John Lewis opens entries for third annual start-up accelerator

Retailer is giving innovative tech start-ups the chance to secure a commercial partnership and receive share of £200,000 funding pot

John Lewis is looking for “bold” technology start-ups to apply for its 2016 JLAB accelerator programme, with the opportunity to secure a commercial partnership with the high street retail chain.

Running for its third year in partnership with L Marks, the 12-week JLAB accelerator looks to support the development of solutions that will help “shape the retail experience for customers of the future” across six categories including health and wellbeing, ‘tech for kids’, and ‘effortless shopping’.

Up to five start-ups will be selected to receive mentoring from John Lewis’ commercial, retail, online and IT directors at the JLAB London headquarters and can also apply to receive a share of up to £100,000 from a £200,000 funding pot in exchange for equity in their company.

Six months’ free office space will also be made available to one start-up, as voted for by John Lewis partners.

John Lewis IT director, Paul Coby, said of the relaunch: “JLAB is about bringing disruption and innovation to the retail industry – we want to develop ideas and technology that really excite John Lewis shoppers. To do this, it’s essential that we work collaboratively with fast-growing businesses to add value to their operations.

“We’ve seen from previous years the value of combining an agile start-up mentality with John Lewis’ extensive industry knowledge, and I’m personally looking forward to working with the 2016 applicants.”

Chris Chuter, CEO of 2015 JLAB winner Peeple, added:

“JLAB turned us into a global company. Working with John Lewis and L Marks took us to the next level, and helped us better understand and create a product for the international market.”

Entries for JLAB close on Sunday 8 May, to enter click here.

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