Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
said Monday it was launching a Silicon Valley-based innovation center to identify future trends in retail and commerce. The standalone incubator, known as Store No. 8, will invest in and work with venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, early-stage startups and academics, focusing on fields including robotics, augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence, according a Wal-Mart spokesman. The project was announced by Marc Lore, chief executive of Wal-Mart’s e-commerce operations, at the ShopTalk conference in Las Vegas. The new investment business is part of a broader effort to capture a larger share of the e-commerce market, which began with last year’s acquisition of Jet.com, which Lore founded. Wal-Mart has been on an e-commerce shopping spree so far in 2017, acquiring ShoeBuy in January, Moosejaw in February and Modcloth last week.