After a competitive application process, the John Lewis Partnership has selected five retail tech startups for JLAB 2017, its accelerator programme run in association with innovation partner L Marks.
Now in its fourth year, JLAB has become the UK’s largest retail tech accelerator, with Waitrose joining John Lewis for the first time this year, broadening access and opportunities for UK and international startups with the best disruptive ideas in the retail and food services space.
Female-led startups will be strongly represented in this year’s programme, with three of the five companies in this year’s cohort launched by women. The finalists were chosen from more than 300 applications, following a successful pitch to senior John Lewis and Waitrose executives.
Selected startups include a smart grocery shopping app, a new addressing system and a software to analyse customer behaviour
The finalists will spend 12 weeks working from the head offices of both Waitrose and John Lewis, developing their ideas while gaining invaluable access to John Lewis and Waitrose resources, as well as industry-leading insight from specialist mentors. At the end of the 12-week programme, each team will have an opportunity to pitch for up to £100,000 in funding in exchange for equity, from a combined fund of £200,000.
The following finalists will begin JLAB’s 12 week programme:
Mucho – a smart grocery shopping app which provides daily personalised recipes and enables you to order ingredients when you need them.
Exaactly – an intelligent addressing system that enables customers to mark any location for delivery, empowering them to get orders anywhere.
WeFiFo – This digital social hub connects home chefs, supper club hosts and professional chefs with paying guests.
BB1 – a data analytics solution that uses customer behaviour to help businesses optimise their ways of working, monitoring an assortment of variables such as customer footfall.
Journifi – linking online and in-store shopping by providing customers with personalised in-store experiences – such as tailored personal shopper sessions – based on their online behaviour and tastes.
‘Some of the most exciting emerging technology’
Paul Coby, Chief Information Officer at the John Lewis Partnership, said: ‘We’re incredibly excited to welcome a fresh wave of innovators into JLAB this year, and we look forward to helping them fast track their fresh ideas into the lives of our customers. With Waitrose on board, JLAB now offers unrivalled expertise across two of the country’s leading retailers and this has sparked a record number of applications this year. We look forward to supporting and nurturing our five finalists as they shape and develop their products under the guidance of the John Lewis Partnership.’
Stuart Marks, technology entrepreneur and Chairman of L Marks, said: ‘As finalists in the UK’s largest retail tech accelerator, these startups can expect an unprecedented level of support and guidance. The companies enrolled in this year’s JLAB bring together some of the most exciting emerging technology across the fast-moving retail and grocery sectors, and I’m sure they’ll benefit hugely from the industry-leading insight that only John Lewis and Waitrose can provide.’