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John Lewis invests £100,000 in start-ups

The John Lewis Partnership has invested £100,000 in two start-ups following its fourth annual accelerator programme, JLAB.

The retailer will invest in an “intelligent” addressing system called Exaactly and a food social hub called WeFiFo. Its innovation partner L Marks will match the investment, bringing the total funding to £200,000.

Exaactly is an addressing system “that aims to put an end to failed deliveries” which has customers provide information about how to find their delivery address and their ‘safe place’ for parcels when they are not at home. Following trial runs with Waitrose products, it is now planning a similar exercise with John Lewis.

WeFiFo is a “social hub” from West Sussex which connects chefs and supper club hosts with paying guests. Following the investment it says it will explore opportunities to host dining experiences in John Lewis and Waitrose branches as well as bespoke events.

The winning start-ups competed against 300 other businesses for the investment this summer and the winners were chosen following pitches and demonstrations in front of a judging panel including senior John Lewis and Waitrose staff.

Bea Warner, co-founder and CEO of Exaactly said: ”JLAB has given us a peek behind the curtain of two of the country’s biggest retailers and an invaluable insight into how they handle delivery.

“The opportunity to run two pilots across the Partnership has equipped us with the product know-how we needed to make that final mile of delivery even more straightforward for consumers and retailers.

“The investment signifies a big step for our business as we prepare for a full launch to market in early January 2018.”



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