Press releases

John Lewis crowns tech startup Localz as the winner of JLAB

Monday 29 September 2014


Micro-location technology company wins £100,000 investment from John Lewis's first ever startup incubator

John Lewis today announces Localz, a startup business specialising in micro-location technology, as the winner of JLAB, the retailer's first ever technology business incubator. After 12 weeks of shaping and honing its solution within JLAB, Localz impressed the judging panel and takes home £100,000 in investment as well as the chance to trial its solution with John Lewis.

Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, said: 'Innovation is at the heart of John Lewis and JLAB, our first tech incubator, has given us a new way to explore the technologies that will change how we all shop in the future. It's been a hugely rewarding and educational experience, drawing on a diverse group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and we have a very worthy winner who we're looking forward to working with in the months ahead. I do very much believe that this is what our Founder Spedan Lewis would be doing if he was around today.'

The initial entry period for JLAB saw hundreds of startups apply to take part, pitching their ideas for innovations that could shape the future of the retail experience. In May, Localz was picked as a finalist alongside four other impressive startup businesses: Musaic, SpaceDesigned, Tap2Connect and Viewsy. Over a 12-week period based in Level 39 at Canary Wharf, the five finalists developed their ideas with the assistance of mentors from John Lewis as well as high-profile entrepreneurial figures including Luke Johnson, Chairman of Risk Capital Partners, Sara Murray OBE, founder of confused.com and Buddi, and Bindi Karia, Vice President Entrepreneur banking at Silicon Valley Bank*. The final pitch day on 23 September 2014 saw Localz emerge as the overall winner.

Localz's technology gives customers the opportunity to take advantage of some enhanced services using their smartphone based on their precise location. It's all about choice, designed to make shopping easier for those who wish to use it. For example, it could automatically offer to trigger a customer's Click & Collect order to be picked as they enter the shop to speed up the collection or help customers to navigate their way around one of our shops based on their online wish list.

Stuart Marks, partner in JLAB, said: 'The quality of entries was exceptionally high and picking a winner proved to be a very difficult process. I am sure all the companies will go on to become very successful but there has to be a winner and in this case we felt that Localz has the potential to become a long term partner to John Lewis and to provide continuous innovation for their customers. We were fortunate to have an exceptional mentoring team who allowed all the companies to achieve their true potential during the time they were at JLAB.'

Tim Andrew, Commercial Director and Co-Founder of Localz, said: 'JLAB has been an amazing experience for Localz from start to finish. The fact that my father was a Partner with John Lewis for over 30 years gave me a very personal reason to want to be a part of it, in order to try and help the company that supported me and my family when I was growing up.'

He continues: 'The support and guidance that John Lewis provided throughout the incubation period helped us refine our offering for the European market. They also gave us access to successful entrepreneurs and mentors from diverse backgrounds and industries which allowed us to accelerate our development.'

Localz's plans for the £100k investment focus on its new UK operations. The company will be further developing its technology in conjunction with John Lewis to support the new generation of mobile and micro-location experiences, and preparing to launch live trials in store. To support these goals, Localz is also looking to hire new talent to work in its London-based team.

JLAB was part of John Lewis's 150 year celebrations. For more information, please visit www.jlab.co.uk.


Notes to editors:

*The full list of external JLAB mentors is as follows:

  • Luke Johnson, Chairman of Risk Capital Partners
  • Sara Murray OBE, founder of confused.com
  • Graham Clempson, European Managing Partner at MidOcean Partners
  • Dr. Stephanie Hussels, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Full-Time MBA Director Designate at Cranfield University
  • George Berkowski, Chairman of MIT Enterprise Forum UK
  • Bindi Karia, Vice President, Origination and Entrepreneur Commercial Banking at Silicon Valley Bank.

 

John Lewis - John Lewis operates 42 John Lewis shops across the UK (31 department stores, ten John Lewis at home and a shop at Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as johnlewis.com. As part of the John Lewis Partnership, the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership, all of John Lewis's 30,000 staff are Partners in the business.

John Lewis - John Lewis, 'Multichannel Retailer of the Year 2014'¹, 'Best Overall Retailer'² and 'Best Retailer 2014'³, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores across fashion, home and technology. Johnlewis.com stocks over 250,000 products, and is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. (www.johnlewis.com). John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products - home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover - delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

¹ Oracle Retail Week Awards 2014
² Verdict Consumer Satisfaction Awards 2014
³ Which? Awards 2014

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Enquiries

For further information please contact:

Brands2Life
Jamie Ivory
Telephone: 020 7592 1200
Email: Jamie.Ivory@brands2life.com

John Lewis
Vikki Speed,
Senior Communications Officer, Corporate & Brand
Telephone: 020 7931 4921
Email: vikki.speed@johnlewis.co.uk