John Lewis 2015 JLAB Open for Business

John LewisJohn Lewis has launched its 2015 JLAB Accelerator, the startup accelerator it runs in association with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks’ investment fund, L Marks.

Following a successful first year in 2014, JLAB will offer funding and office space to up to 10 startup businesses. At the end of the programme in October, one winning startup will receive a contract to trial its solution in John Lewis stores, and up to £100,000 in further investment.

Applications are now open to startups at any stage that have innovative ideas for new retail solutions. There are several categories for entries, born out of John Lewis’ core business priorities. They are:

Meshing the Digital and Physical – new technology that enables John Lewis to aggregate data and gain new insights to help provide an improved customer journey in store, online and on mobile.

Effortless Payments – technology to enable seamless omnichannel payment journeys in store, switching between customer or partner mobile devices and fixed point EPOS.

Smart Partners – ideas on enabling a smart workforce to deliver better customer service in store while reducing low-value activities.

Connected Home – technology that can help John Lewis develop a differentiated, unique, connected home experience for its customers.

Surprise Us – innovations that are so out of this world they are hard to classify.

Last year’s winner, micro-location technology specialist Localz, took home £100,000 in investment and is now trialling its solution in John Lewis’ Peter Jones stores. “Since winning JLAB, Localz has enjoyed amazing growth in clients, and a large part of this is due to the ongoing support of John Lewis,” said Localz co-founder, Tim Andrew.

The deadline for applications is midnight UK time on 1 May. Once the applications are in, John Lewis and Stuart Marks will select up to ten startups who will receive a 12-week residency in the JLAB over the summer, with access to mentors to help develop their ideas. The winner will be chosen at a final pitch day in September.

You can apply for a place in the 2015 JLAB here.