Waitrose has joined forces with its sister company John Lewis to create the UK’s largest retail tech accelerator: JLAB 2017.
The announcement came as the John Lewis Partnership opened the call for applications for JLAB 2017, its global start-up accelerator programme, which is run in association with innovation specialists L Marks. Now in its fourth year, this year’s JLAB sees Waitrose joining the programme, which this year is focusing on enhancing customer experience and is inviting early-stage and high-growth companies.
A new category of Amazing Food Experiences has been added, with the application website saying, “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.”
Throughout the twelve-week programme, which commences in July, applicants will receive support from senior level mentors and free workspace in John Lewis’s head office in Victoria and Waitrose’s head office in Bracknell. Participating companies will also have access to industry knowledge and expertise from across the John Lewis Partnership.
Start-ups participating in JLAB will also 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.
Photo Caption: Waitrose is looking to enhance the customer experience in food shopping
Photo Credit: Waitrose