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Startup Qudini shortlisted for £100,000 John Lewis fund

Digital queue management system Qudini is in the running to win £100,000 of venture capital funding as part of John Lewis’s technology acceleration programme JLab.

The company, run by Imogen Wethered and Fraser Hardy, has created a system that tells customers how long they need to wait for a shop assistant and sends a text when someone is available. It aims to prevent sales lost when customers walk out and encourages people to browse with a more accurate indication of when they will be served.

JLab was launched by John Lewis and tech entrepreneur Stuart Marks’ venture fund L Marks to find the next big thing in retail technology.

The department store chain has chosen five finalists, one of which will be selected – following a pitch day in September – to receive the funding, along with space in John Lewis’s head office for 12 weeks and access to a John Lewis panel of mentors.

Other finalists include Peeple, which links a camera on customers’ front doors to a phone enabling them to track deliveries; Alfred, which connects all smart home devices through an app; Space Lounges, which allows users to order from coffee shops through an app on a smartphone; and Ikinin, a solar-powered charging cover for iPhones.

Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis, said: “Each idea has huge potential to bring something new, whether to our customers’ experience of shopping or to consumers’ everyday lives.“

Beacon and smartphone technology specialist start-up Localz was the winner of last year’s competition, securing £100,000 of investment and a trial in John Lewis stores.

@Tara_Hounslea

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