John Lewis today revealed the five startup businesses that have made it to the final stage of JLAB, the retailer's first-ever technology business incubator. From 3D room planners and in-store digital engagement to wireless sound systems and smart labels for after-sales care, the five finalists represent a range of innovative ideas with the potential to shape the shopping experience of the future.
The five JLAB finalists are:
Localz, in-store digital engagement
Musaic, wireless sound system for smart homes
SpaceDesigned, online 3D room planning
Tap2Connect, smart labelling for after-sales care
Viewsy, in-store digital engagement
The final five were selected by the JLAB panel, comprising of John Lewis representatives, technology entrepreneur and JLAB partner Stuart Marks and a selection of external mentors, following a pitch day on 20 May. The five startup companies will now be given dedicated office space at JLAB's London hub, located within Level39, as well as initial funding of £12,500, access to John Lewis proprietary technology (platforms, data, APIs etc.) and access to the full mentor panel, which includes experts such as Luke Johnson, chairman of risk capital partners, and Sarah Murray OBE, founder of confused.com, alongside a range of John Lewis leaders. JLAB will be situated in Level39's High Growth Space, which is based on the 42nd floor of Canary Wharf's iconic One Canada Square building.
Following a 12-week incubation period, the JLAB panel will select a winning company who will receive up to £100,000 in further investment and the chance to trial their solution in-store. Should this be a success, their solution may be implemented across the John Lewis estate.
Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis, says: "Innovation is at the heart of John Lewis Partnership's DNA, in our 150th year I am delighted that we will be working with some of the best technology innovators to develop better products and better customer service. We're confident that the JLAB finalists each have an idea with real potential to either improve the shopping experience or offer customers something new to use in the home. I really feel that if our founder Spedan Lewis were alive today he would be starting a tech incubator."
Stuart Marks, technology entrepreneur and partner in JLAB, says: "We were very pleased with the quality of companies that attended the pitch day. We are certain that the companies that we have selected will thrive at JLAB over the summer and benefit from the exceptional mentoring team and access to the John Lewis business. Every company has the potential to win and it will be exciting to watch how they develop."
JLAB will officially open on Monday 9 June.