John Lewis to launch technology incubator JLAB

Tuesday, 04 March 2014
In honor of its 150th year celebrations, department store group John Lewis revealed that it is preparing to launch its first technology incubator, known as JLAB, later this year in collaboration with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks.

JLAB aims to select and help develop technological innovations that will help the retailers with future strategy plans, with ideas based around customer needs. The incubation period is set to start in May, coinciding with John Lewis's 150 anniversary, and will run from June to September.

During this period, the department store group and Stuart Marks will collaborate to select five start-up companies, who will be based in JLAB. These companies will be supported by a team of John Lewis leaders and external experts and given aid to help develop their products and solutions.

Andy Street, Managing director of John Lewis commented: “Our 150 year anniversary not only gives us the chance to reflect on our history, but to look forward at how we shape the next 150 years. We have been ahead of the game in omnichannel retailing and through our JLAB incubator we will nurture the next generation of technology start-ups while helping ensure we remain on the cutting-edge of retail change.”

After the incubation period is over, JLAB will select and announce a winner who will receive a 50,000 pound investment from John Lewis and a matching investment from Stuart Marks. The winner will be given the opportunity to trial their solution in-store and if it is a success it will be rolled-out across the John Lewis estate.

Stuart Marks, technology entrepreneur, commented: “I’m delighted to be working with John Lewis on JLAB. We have crafted something unique in the UK retail sector that will give businesses access to the best mentors and to an environment where they can develop their ideas. I’m certain that we will find new and exciting technology that will strengthen John Lewis’s leadership in omnichannel retailing.”

Interested companies who wish to be a part of JLAB, can apply online at www.jlab.co.uk. The application process is open from March 3 to April 17, 2014.

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