John Lewis Launches 2016 JLab Accelerator

John Lewis - JLAB
John Lewis has opened applications for the 2016 cohort of JLab, its startup accelerator programme run in association with innovation partner and startup investor L Marks. Now in its third year, JLab aims to support the development of new ideas and innovation in retail.

Based in John Lewis London HQ, participants will work with top-level mentors for 12 weeks assigned according to specific industry expertise, and be immersed in the working of John Lewis, exposing them to different facets of the omnichannel retailer.

Aimed at meeting the needs of the modern day shopper who navigates different channels seamlessly to browse, purchase and collect goods, this years JLab will focus on health and wellbeing, tech for kids, effortless shopping and simplification through technology.

“JLab is about bringing disruption and innovation to the retail industry – we want to develop ideas and technology that really excite John Lewis shoppers,” said Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis. “To do this, its essential that we work collaboratively with fast-growing businesses to add value to their operations.

“Under mentorship from John Lewis, JLab startups will have a unique opportunity to hone their ideas and create a product which has a genuinely positive impact on our customers. Weve seen from previous years the value of combining an agile startup mentality with John Lewis extensive industry knowledge, and Im personally looking forward to working with the 2016 applicants.”

Startups will benefit from commercial insight offered by John Lewis commercial, retail, online and IT directors and collect valuable public feedback from customer panels. Each team will be eligible to apply for funding of up to £100,000 from a total pot of £200,000 in exchange for equity in their company, and one company will win six months free office space following a vote by John Lewis partners.

“JLab turned us into a global company,” said Chris Chuter, CEO of Peeple, 2015 winners of JLab. “Working with John Lewis and L Marks took us to the next level, and helped us better understand and create a product for the international market.”