- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
John Lewis has selected five retail tech start-ups for its JLab 2016 accelerator programme run in association with innovation partner L Marks, which includes Link Big, a tool that allows Instagram users to buy products directly from their feed.
Link Big joins the creators of Marty the Robot, a programmable walking droid that helps kids to learn about coding, a smart doorbell company Ding Labs that allows homeowners to talk to the person at their door from anywhere in the world, a digitally enable Wedding Planner, and a home furnishings visualisation firm Digital Bridge.
The five finalists were selected from more than 280 applications, and will now go into a 12-week programme at John Lewis’ head office, beginning today, July 4 and runs until September 23. Each company will be eligible to receive funding of up to 100,000 pounds from the retailer and L Marks, in exchange for equity in their company.
John Lewis IT director, Paul Coby, said: “From programmable robotics to advanced visualisation, our finalists are locked into some of the most exciting growth areas in modern retail. John Lewis aims to be at the forefront of innovation, and JLAB is how we engage with the vibrant UK start-up scene.
“The next twelve weeks will be a great period of development for the finalists, as they rapidly hone their products under guidance from John Lewis mentors and industry experts. I can’t wait to see what the final outcome will be.”
The accelerator programme is now in its third year and supports companies developing tech-based solutions that look to disrupt the retail space across six categories - health and wellbeing, simplify my life, effortless shopping, tech for kids, and ‘surprise us’ for innovations that are so out of this world they can’t be classified.
Image: courtesy of JLab