Business Technology

John Lewis reveals its five disruptive retail startups

3 min read

27 May 2014

Department store John Lewis today announced the five finalists which have made it into its first ever business incubator.

J-Lab aims to develop businesses which are helping shape the future of retail. 

Chosen businesses include Tap2Connect, an after-sales service which uses smart labels to increase customer engagement, and Musaic, a home music streaming system.

Two of the chosen businesses, Localz and Viewsy, use technology to track the way that customers behave in-store. The fifth, SpaceDesigned, is an online app which allows customers to create virtual 3D versions of their home, to see how products would look inside.

Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, said: “We’re confident that the JLAB finalists each have an idea with real potential to either improve the shopping experience or offer customers something new to use in the home. I really feel that if our founder Spedan Lewis were alive today he would be starting a tech incubator.”

The five will each be given £12,500 of funding and access to mentors including Pizza Express founder Luke Johnson and Sarah Murray, founder of Confused.com. They will be given office space at Level 39, the incubator space at Canary Wharf, and access to John Lewis’ platforms and data. 

After a 12-week incubation period one winner will be selected and given a further £100,000 investment and a chance to trial their product in John Lewis. 

The five: 

Localz

Headed up by co-founders Tim Andrew, Pete Williams and Melvin Artemas, Localz is an in-store digital engagement system which uses proximity and iBeacon technology. Currently, retailers don’t know when their best online shoppers arrive at a real life store. Localz is designed to let retailers know they have arrived as they walk through the door.

Musaic

Musaic is a wireless sound system designed to integrate fully with today’s smart home. Founders Matthew Bramble, Simon Grabowski and Carolyn Van Dongen have created a wireless Hi-Fi system that can stream music from any platform to multiple rooms in a house.

SpaceDesigned

SpaceDesigned, from co-founders Nicholas and Diane Shaw, is an online app which allows consumers to accurately create and view virtual 3D versions of rooms in their house. They can then add potential new furniture purchases and see how they might fit in.

Tap2Connect

Tap2Connect, from founder Steve Cooke, is an after-sales service that uses smart labels to increase customer engagement. Smart labels enable consumers and retailers to track a product’s lifecycle and make on-going service or repairs easier to handle.

Viewsy

Viewsy, founded by Odera Ume-Ezeoke, is an in-store digital engagement system designed to help retailers better understand their customers. In-store sensors track customers’ behaviour as they move through the store, allowing retailers to better understand them and to offer them more personalised and efficient services.

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