John Lewis establishes tech incubator

The U.K.-based John Lewis Partnership has joined a growing list of retailers to launch technology incubators. The retailer announced JLAB, a partnership to identify and develop technology innovations that will provide the retailer with future strategic advantages with customers' needs at the core of each idea.

The program is in partnership with Stuart Marks, founder of several technology start-ups including ITIS Holdings, and is being launched in conjunction with John Lewis' 150th anniversary. That celebration kicks off in May with the incubation period running from June until September.

John Lewis and Stuart Marks will work together to select five start-up companies that will be based within JLAB during that time. While at JLAB, businesses will rapidly develop their products and solutions supported by a team of John Lewis leaders and external mentors.

"The Partnership's founder, John Spedan Lewis, was a radical entrepreneur and so adopting a novel approach to business and retail innovation is not new to us, it's a fundamental part of our DNA," said Andy Street, managing director at John Lewis. "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."

John Lewis will invest £50,000 into the winning company and that amount will be matched by Stuart Marks. They will get the chance to trial their solution and if successful, it will be implemented across retailers including John Lewis shops and Waitrose stores.

For more:
-See this John Lewis announcement

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