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JLAB from the John Lewis Partnership helps startups shape retail experiences of the future.

Application Deadline

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Find out more
Why JLAB?

JLAB, the startup innovation programme from the John Lewis Partnership, is back for a fifth year and if you have a great idea or technology we’d love you to be part of it.

JLAB is one of the UK’s largest retail tech innovation programmes in the UK and the John Lewis Partnership is famous for innovative products, services and our unique employee ownership model. Run for the first time this year in association with True – Europe’s only retail and consumer sector specialist, operating across the entire investment vertical  – we are inviting startups with disruptive tech to join our JLAB journey. This journey will help take your business to the next level and build relationships with the two of the UK’s leading retail brands, John Lewis and Waitrose.

2018 will see lots of changes to JLAB and for the first time it will be run as an all year-round programme. We will also be launching later in the year a number of new activities for those who aren’t a business so watch this space for more details….

 

“The John Lewis Partnership exists today because of the extraordinary vision and ideals of our founder, John Spedan Lewis. He believed in experimentation and openly encouraged it. Today this ethos lives on and it’s up to each and every one of our Partners to ensure an environment for this to happen is created. JLAB is one of many great examples of us doing just that and in 2018 it’s never been more important for the Partnership to nurture innovation both inside and outside our business. We want to build entrepreneurs of the future.”
John Vary, Futurologist at the John Lewis Partnership
What’s on offer?

Businesses taking part in JLAB 2018 can access the following, based upon their business needs:

Mentorship from John Lewis and Waitrose senior leadership

Product validation from John Lewis and Waitrose experts and customers

Access to a large customer base

Potential investment from the JLAB fund

Office space in John Lewis’ central London HQ and Waitrose HQ in Bracknell and at True’s central London innovation Hub.

To launch JLAB 2018 we are revealing the first of three innovation themes this year.

The first theme is Health and Wellbeing.

Given Waitrose’s position as a leading food retailer, it is looking for customer facing, digital propositions that provide customers with advice and inspiration that make it easier for them to lead healthy lifestyles and eat more healthily. These new business ideas will complement a raft of initiatives Waitrose is currently launching which make it easier for customers to make healthy choices.

Health and Wellbeing

Eating Better

We all know how essential a healthy diet is to both our physical and emotional wellbeing, and the importance diet plays in maintaining good health. We also know that it can be difficult to eat a healthy diet of tasty, wholesome food. Waitrose wants to make that easier, simpler, and more convenient.

We’re interested in hearing business ideas that will support our customers with their health and wellbeing aspirations by helping them to eat more healthily

Eating Better

We all know how essential a healthy diet is to both our physical and emotional wellbeing, and the importance diet plays in maintaining good health. We also know that it can be difficult to eat a healthy diet of tasty, wholesome food. Waitrose wants to make that easier, simpler, and more convenient.

We’re interested in hearing business ideas that will support our customers with their health and wellbeing aspirations by helping them to eat more healthily

This challenge is open to any business which has a proposition that aligns with the above objectives and also meets the following criteria:

• A health or wellbeing brand which would resonate with the Waitrose customer base

• Deep knowledge and expertise of the health and wellbeing markets

• A willingness to openingly share information and work collaboratively together on a new proposition

• A desire to create a new health and wellbeing joint venture or partnership with Waitrose

• An appreciation of the John Lewis Partnership company values and John Lewis and Waitrose brands

Programme Timeline
25 April 2018
APPLICATIONS OPEN

Midnight (00:00), 25th May
APPLICATIONS CLOSE

Late June
PITCH DAY

JLAB IDEA DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME BEGINS

OUTCOMES ANNOUNCED

“Accessing the expertise of John Lewis and Waitrose Partners through JLAB was a real privilege for WeFiFo and securing their backing is certainly the most significant milestone in our journey so far. We were inspired by the people we worked with and were very fortunate to discover so much shared purpose and passion. We used our time with JLAB to cement strong foundations and we will now build on these as we enlist the help of the Partnership in our search for and celebration of the country’s most talented home cooks.

Seni Glaister, CEO and co-founder of WeFiFo”
“JLAB has given us a peek behind the curtain of two of the country’s biggest retailers and an invaluable insight into how they handle delivery. The opportunity to run two pilots across the Partnership has equipped us with the product know-how we needed to make that final mile of delivery even more straightforward for consumers and retailers. The investment signifies a big step for our business.

Bea Warner, co-founder and CEO of Exaactly”
“Working with John Lewis was a turning point for the business because we got real insight into what retailers are looking for.

Digital Bridge”
About us

The John Lewis Partnership operates 50 John Lewis shops across the UK, johnlewis.com, 353 Waitrose shops, waitrose.com and business to business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £11.5bn. It is the UK’s largest example of an employee-owned business where all 85,500 staff are Partners in the business.

Waitrose has 353 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 66 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations. It combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop – dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced, combined with high standards of customer service.  Waitrose also exports its products to 58 countries worldwide and has eight shops which operate under licence in the Middle East. Waitrose’s omnichannel business includes the online grocery service Waitrose.com, as well as specialist online shops including waitrosecellar.com for wine and waitroseflorist.com for plants and flowers and waitrosegifts.com for gifts. In recent months, Waitrose has been awarded the much-coveted European-wide Compassion in World Farming ‘Best Retailer Award’, Soil Association’s ‘Best Organic Supermarket Award 2017′ and The Drinks Business’ ‘Retail Buying Team of the Year Award’.

John Lewis operates 50 John Lewis shops across the UK (36 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as johnlewis.com. John Lewis, ‘Best In-Store Experience 2017’, ‘Best Furniture Retailer 2017’, ‘Best Homewares Retailer 2017’* stocks around 350,000 separate lines in its department stores and johnlewis.com across fashion, home and technology. Johnlewis.com is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products – home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover – delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

*GlobalData Retail Consumer Satisfaction Awards 2017


True (www.true.global) is Europe’s only retail and consumer sector specialist that operates across the entire investment vertical. Formally True Capital and TrueStart, which were established in 2013, True has total funds under management of £200m and invests in retail and consumer sector business models which represent the future of the industry.

True’s Live Network model brings together its private equity companies, startup innovators, investors and leading industry partners to add value, both strategically and operationally, across the retail and consumer spectrum.