John Lewis today announced the winning startup of its first JLabs programme is Localz - a business specialising in micro-location technology.
The company's in-store digital engagement system uses proximity and iBeacon technology to alert retailers when one of their best online shoppers walks through the door of their store. A demo video with further information on Localz can be viewed here.
Localz will receive £100,000 investment from John Lewis, which will go towards supporting the company's relatively new UK operations. It will also be used to further develop the technology and initiate a live in-store trial with John Lewis.
Off the back of the investment, Localz is also understood to be looking to hire new talent to work in its London-based team.
A total of 163 companies applied for one of five places on the JLab accelerator programme, which was run out of the Level39 tech hub in Canary Wharf. Other finalists included: Musaic, SpaceDesigned, Tap2Connect and Viewsy.
Over a three month period, the five finalists developed their ideas alongside mentors from John Lewis in addition to successful entrepreneurs like Luke Johnson, chairman of Risk Capital Partners, Sara Murray OBE, founder of confused.com and Buddi, and Bindi Karia, VP of entrepreneur banking at Silicon Valley Bank.
But Localz came out as the overall winner following the final pitch day on 23 September.
Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, said: “Innovation is at the heart of John Lewis and JLAB, our first tech incubator, has given us a new way to explore the technologies that will change how we all shop in the future.
“It’s been a hugely rewarding and educational experience, drawing on a diverse group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and we have a very worthy winner who we’re looking forward to working with in the months ahead. I do very much believe that this is what our Founder Spedan Lewis would be doing if he was around today.”
Stuart Marks, partner in JLAB, said: “We felt that Localz has the potential to become a long term partner to John Lewis and to provide continuous innovation for their customers.
He added: “I am sure all the companies will go on to become very successful but there has to be a winner."
Tim Andrew, commercial director and cofounder of Localz, said: "The support and guidance that John Lewis provided throughout the incubation period helped us refine our offering for the European market. They also gave us access to successful entrepreneurs and mentors from diverse backgrounds and industries which allowed us to accelerate our development.
“JLAB has been an amazing experience for Localz from start to finish. The fact that my father was a Partner with John Lewis for over 30 years gave me a very personal reason to want to be a part of it, in order to try and help the company that supported me and my family when I was growing up.”