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John Lewis selects JLAB finalists

John Lewis has selected five retail tech startups for JLAB 2016, its accelerator programme run in association with innovation partner L Marks.


John Lewis selects JLAB finalists

John Lewis has selected five retail tech startups for JLAB 2016, its accelerator programme run in association with innovation partner L Marks.

The five startups were whittled down from more than 280 initial applications following a pitch day in front of a senior judging panel.

The finalists include Robotical, the creators of a fully programmable, customisable walking robot to help kids learn about coding, 3D printing and robotics, and Ding Labs, the developers of a doorbell that enables homeowners to talk to the person at their front door from anywhere in the world.

Other finalists include Link Big, the creators of a tool that turns Instagram to a social checkout by allowing customers to buy products seamlessly from their Instagram feed, DigitalBridge, who have developed a tool to help shoppers visualise new home furnishings, and Wedding Planner, which helps brides and grooms to-be plan their wedding from their phone and online.

From 4 July, finalists will spend 10 weeks embedded in the John Lewis head office, fully immersed in the operations of the business. While gaining commercial insights, the startups will also boost development of their products in collaboration with specialist mentors. All teams will be eligible to receive funding of up to £100,000 from John Lewis and L Marks.

Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis, said: “From programmable robotics to advanced visualisation, our finalists are locked into some of the most exciting growth areas in modern retail. John Lewis aims to be at the forefront of innovation, and JLAB is how we engage with the vibrant UK start up scene. The next twelve weeks will be a great period of development for the finalists, as they rapidly hone their products under guidance from John Lewis mentors and industry experts. I can’t wait to see what the final outcome will be.”

The finalists were selected by a 15-strong judging panel comprised of multiple John Lewis executives as well as external industry experts. Representatives of John Lewis included Paul Coby, IT director, Johnathan Marsh, buying director EHT, Sarah Venning, director IT strategy and planning, and Sienne Veit, director online product. External judges included Bethany Koby, chief executive of Tech Will Save Us, and Indira Thambiah, director of Silly Point Consulting.

JLAB will officially begin on 4 July and run until 23 September.


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