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Retail Week Live is a global retail festival that takes place once a year. Connecting industry experts, business leaders and speakers, it has fast become one of the hottest events in the retail ecosystem to attend. We would know- we’ve been many times. And we haven’t just attended Retail Week Live as Go Instore; we’ve attended Retail Week Live to pitch Go Instore. Five times, to be exact. 

As our sales team prepares to attend this year for the sixth time, there’s a marked difference. Go Instore’s co-CEO, (now Co-GM for Emplifi’s Social Commerce Cloud) Andre Hordagoda, will not be appearing alongside the team, or taking part in any pitches (although, at this point, this should go without saying). This year, Andre attends Retail Week Live as a judge in the Discovery Zone, assessing an influx of exciting, innovative and fresh-faced start-ups. 

It’s an exciting feat for Go Instore, and presents a moment to look back in retrospect at our growth and achievements. Go Instore was founded in 2014, by long-term friends and business partners Andre Hordagoda and Aman Khurana. Both co-founders noticed the experiential gap between the online and offline worlds of retail, and subsequently decided it needed closing. Go Instore was born, embarking into the (sparsely populated, at the time) world of live video shopping. Beginning humbly in an office in Camden with a core team of 10, Go Instore expanded over time- first to 20 employees, then to 30, and as of 2021, over 50. The office saw a re-shuffle, navigating slightly closer south of the river to Shoreditch, and we saw our solution adopted by world-class leaders in retail, such as Currys, Samsung, Pandora and M&S.

Scaling a start-up requires tenacity, sacrifice and a community of people that truly believe in the power of their product. That’s why we’ve ensured the best in-house talent, who have grown with the company, learnt with the company, and won and lost with the company. Fellow Retail Week Live pitching-veteran Jeremy Dodd is a great example of this. Initially beginning his career in 2016, fresh out of University as a Business Development Executive, he now leads the entire business team as Head of Sales. 

In September of 2021, after a period of exponential growth and a realization that Go Instore’s platform needed to broaden its reach and function to encompass social and service based customer engagements, we proudly announced our acquisition by Emplifi. Emplifi is the global leading CX platform, built on the acquisition of SocialBakers, iPerceptions and Astute. Bringing together our rocket-ships brings new opportunities, as well as a new global family of 3,000 with offices in every continent. In April of 2022, Emplifi announced a valuation of over £1 billion- making Go Instore officially part of a Unicorn company. The journey so far has been incredible; but as we always say, it’s only just the start.

Ahead of Retail Week Live on the 24th of May, I caught up with our co-CEO Andre Hordagoda, to discuss the journey of pitching his product, to judging other peoples. 

What are you looking for from this year’s pitches? What makes a pitch stand out, in your opinion? 

“Technology needs to solve a problem. A successful pitch should demonstrate a clear value proposition,  passion for the product, confidence about the product, and most importantly: drive. You could have the greatest idea on the planet, but if you don’t have the motivation to get up and work on a dark day, then it’s going nowhere. No one has been successful without believing they were going to be successful. So, to stand out this year, bring passion, self-belief and a great value proposition.” 

If someone had told you the first time you pitched at Retail Week Live that you’d be judging the competition a few years later, how would you feel? 

“I wouldn’t be surprised! In fact, I’d have had 100% belief that it was going to happen.”

What advice would you give to those pitching this year? 

“Know your story. Deliver your value proposition succinctly, and articulate it. Delivering a well-thought out and well-articulated pitch is so important- pitching isn’t just about selling, it’s about bringing the story to life, and telling it well. Don’t just describe to the judges what the solution does, give clear and thought-out examples.”

What would you say to those who are returning to pitch this year for the third, or fourth time as you and Jeremy did? 

“Well, we did it five times. And we never won. But look at the company now- we’re part of a Unicorn, expanding from a London-based start-up of 20 to over 3,000 around the globe, selling a product that has changed the digital strategy trajectory of some of the biggest retailers in the world.”

Is winning really everything?  

“No. Turning up is what counts. The fact you’ve put yourself forward, you’ve got the guts to stand up there and do it in the first place is more important than the winning itself. Regardless of whether you win, pitching is an opportunity to talk uninterruptedly about your product- and you should take every opportunity like that that comes your way.”

This year, you can find our sales team in Booth 14. If you’re a start-up pitching this year, good luck- but remember, winning isn’t everything. In fact, a lot of the time, you can win without an official title saying so. We would know.


By Alexandra Haider – Content Marketing Lead


“By partnering with Go Instore, we’re able to deliver the same level of expert advice and guidance regardless of how customers interact with us. We couldn’t be prouder of our store colleagues, so this a perfect solution to continue driving our pet care experience forwards. Go Instore's live video solution has helped Pets at Home deliver for our customers when and where they need it the most. As a pet care business that offers a wide variety of services and product solutions, we want to create a joined-up pet care experience so that our customers know they will receive the same great level of service however they choose to shop with us.”

“90% of customers want to sit on a sofa before they purchase it. This isn’t always possible due to the often remote locations of our stores. Go Instore’s one-to-one solution has enabled our customers to trust the sales expert on the other side of the line to test out the sofa for them before completing their purchase. Our Sofologists are able to create an instant connection with customers and remove any friction from the buying journey.”

“Cycle Show, one of our biggest marketing exhibitions, was cancelled due to the pandemic – so we decided to take it online with Go Instore. The reach exceeded what we would expect to see at the in-person show with tens of thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands, tuning in. ShopStream is the best way of leveraging our top of the range showroom and committed store staff to build a true omnichannel business that millions of customers around the world can enjoy.”

“Our M&S Video Expert service helps us to offer our customers flexible, easy and rewarding shopping experiences whether they choose to shop online, in-store, or both. We are building a shopping experience that’s fit for the future as our colleagues offer the same renowned experience expected in-store, to online customers, having started on Furniture, we have expanded to menswear and will launched on Lingerie in September 2021.”