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JLAB - John Lewis Incubator for Retail Tech Startups Returns
by Startacus Admin
Now in its second year, the aptly named JLAB is focused on developing those new technologies / products / services that will play a leading role in shaping the retail landscape of the future.
It’s all part of John Lewis’s goal to lead the way in innovative retail technologies, and to create shopping experiences which are as enjoyable, relaxing, efficient, integrated, and seamless as possible.
In partnership with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks’ investment fund L Marks, up to ten of the most promising startups will be offered funding, office space and mentorship over the course of the 12 week programme this summer. Then in October, the most successful technology innovation will be given up to £100,000 in investment alongside the chance to trial their retail solution within John Lewis Stores.
Who are they looking for?
Well, they have suggested 5 categories of Retail Tech startupswhich might like to apply for their JLAB Incubator; but as you will see, they are very open minded regarding who can apply and what stage of development they are at.
Their categories are;
Meshing the Digital and Physical: new technology that enables John Lewis to aggregate data and gain new insights to help provide an improved customer journey in store, online, and on mobile
Effortless Payments: technology to enable seamless omnichannel payment journeys in store, switching between customer or Partner mobile devices and fixed point EPOS
Smart Partners: ideas on enabling a smart workforce to deliver even better customer service in store while reducing low value activities
Connected Home: technology that can help John Lewis develop a differentiated, unique, connected home experience for its customers
Surprise Us: innovations that are so out of this world they are hard to classify
Last Year’s JLAB Winner
Last year’s winning startup Localz is a micro-technology specialist which pocketed £100,000 and has just finished its first trial of its innovative retail solution in Peter Jones. Localz’ clever technology allows integration between the store and the customer’s mobile device, opening up the opportunity for a whole range of features to be utilised. For example, in one instance a customer’s entrance into the store can automatically trigger their Click & Collect order to be picked, so that it will be ready for them when their reach the collection point. Another feature will help customers to navigate the store based on their online wish list, meaning that they save time and effort in finding all of the products that they want to purchase.
Localz co-founder Tim Andrew, said of their experience:
"Since winning JLAB, Localz has enjoyed amazing growth in our clients, and a large part of this is due to the ongoing support of John Lewis which has worked closely with us to maintain their edge as a leading omni channel retailer. We’re excited to see what the future holds and will continue to work with John Lewis on our Click and Collect solution”.
(psst) We like Localz so much that we’ve added their promo video at the bottom of the post!
This year’s details...
All of the startups who win places in the incubator will have the opportunity to receive;
Up to £20,000 initial investment per team.
Access to John Lewis proprietary technology, data and customers.
Mentorship from John Lewis insiders to help improve their product.
Mentorship from top entrepreneurs to push them to new heights.
Dedicated office space in central London.
The chance to secure follow on funding of £100,000.
The chance to secure a contract with John Lewis.
Startups at all stages of development can apply for the JLab incubator now for free and it will close for entries on 1st May 2015.
After the closing date the teams at Stuart Marks and John Lewis will put their heads together and select up to ten of the startup applications to be based within JLAB for 12 weeks this summer.
A final pitch day will take place in the Autumn, during which the overall winner will be selected!
All sound rather intriguing? Pop yourself over to the cheery JLAB website for some more info on everything that’s going on.
**DEADLINE ALERT! There’s isn’t much time left to get your application in, so if you reckon this is the incubator for you then you’d better get a wriggle on!