How We’re Building The World’s Largest & Most Important Commerce Event
Announcing My New Venture
Oct 3, 2015 by Anil Aggarwal
I’m thrilled to announce my new venture—Shoptalk—the Tech Event for NextGen Commerce, which will be held May 16-18, 2016 at the Aria in Las Vegas
While Shoptalk is the seventh business I’ve started, it’s more than just another company. It’s a much-needed platform and catalyst—in the form of an annual event—for the commerce ecosystem, enabling key stakeholders to evolve as consumers fundamentally transform how they discover, shop and buy almost everything.
My 15-year career as an entrepreneur has had two distinct components: Tech Entrepreneur and Industry Builder. As a Tech Entrepreneur I’ve built two venture-backed companies that leveraged the Internet and mobile to help transform money from paper to digital, the latest of which, TxVia, was acquired by Google in 2012. As an Industry Builder, I’ve started a trade association, publishing business and two conferences—the most recent being Money20/20—all of which became critical to the ecosystems they served by helping companies navigate their paths forward and empowering people to work together in new ways during times of complex and systemic changes.
I’ve never been more excited than I am now. Shoptalk is an Industry Building initiative designed from the ground up around the technologies and trends that are completely reshaping how everyone creates, curates and consumes practically every product, service and experience. None of the companies—whether startups or established players—bringing these disruptive innovations to market have achieved their full potential. But the implications of their business models and the relentlessness of their teams mean that they will increasingly define the future of commerce.
The media and the industry often generically refer to these disrupters with easily consumable terms like ‘on-demand services’, ‘the sharing economy’ or ‘subscription services’. In other cases, they’re conveniently referred to as the ‘Uber-for-X’ or the ‘Warby Parker-for-Y’. While people try to explain what these and similar terms mean, the reality is that the defining lines across these companies are blurry at best. More importantly, the impact of these organizations and their evolving models on mainstream commerce, including retail, isn’t even yet a meaningful part of the industry-wide dialogue.
I founded Shoptalk with Jonathan Weiner and Don Kingsborough to be a multi-year journey for everyone in commerce—from the major retailers and brands to leading Internet and tech companies to rebellious start-ups to the investment community—to track and talk about disruptive innovation, starting with the market as it exists today. Our premise is simple: we can envision much of what the future will be by focusing on the innovators of today and following defining developments over time. We used the same strategy with Money20/20 for the evolution of payments and financial services and, in an era where innovation is paramount, Money20/20 became the world’s largest industry event in just three years.
Like any startup, we’ve raised capital ($2.5m from Commerce Ventures, Primary Venture Partners and others), built an incredible team (that includes Zia Daniell Wigder, Deborah Weinswig and Sonal Gandhi) and are executing relentlessly every day (stay tuned for announcements). Our focus is on parsing through every technology, trend, vertical and company in commerce with an intellectual rigor that lets us piece the industry together and allows the entire ecosystem to better understand disruptive innovations and their widespread implications.
I’m thrilled to be part of a team that has not only deep experience in all key areas but also an unmatched passion to deliver something extraordinarily valuable to the industry. We’ve been working hard in stealth for many months with an incredible external support infrastructure that’s allowed us to not only articulate an entirely new thesis for commerce, but also confirm dozens of CEOs as speakers and put us on the path to creating a unique experience. Now that we’ve publicly announced the event, our rate of progress is increasing exponentially.
The inaugural Shoptalk event will be held May 16-18, 2016 at the Aria in Las Vegas with more than 2,000 attendees and hundreds of CEOs. Given how quickly innovation catches on, we expect Shoptalk to take center stage and become a stimulus for the development and growth of the ecosystem from the very first event. We welcome you to join the Shoptalk journey as attendees, speakers, sponsors and/or exhibitors.