Final Call To Join UK’s Largest Retail Accelerator as entries reach record levels

Operated in association with innovation specialist L Marks, this year’s programme is searching for fledgling retail and food tech businesses. The five to ten startups selected will join two of the UK’s leading retailers John Lewis and Waitrose at their respective headquarters for 12 weeks, where they’ll have access to the resources and industry-leading insight required to accelerate their growth.

Start-ups participating in JLAB will have access to capital from the dedicated microfund provided by the John Lewis Partnership and L Marks. Each team will be eligible to apply for funding of up to £100,000 from the total pot of £200,000, in exchange for equity in their company.

John Vary, John Lewis Partnership Innovation Manager, said: “We’ve had a tremendous amount of interest in JLAB 2017 and the diversity of companies has been truly remarkable. This is the first year that John Lewis and Waitrose have joined forces to launch this programme, and it’s a collaboration that has clearly resonated with startup communities around the world. This level of access to two leading retailers represents an unprecedented opportunity, and I’d strongly encourage entrepreneurs working in disruptive retail and food technology to get their applications in as soon as possible.”

JLAB is focusing on enhancing customer experience and is inviting early-stage and high-growth companies looking to collaborate with in the following categories:

Amazing Food Experiences:  There is a growing potential to enhance customer experience in food shopping and food service. We are looking for start-ups which will help us serve food to our customers in more convenient, exciting and innovative ways.

Amazing Store Experiences: We want to partner with start-ups to make in store experiences even more inspiring and individual.

Effortless Shopping: We’re looking for solutions that create frictionless on and offline shopping for customers; start-ups who can help us enhance shopping experiences and save our customers time.

Help Me Live a Healthier Life: We want to help our customers to live well when it comes to their food and lifestyle. We want to find innovative health and wellbeing solutions that can be implemented across online channels and in store.

Smarter Supply Chain: We want to hear from start-ups who have innovative ideas, or solutions to disrupt traditional supply chain practices, from last mile deliveries and farm to fork traceability to smart product IDs and Internet of Things.

Surprise us – Innovations that are so out of this world they can’t be classified.

Applications will close at midnight on Sunday 30th April.  Applications can be made  online at John Lewis and L Marks will then select up to five startups to complete the 12 week JLAB programme, commencing in July 2016.