John Lewis has launched its third annual JLab start-up accelerator programme, searching for technology firms that focus on simplifying the shopping experience and offering digital inspiration within stores.
John Lewis JLab
With support from its innovation partner L Marks, the department store chain will offer start-ups funding of up to £100,000 from a total pot of £200,000, in exchange for equity in their company. Successful applicants will also receive mentoring from John Lewis partners and one firm will receive six months’ free office space within the retailer’s headquarters.
It is looking for start-ups focused around the areas of shopping experience, as well as health and wellbeing, technology for kids and surprising innovations. The deadline for applications is May 8.
Five firms will be selected to complete the 12-week JLab programme, which starts in July. The overall winner will be announced at an event in September.
Peeple, the winner of the 2015 programme, creates software for small cameras that can be attached to existing peep-holes in doors, which can be applied to home deliveries. The product uses home Wi-Fi to alert homeowners when there is activity outside their front door.
“JLab turned us into a global company,” said chief executive Chris Chuter. “Working with John Lewis and L Marks took us to the next level, and helped us better understand and create a product for the international market.”
John Lewis IT director Paul Coby added: “JLab is about bringing disruption and innovation to the retail industry - we want to develop ideas and technology that really excite John Lewis shoppers. To do this, it’s essential that we work collaboratively with fast-growing businesses to add value to their operations.
“Under mentorship from John Lewis, JLab start-ups will have a unique opportunity to hone their ideas and create a product which has a genuinely positive impact on our customers.”