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Brief Published: 4 Mar 2014

John Lewis Nurtures Tech Start-ups

Extra
John Lewis in-store tech

UK department store John Lewis has announced the launch of its JLab programme: a brand new platform created to support innovative British tech start-ups. By nurturing new innovations, and the entrepreneurial talent behind them, the brand will shrewdly put itself at the cutting edge of retail technology.

John Lewis will be working with British technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks – an investor who specialises in companies dealing with big data – to select five start-ups to be based within JLab: a standalone creative campus located in Canary Wharf (London’s banking district) from June until September this year.

The groups working at the incubation hub will be supported by a team of John Lewis leaders and external mentors – all yet to be revealed – with the aim of developing new technological platforms to boost the retail experience. At the end of the four-month scheme, John Lewis will select one standout group to receive a £50,000 ($83,000) investment from the store – a figure that will be matched by Marks.

Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis, commented: “As a big business we have a certain way of doing things, and this is a chance to inject some of the spirit of a ‘start-up’.”

John Lewis plans to trial the solutions presented by the start-ups in its stores, with the possibility of extending them across the John Lewis estate. The brand has stated that it will be on the lookout for technologies that provide a sophisticated omni-channel experience, demonstrate innovation around the ‘internet of things’, or offer solutions using data to drive real-time personalisation in-store.

For more on this topic, see the section on Brands as Tech Incubators in Start-Up Thinking, part of our Thinking Digitally Industry Trend.

See also John Lewis Digital Update, Omni-Channel Retailing, Data Tracking and Digitising the Department Store.

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