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May 28, 2014

John Lewis to invest £100,000 in the Internet of Things market

The retailer picks five startups for its technology incubator scheme.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

John Lewis has selected five startups for its technology incubator scheme, JLab, as the UK retailer puts part of its efforts into the Internet of Things (IoT) market.

The London-based company, which partnered with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks to launch the scheme in March, had shortlisted 12 companies from 30 that pitched to its judging panel on 20 May.

The finalists included in-store digital engagement firms Localz and Vieewsy, online 3D room planning firm SpaceDesigned, Musaic, which provides wireless sound systems for smart homes, and Tap2connects, which provides smart labelling for after-sales care.

Each will receive £12,500 in funding and a dedicated office space at JLAB’s London Hub, located within startup accelerator Level39.

They will also get access to John Lewis’s technology and a mentor panel that includes founder Sarah Murrah and Luke Johnson, chairman of venture capital firm Risk Capital Management.

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’m looking forward to working with them over the next few months to help make their ideas a reality."

Following another 12-week trial, the panel will select the winning company that will receive a further £100,000 investment and the chance to trial its technology in John Lewis stores. If that proves successful, it could be implemented across the retailer’s entire estate.

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Stuart Marks said: "Every company has the potential to win and it will be exciting to watch how they develop."

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