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John Lewis JLab returns with £100k prize for tech startups

John Lewis is offering technology startups the chance to win £100,000 as part of its second JLab initiative.

The department store group is hoping to discover the future of shopping by inviting entrepreneurs with a business at any stage of growth to apply for the 12-week technology incubator programme.

For the best 10 entrants, an initial £20,000 investment per startup has been set aside by the company, with the overall winner set to land five times that. 

The winner will be given access to John Lewis technology, data and customers, mentorship and central London office space, and sign a contract with the retailer.

John Lewis has said it is particularly interested in startups that offer solutions in five categories: meshing the digital and physical; effortless payments; smart partners; connected home; and a wild card category.

Applications, which can be made online, close at midnight on May 1. The overall winner will be decided at a final pitch day in September. 

The first JLab took place last year. The top prize went to beacon and smartphone technology specialist Localz, which is now being trialled in the Peter Jones store in Sloane Square, west London, before being rolled out to a further three branches.

For more information about the scheme or to apply, go to Jlab.co.uk

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