Revealed: The five start-ups joining the UK’s largest retail accelerator

Three of the five businesses selected for the The John Lewis Partnership are female-led, having been selected from more than 300 applications

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The five start-ups joining the UK’s largest retail accelerator, the John Lewis Partnership (JLAB) 2017, have been revealed.

Targeted towards UK tech startups with the best disruptive ideas in the retail and food services space, the competition is now in its fourth year – with Waitrose joining John Lewis for the first time this year.

Finalists will spend 12 weeks operating in the head offices of both Waitrose and John Lewis, in a bid to define their offering – while making use of John Lewis and Waitrose resources, as well as being given specialist mentors from within the industry.

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.

Encouragingly, three of the five businesses selected for JLAB are female-led, having been selected from more than 300 applications.

The five finalists to join JLAB’s 12 week programme are:

  • Mucho: A smart grocery shopping app which provides you with daily personalised recipes, while also allowing you to order ingredients when required. Mucho is founded by Young Gun Shanshan Xu, who is also co-founder of Startups 100-listed MysteryVibe
  • Exaactly: An intelligent addressing system that allows you to mark any location for delivery, helping food delivery businesses get their orders delivered quicker.
  • WeFiFo: An online platform that connects home chefs, supper club hosts and professional chefs with paying diners
  • BB1: Helps businesses optimise their way of working by using data analytics to monitor variables such as customer footfall
  • Journifi: Links 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

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.”

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