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JLAB 2016 awards three retail start-ups funding and contracts from John Lewis

Digital Bridge - which enables consumers to visualise new furnishings - secures £100,000, with Wedding Planner and Link Big both awarded £50,000

John Lewis and LMarks have selected three retail technology start-ups to receive a share of the £200,000 prize fund and contracts to work with John Lewis at the conclusion of the third JLAB accelerator programme.

DigitalBridge, a company that enables consumers to visualise new home furnishings, has secured £100,000, while wedding planning platform Wedding Planner and Instagram checkout tool Link Big both received £50,000 each.

After facing off competition from 280 rival entrants at pitch and demo days, Digital Bridge was trialled at the retailer's Cheadle store, with 82% of customers saying it would convince them to buy a product in store.

Link Big's live trial with the John Lewis Instagram feed saw a four-fold increase in traffic to John and a co-branded website with Wedding Planner saw a 10% increase in suppliers.

The John Lewis buying teams will continue to work with Ding Labs and Robotical, the other two companies that participated in the accelerator, to help bring their products to market.

Stuart Marks, technology entrepreneur and Chairman of L Marks, commented:

“JLAB 2016 has built on the successes of the two previous cohorts. The five finalists have all made fantastic progress over the last 10 weeks, helped by engagement from buyers, merchandisers, strategists, innovation and IT experts and many more at John Lewis and our team of first class external mentors.”

Paul Coby, chief information officer of John Lewis Partnership, said: “We are delighted to continue working with every one of the startups on JLAB 2016. This has been JLAB’s most successful year so far, because everyone involved, us included, have seen it as an opportunity to learning process.”

Henry Williams
Henry Williams

Henry has been writing for since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also contributed to many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Young Guns, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides. Before joining the team, he reviewed films for a culture website, and still harbours ambitions of being a screenwriter.


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