John Lewis has opened the call for applications for JLAB 2017, its global start-up accelerator programme.
Launched in 2014, the programme was set up to help talented retail tech start-ups fast track their growth by giving them access to John Lewis’ resources and industry insight as well as the opportunity to apply for funding in exchange for equity.
JLAB enables the business to tap into emerging innovation in retail, which stands to benefit its customers and forge long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with some of the world’s most exciting young tech companies.
The news follows the announcement that John Lewis is spending £4m on iPhones for 8,000 shop floor employees across 20 of its stores in a bid to strengthen its cross-channel consumer experience.
This year, five to ten successful applicants will have the opportunity to immerse themselves across both the John Lewis and Waitrose businesses.
Throughout the twelve-week programme, which commences in July, they will receive support from senior level mentors and free workspace in John Lewis’s head office in Victoria and Waitrose’s head office in Bracknell.
Start-ups participating in JLAB will have access to capital from the dedicated microfund provided by the John Lewis Partnership and L Marks. Each team will be eligible to apply for funding of up to £100,000 from the total pot of £200,000, in exchange for equity in their company.
Chief information officer Paul Coby said: “Industries are being disrupted almost overnight and retail technology in particular is evolving at a rapid pace. JLAB enables us to augment our understanding of innovation and partner with these disruptors to offer the next generation of customer experiences.”
Applications open on tomorrow (28 March) and will close at midnight on 30 April.
John Lewis Partnership and L Marks will then select five to ten start-ups to complete the 12 week JLAB programme. The final winner will be announced at a showcase event in September 2017.
Enter for free by clicking here