John Lewis has chosen five finalists for its JLAB incubator that it believes have the potential to shape the shopping experience of the future.
The retailer, which launched the scheme with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks in March, singled out the finalists after a heavy round of pitching to its judging panel on 20 May.
Through the project, it hopes to identify and develop the products and solutions that will give it a competitive advantage over its rivals.
The five start-up companies will now be given dedicated office space at JLAB’s London hub, located in Canary Warf, as well as initial funding of £12,500 and access to John Lewis’ proprietary technology.
They will also be given guidance from full mentor panel consisting of experts in private equity, technology and retail.
The five finalists are: in-store digital engagement firm Localz; wireless sound system for smart homes Musaic; online 3D room planning firm SpaceDesigned; smart labelling for after sales-care specialist Tap2Connect, and a second in-store digital engagement specialist Viewsy.
Following a 12-week incubation period starting on June 9, the JLAB panel will select a winning company who will receive up to £100,000 in further investment and the chance to trial their solution in-store. Should this be a success, their solution may be implemented across the John Lewis estate.
John Lewis IT director Paul Coby commented: “Innovation is at the heart of John Lewis Partnership’s DNA, in our 150th year I am delighted that we will be working with some of the best technology innovators to develop better products and better customer service.
“We’re confident that the JLAB finalists each have an idea with real potential to either improve the shopping experience or offer customers something new to use in the home. I really feel that if our Founder Spedan Lewis were alive today he would be starting a tech incubator.”