to coast, and include:

  • EVA, Wilmington, DE. Remote-controlled recessed LED lighting, exclusive to Staples.
  • nHand, Tulsa, OK. Secure tablet holder.
  • Plum, Austin, TX. Smartphone-controlled lighting.
  • Jorno, Los Angeles. Folding Bluetooth keyboard, exclusive to Staples.
  • The Plug Radio Outlet, Hollywood, CA. Mounted Bluetooth music player, exclusive to Staples.

The business strategy firm Sprosty Network also contributed to the Crowd2Shelf Contest, Staples noted.