John Lewis whittled down the list of 163 applications to its new start-up incubator, JLAB, and invited 30 of the entrepreneurs to co-working space Level 39 in Canary Wharf to pitch their wares.
JLAB, which will provide 15 weeks of financial support, office space and business mentoring, will be based several floors above Level 39 in one of the tallest buildings in the UK, One Canada Square.
The entrepreneurs had just five minutes each to pitch to the 12 judges, made up of John Lewis directors and other tech leaders. Fifteen of the start-ups were called back to undergo more in-depth grilling by the panel.
The five finalists who will be chosen to receive JLAB support and office accommodation are expected to be announced this week.