John Lewis has unveiled the five retail tech start-ups who will take part in its accelerator programme JLAB 2017.
Among the five finalists in the scheme, run in partnership with L Marks, are a smart grocery shopping app, a new addressing system and a software which uses artificial intelligence to predict footfall. They will all receive 12 weeks’ mentoring and have access to up to £100,000 in funding.
Now in its fourth year JLAB has become the UK’s largest retail tech accelerator following the decision of Waitrose to partner with sister business John Lewis on the scheme. The finalists, three of which have been founded by women, will now spend 12 weeks working at the John Lewis and Waitrose headquarters and at the end will be given the opportunity to pitch up for to £100,000 in funding, in exchange for equity, from a total funding pot of £200,000.
Chosen from 300 applicants, the finalists are:
- 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 – a digital social hub that 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 taste
“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,” said John Lewis chief information officer Paul Coby.
Stuart Marks, technology entrepreneur and chairman of L Marks, added: “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.”