Russian Supermarket Chain X5 Scouting for Israeli Tech
Russian business magnate Mikhail Fridman, who also holds Israeli citizenship, is one of X5’s largest shareholders
London-listed Russian supermarket chain X5 Retail Group N.V. is scouting for Israeli startups for investment and collaboration opportunities, Ivan Melnik, the company’s director of business development, said in a Thursday interview with Calcalist. The company is particularly interested in startups focusing on the domains of customer experience, store operation, smart shelving, pricing systems, robotics, supporting supply chains, tracking shipments and controlling food quality and freshness, Melnik said.To locate startups, X5 is set to hold a competition in Israel. The winning company will be awarded a pilot with X5, potentially moving on to a comprehensive contract with the food retailer.
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X5 is one of Russia’s largest food retailers, having reported revenues of more than RUB 1.5 trillion (approximately $23.6 billion) in 2018. Russian business magnate Mikhail Fridman, who also holds Israeli citizenship, is one of the company’s largest shareholders. Fridman is currently examining the integration of several Israeli technologies into the company’s network, as well as the possibility of investing in Israeli startups that fit the company’s needs.
X5 has been working for years with Russian startups and the company has been wanting to reach out to additional companies, Melnik said. "We analyzed and found that Israel is one of the leading countries in the field of innovation, especially in the areas we are looking for, and we decided to focus on a market that is very culturally appropriate for us," Melnik said.
X5 supermarket. Photo: Bloomberg
At this stage, Melnik said, X5 has no intention of launching a retail operation in Israel.