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John Lewis invest £100,000 in technology start-ups

By Fiona Ness on Thu 08 May 2014 in Topical

Earlier this year John Lewis announced a partnership with entrepreneur, Stuart Marks, for the launch of their technology incubator JLab. 

This venture will combine the values of John Lewis with the expertise of some of the best British technology start-ups in an aim to discover the next big technology for retailers.

It is no secret that John Lewis are one of the UK’s most successful retailers. But when we see the likes of Tesco and Marks and Spencer investing in in-house development teams it begs the question, why have John Lewis chosen JLab; enlisting the help of start-ups and offering a £100,000 stake?

Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, has acknowledged that whilst they are indeed experts in the retail industry, they do not have the monopoly on ideas for making use of technology. On the other hand, start-ups know about technology, but not retail. JLab is therefore designed to bring these skills together.

The venture is due to start at the beginning of June and has 3 main aims for John Lewis; improve their customers shopping experience, make better use of data to provide a personalised shopping experience and ultimately make the lives of their customers easier. Although John Lewis are not the first organisation to adopt a technology incubator, Marks believes that their partnership will offer a unique experience and the ability to produce some fantastic developments to move the retail industry on in terms of technology and customer experience.

Such a large investment in JLab, and start-ups makes it clear that both John Lewis and Marks have identified a true benefit in enlisting the help of technology specialists to further develop their offerings to customers.

Coby is hoping that this partnership will bring some fantastic ideas to fruition, and with such a large investment this only seems fair. After the 4 month program is complete we should see the results of JLab hit John Lewis stores across the UK.