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John Lewis launches JLAB accelerator for 2016

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John Lewis has opened applications for JLAB 2016, its startup accelerator programme. Now in its third year, JLAB supports the development of “bold new ideas”, and aims to drives innovation in retail.   

JLAB 2016 immerses startups in the workings of John Lewis, exposing them to different facets of one of the department store retailer. Based in John Lewis’ London HQ, participants will work with top-level mentors for 12 weeks, assigned according to specific industry expertise.  

The startups will receive commercial insight offered by John Lewis’ commercial, retail, online and IT directors, and collect public feedback via the use of customer panels. Six months’ free office space will also be made available to one company, as voted for by John Lewis Partners. When combined, the aspiration is that JLAB will produce a product or service that will help shape the retail experience for customers of the future. 

Startups participating in JLAB will have access to capital from the microfund attached to the programme. Each team will be eligible to apply for funding of up to £100,000 from the total pot of £200,000, in exchange for equity in their company.  

Innovations from 2016 JLAB will be designed to meet the needs of the modern day John Lewis shopper, who navigates different channels seamlessly to browse, purchase and collect goods. JLAB is inviting startups to collaborate with John Lewis in the following categories: 

Health and Wellbeing:
Taking care of our bodies has never been so important. Looking for exciting new products or services that can help customers look after themselves 

Simplify My Life: 
Technology has helped us to simplify our lives in many ways, and John Lewis is looking for new ways to do this for its customers 

Effortless Shopping:
Bring digital inspiration to shops and help John Lewis to further understand customers’ in store behaviour. Enable John Lewis to enhance the experience in store through self-service and other innovations 

Tech for Kids:
Exciting and innovative new products aimed at the tech-savvy kids of today 

Surprise Us:
Innovations that are so out of this world they can’t be classified 

Applications are now open, and will close on 8 May. John Lewis and L Marks will then select up to five startups to complete the 12 week JLAB programme, commencing in July 2016. The overall winner will be announced at a showcase event in September 2016. 

Published on Monday 04 April by Veebs Sabharwal

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