Walmart Brings Virtual Reality to Retail With Purchase of Spatialand
Walmart’s tech incubator in Silicon Valley, Store No 8, has acquired Spatialand, a virtual reality software firm, as its third portfolio company.
While much of the focus in using VR has been on gaming and entertainment, “virtual reality has the potential to reinvent the consumer experience—with an experience we call contextual commerce,” according to a Store No 8 blog post Monday by Katie Finnegan, Walmart’s vice president of incubation and principal and founder of Store No 8.
Venice, CA-based Spatialand worked with Walmart on a project last year, an experience that led to the acquisition, according to the blog post. Kim Cooper, who is Spatialand’s founder, and about 10 employees will join Walmart. Finnegan, who has been overseeing the Store No. 8 incubator, will serve as interim CEO of the new virtual reality company.
Finnegan writes that the group will be working in stealth mode and that it’s “too early” to share what the team is working on next except to say that “we will continue to evolve this technology and develop new product exploration through immersive retail environments.”
Store No 8 was founded last March by Walmart to be the retailer’s in-house innovation skunkworks. Since then, the division has made a number of hires to build up its roster of talent and tech. Last May, Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss joined Walmart to oversee Code Eight, Store No 8’s first portfolio company.
“Store No 8” was named for the store location where Walmart founder Sam Walton used to try new things, for “creating, for incubating businesses that will create the capability of the future of retail,” Lori Flees, the retailer’s senior vice president of next generation retail and principal of Store No 8, said in a National Retail Federation podcast Monday.