Best Buy is throwing a bone to startups.
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The big box tech retailer on Monday announced it will be clearing some space in its stores for products and services from startups as part of a new program dubbed Ignite. The company also soon plans to launch a new section on its website where customers can learn about and browse the newest products from fledgling tech companies.
At this point, the new Ignite experience is only available in Best Buy's new Mountain View store, which opened on Sept. 16 after relocating from Sunnyvale. There, customers can check out a selection of crowd-funded gadgets from startups, including the Tangram smart rope, Flic smart button, RoBo 3D printer, Zuli Smartplug, and Noke Bluetooth padlock — all of which are also available on BestBuy.com. The Ignite space also features wearable technology from Under Armour as well as headphones from Muzik and Bragi.
Those outside of the Bay Area will be able to browse an expanded selection of products from startups on Best Buy's website later this fall when the new Ignite page launches.
"The new section will include a variety of gadgets, including many of those currently featured in the Best Buy store in Silicon Valley," the company said.
Meanwhile, as part of its Ignite effort, Best Buy is partnering with PCH, a product innovation company that works closely with startups to help bring their products to market, though details of the collaboartion are scant at this point. The partnership aims to "make it easier and quicker for Best Buy customers to get their hands on startups' innovative products, both in Best Buy stores and on BestBuy.com," the retail giant said. "Now, select startups will be able to take advantage of PCH's services, including assistance with product development, manufacturing, packaging and inventory management."
Rival Amazon has a similar section of its website, dubbed Launchpad, which lets shoppers "discover unique and unexpected products from today's brightest startups."