John Lewis returns with JLAB start-up contest

jlab

It was a start-up based on beacons that won John Lewis’ inaugural JLAB tech accelerator programme last year, now the department store is turning to the likes of the connected home, effortless payments and meshing the digital and physical for a second spin of the contest.

The initiative is breaking down entrants into specific categories for its 2015 return in an overall bid to “develop products and services that will shape the retail experience of the future”.

Applications are now open until May 1 for the chance to win a place as one of 10 start-ups within JLAB for 12-weeks this summer, and I am honoured to be one of a number of mentors helping the participants in developing their ideas. My contemporaries will be announced in due course.

An overall winner will then be decided at a pitch day in September, receiving up to £100,000 in further investment as well as a contract to trial their solution in stores.

Said Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis: “As an established business we have certain ways of doing things and JLAB is an opportunity to inject the start-up spirit into our innovation efforts. Our inspiration is our founder Spedan Lewis – what new things would he be doing today? After the success of last year, I’m looking forward to working with a fresh group of start-ups with exciting ideas that could help shape the customer and Partner experience at John Lewis for years to come.”

The 2014 winner, Localz, is currently trialling its micro-location technology at Peter Jones. One of its key solutions surrounds triggering a customer’s Click & Collect order to be packed up for them as they enter the store in order to speed up collection times.

See more via www.jlab.co.uk, and watch this space for further news.