The Lead Innovation Forum 2023


The Innovation Forum brings together investors, entrepreneurs and corporate innovators focused on next generation technology serving retail, fashion, and consumer. This day-long event will feature panel discussions, fireside chats and structured networking. The Innovation Forum will also showcase nearly 30 start-ups – both retail tech, martech, payments/fintech, supply chain and leading DTC. 

This Innovation Forum is curated to help investors and corporate innovation leaders identify the trends (and companies) that will enable the future of brand-to-consumer.  Join with peers, partners and entrepreneurs all in one place to hear from leading investors, corporate innovators and high-potential start ups.


The agenda is designed to help investors and corporate innovators identify the future of the industry. The day includes panel discussions with leading investors and corporate innovation leaders; CEO Showcases from Start-Up CEOs (tech and DTC), and roundtable discussions for small group discussions.   

Preliminary Agenda Topics

Macro Factors Impacting Retail Tech

Where Opportunity Exists in Retail

The Innovation Mindset

M&A, Consolidation and Fragmentation

Successful POC and Scale

Winning the Long Tail: The Shopify Ecosystem

Top Use Cases for Generative AI in Retail in 2026




Investment Trend Panel Discussions 

Curated CEO Showcases 

Facilitated Networking

Roundtable Discussions 

Cocktail Hour

Panel Discussions

Leading investors with proven track records in tech and consumer start-ups discuss the investment trends, opportunities, companies and future of the space. Sessions focus on macro trends, disruptive innovations, emerging opportunities and the evolution of the current environment.

Lunches & Networking

Join an ecosystem of investors, innovators and entrepreneurs. Built with ample time for meeting and connecting, Innovation Forum offers private lunches, roundtable discussions and an environment that is designed for conversation.

CEO Showcase

Using The Leading 100 List and Foremost 50 List Selection Criteria, these companies have displayed excellence in innovation, TAM, leadership, commercialization and investor value creation. In rapid fire ‘CEO Showcases’ these companies offer a glimpse into the next wave of innovation and present potential investment opportunities.


The Lead publishes a number of research lists annually that highlight companies (and executives) that are breaking from the pack, setting new industry standards, and evolving the future of retail and D2C.

The Leading 100 List recognizes high-impact technology start-ups that are solving business problems, powering growth, and helping brands deliver on customer expectations. 

The Foremost 50 List highlights direct-to-consumer brands that are challenging traditional go-to-market approaches, breaking old business models and rapidly scaling.

All companies were vetted and selected using a rigorous methodology.


The Innovation Forum is an ecosystem built around the innovation economy. If you are engaged with the start-up, venture or corporate innovation categories, this is an ideal environment at which to join.

Past Sponsors Include: