After a competitive application process, the John Lewis Partnership has selected five retail tech startups for JLAB 2017, its accelerator programme run in association with innovation partner L Marks.
Now in its fourth year, JLAB has become the UK's largest retail tech accelerator, with Waitrose joining John Lewis for the first time this year, broadening access and opportunities for UK and international startups with the best disruptive ideas in the retail and food services space.
Female-led startups will be strongly represented in this year's programme, with three of the five companies in this year's cohort launched by women. The finalists were chosen from more than 300 applications, following a successful pitch to senior John Lewis and Waitrose executives.
The finalists will spend 12 weeks working from the head offices of both Waitrose and John Lewis, developing their ideas while gaining invaluable access to John Lewis and Waitrose resources, as well as industry-leading insight from specialist mentors. 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.
The following finalists will begin JLAB's 12 week programme:
- Mucho – a smart grocery shopping app which provides daily personalised recipes and enables you to order ingredients when you need them
- Exaactly - an intelligent addressing system that enables customers to mark any location for delivery, empowering them to get orders anywhere. First time, every time
- WeFiFo – This digital social hub connects home chefs, supper club hosts and professional chefs with paying guests
- BB1 – a data analytics solution that uses customer behaviour to help businesses optimise their ways of working, monitoring an assortment of variables such as customer footfall
- Journifi - linking 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.'
JLAB will run until late September. For more information visit http://jlab.co.uk.
Notes to editors
The John Lewis Partnership operates 48 John Lewis shops across the UK, johnlewis.com, 354 Waitrose shops, waitrose.com and business to business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £11bn. It is the UK's largest example of an employee-owned business where all 86,700 staff are Partners in the business.
Waitrose - voted Best Supermarket in the Which? Customer Survey 2017 awards - currently has 354 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 64 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations. It combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop - dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced, combined with high standards of customer service. Waitrose also exports its products to 58 countries worldwide and has eight shops which operate under licence in the Middle East. Waitrose's omnichannel business includes the online grocery service Waitrose.com, as well as specialist online shops including waitrosecellar.com for wine.
John Lewis - John Lewis operates 48 John Lewis shops across the UK (34 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as johnlewis.com. It is part of the John Lewis Partnership, the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership and all 30,000 John Lewis staff are Partners in the business. John Lewis, 'Best In-Store Experience 2017', 'Best Furniture Retailer 2017,' 'Best Homewares Retailer 2017'1, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores across fashion, home and technology. Johnlewis.com stocks over 280.000 products and is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. 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.
1Verdict Consumer Satisfaction Awards 2017
You can follow John Lewis on the following social media channels:
L Marks is a corporate innovation specialist and startup investor, building bridges between big companies seeking innovation and disruptive startups. Founded by serial entrepreneur Stuart Marks, L Marks work with some of the UK's biggest brands, including DPD, John Lewis and William Hill, running bespoke startup partnership programmes across industry sectors, supporting rapid innovation and connecting them with the best startups. Each programme is tailored to deliver real solutions to the corporate partners frustrations and opportunities, as well as creating real opportunities for startups to test and grow their product with a major partner.
For more information please contact:
Rob Joyce, Antidote Communications
Telephone: 0203 740 4009