Originally posted on The Lead and The Robin Report

The annual research list recognizes the break-out technology start-ups driving innovation in the fashion & retail industry.

{NEW YORK, NY, May 23, 2019} The Lead has announced The Leading 100 of 2019, the highly anticipated annual research list recognizing the break-out technology start-ups driving innovation in the fashion & retail industry. Companies from across the industry value chain — including marketing, e-commerce, in-store technology, payments, supply chain, manufacturing, design & sustainability — were nominated & considered.

The Leading 100 companies are representative of game-changing approaches and technologies that are likely to disrupt existing markets and entrenched players. They represent the next generation fashion, retail and commerce technology ecosystem, while at the same time, creating high-growth businesses that offer outsized opportunity upside for investors. It is The Lead’s belief that this group collectively signals the future of the industry.

“When looking at these companies, we paid special attention to their business models, market opportunity and funding. It’s a crowded field. That said, it was important for us to select companies that are on a strong path of commercialization and are approaching exit velocity, so that we can be confident that they will not only be here in a couple of years, but have the longevity to have an outsized impact on the industry,” said Awais Khan, Head of Research at The Lead.

All companies were vetted and selected using a rigorous methodology. After reviewing the nominations, The Lead’s Head of Research, Awais Khan, led in-depth analysis into each company. The process included a detailed look at each company’s business with a focus on innovation, market opportunity, media buzz, team, commercialization, competition & investor value creation.

‘While these companies are in growth mode today, the technologies they are incubating will be main-stream in just a few year’s time. By understanding which companies are breaking-out from the pack, we hope the fashion and retail community can develop a stronger sense of where the industry is really going next,” Noah Gellman, Co-Founder & CEO of The Lead, said of the list.

The Leading 100 will be honored at The Lead Innovation Summit on July 9th & 10th, where the entire fashion and retail innovation community will converge to explore what comes next for the industry. The annual event will bring together the top fashion brand and retail thought leaders, start-up CEOs, investors, dealmakers and stakeholders that comprise The Lead’s network, spanning the fashion-retail-commerce innovation ecosystem. The goal of the event — to zero in on the sweet spot in the fashion, retail & technology markets, where innovation is shifting behavior and creating new business opportunities. The Innovation Summit will come to life in Williamsburg on Brooklyn’s Innovation Coast.

The Lead’s next annual list, The Foremost 50, will feature the break-out D2C digital native brands that are reinventing and redefining the future of the fashion and retail industry. Nominations can be submitted on The Lead’s web site at

In addition to The Leading 100, The Lead would like to recognize two companies that we are keeping an eye on. Company #101 is Afterpay, which is a category leader but not eligible due to being a publicly traded company on the Australian Stock Exchange. The Lead recognizes Shopin as 2019’s Moonshot of the Year.

The Lead bridges the fashion and retail industry with the global Silicon Valley, empowering the fashion business’ transition to digital centricity. In partnership with industry leaders, The Lead conducts research, produces a quarterly publication and holds a series of events centered on emerging technology, and its adoption, across the fashion-retail-commerce value chain. Analysts including Awais Khan (Leader in the Venture Capital Practice at KPMG & former chair of the AlwaysOn Private Company Selection Committee) track the emerging technology companies innovating at the intersection of these two industries. The Lead produces two annual lists that the fashion brand and retail community must know: The Leading 100 (B2B startups across the value chain) & The Foremost 50 (D2C digital native brands). Digital transformation in the fashion-retail-commerce space is a macro trend gaining in velocity. Our work is to reveal what is coming next and to help our community get ahead of it.

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