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John Lewis names five finalists for Jlab retail startup accelerator

Retailer John Lewis has decided on five finalist startups for its Jlab accelerator after a number of SMEs pitched their ideas for exploiting technology

Retailer John Lewis has decided on five finalists for its summer startup accelerator Jlab.

The decision follows a pitching session where John Lewis executives – including its director of IT strategy Sarah Venning and IT innovation manager – heard ideas from small businesses. These included themes surrounding meshing the digital and physical, effortless payments, Epos smart partners and the connected home.

“Innovation is in John Lewis’ DNA and we want to work with technology startups to define the future of retail,” said Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis.

"The five startups we’ve chosen certainly demonstrate what a wealth of great ideas there is out there. Each idea has huge potential to bring something new, whether to our customers’ experience of shopping or consumers’ everyday lives.”

The startups selected for the Jlab accelerator include queue management system Quindi, a smartphone connected peephole by Peeple, a smarthome controller app named Alfred, a solar-powered phone cover called Ikinen and an app-powered coffee shop, Space Lounges, created by a team of teenagers.

Next step in finding Jlab winner

Each of the five finalists will now receive a small amount of funding from John Lewis and the opportunity to work from office space in John Lewis’s headquarters over the summer from July 6 2015, before the finalist and Jlab winner is announced.

The finalist will receive up to £100,000 in investment and a partnership contract with the retailer.

Read more about technology at John Lewis

  • The inside story of John Lewis £40m website redevelopment project, assesses the technical and business challenges faced and its impact on the business.
  • Paul Coby, IT director, John Lewis outlines the successful actions that put the company on the innovation track.

“We were delighted to have so many high quality entrants to JLAB this year and again the standard of pitches was outstanding,” said Stuart Marks, technology entrepreneur and Jlab partner.

“It’s very hard to choose between the finalists right now, so I’ll be watching with interest to see how each finalist develops with the help of the team at John Lewis and our external mentors who, like last year, are all high-calibre and successful entrepreneurs.”

This is Jlab’s second year; the retailer chose to fund micro-location technology firm Localz from last year’s summer cohort.

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