Waitrose and John Lewis launch applications for JLAB 2017

Five to 10 retail technology start-ups will receive 12-weeks of mentorship, free workspace at the John Lewis or Waitrose head offices and up to £100,000

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Waitrose and the John Lewis Partnership are looking for retail technology start-ups to join the 2017 intake of their JLABS accelerator programme.

Run in association with innovation specialist L Marks, this is the fourth year for the programme, which gives emerging start-ups access to resources, support and equity funding.

Five to 10 successful applicants will take part in a 12-week programme, receiving mentorship and free workspace at the John Lewis head office in Victoria and the Waitrose head office in Bracknell.

Participants will be able to apply for funding of up to £100,000 from a dedicated £200,000 microfund in exchange for a share in their company.

This year JLABS is looking for retail tech start-ups focused on the following areas:

• Amazing Food Experiences – systems to make food service to customers more convenient, exciting and innovative
• Amazing Store Experiences – partnerships with start-ups that will make in-store experiences “more inspiring and individual”
• Effortless Shopping – solutions to improve online and offline shopping experiences for customers
• Help Me Live a Healthier Life – health and wellbeing solutions that can be used both online and in store to help customers improve their lifestyles
• Smarter Supply Chain – ideas that disrupt and improve traditional supply chain practices
• Surprise us – innovative ideas that don’t fit into a classification

Paul Coby, chief information officer of John Lewis Partnership, commented: “Waitrose involvement in JLAB means we can now provide start-ups with unprecedented access to two of the UK’s leading retailers and ensure we add value to these fledgling companies, in the same spirit of cooperation the John Lewis Partnership was founded on.”

Stuart Marks, chairman of L Marks, said: “At a time when most large companies are seeing disruption all around them, the John Lewis Partnership has willingly opened up its entire business up to assist and develop start-ups.

“We are excited to have Waitrose join the programme and bringing with it their unique grocery related categories. We expect this to be our best JLAB yet.”

Applications for JLAB close at midnight on 30 April 2017. Find out more and enter here.

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