Following a successful first year in 2014, John Lewis has re-opened its doors to its JLAB start-up business accelerator, offering up to £100,000 to entrepreneurs and start-ups of any size who think they can shape the future of retail.
Announced at John Lewis’ AW15 Trend event, JLAB will offer funding and office space for up to 10 successful start-up companies and at the end of the 12 week programme in October, one winning start-up will receive a contract to trial their solution in John Lewis stores, and up to £100,000 in further investment.
JLAB is run in association with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks, Chairman of investment fund L Marks, who said: “I’m delighted to be working with John Lewis on JLAB for the second year. We have created something distinctive in the UK retail sector that will give start-ups access to the best mentors and an environment where they can develop their ideas. I’m certain that we will find another new and exciting technology that will strengthen John Lewis’s leadership in omnichannel retailing.”
Last year’s winner, micro- location technology specialist Localz took home the £100,000 investment and is now trialling its solution in Peter Jones. Localz’s technology gives customers the opportunity to take advantage of some enhanced services using their smartphone and based on their precise location.
Tim Andrew, co-Founder and Commercial Director of Localz, said: “Since winning JLAB, Localz has enjoyed amazing growth in our clients and a large part of this is due to the on-going support of John Lewis.”
John Lewis’ JLAB want to “unearth innovations that will shape the future of shopping, in categories ranging from ‘Meshing the Physical and Digital’ to ‘Connected Home’.”
Entrants are encouraged to be inspired by John Lewis’ core business priorities by meshing the digital and physical to aggregate data and gain new insights to help provide an improved customer journey in store, online and on mobile. While also, enabling effortless payments, a smart workforce that can deliver better customer service in store and technology that can help create a better connected home experience for customers. Finally, they want to be surprised with “innovations that are so out of this world they are hard to classify”.