For the past 12 weeks, Localz has been fortunate enough to participate in UK Omni-Channel Retailer, John Lewis’s first ever incubator called JLAB. The incubator was part of John Lewis’s 150 year celebrations.
Localz JLAB Pitch Team (L-R: Melvin, Tim, Martijn, Pete)
On Sunday 28th September, a panel of prestigious judges made up of senior John Lewis executives and high profile entrepreneurial figures voted Localz as the winner of the program.
The prize includes a £100,000 investment from John Lewis and their investment partner L Marks and a contract with John Lewis to implement Localz solutions across a number of different use cases.
The initial entry period for JLAB saw hundreds of startups apply to take part, pitching their ideas for innovations that could shape the future of the retail experience. In May, Localz was picked as a finalist alongside four other impressive startup businesses: Musaic, SpaceDesigned, Tap2Connect and Viewsy.
Over the 12-week period, the five of us further developed our ideas, products and business models with the assistance of mentors from John Lewis as well as high-profile entrepreneurial figures including:
- Luke Johnson, Chairman of Risk Capital Partners
- Sara Murray OBE, founder of confused.com
- Graham Clempson, European Managing Partner at MidOcean Partners
- Dr. Stephanie Hussels, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Full-Time MBA Director Designate at Cranfield University
- George Berkowski, Chairman of MIT Enterprise Forum UK
- Bindi Karia, Vice President, Origination and Entrepreneur Commercial Banking at Silicon Valley Bank
During the final pitch, we highlighted that the combination of our software and micro-location hardware gives customers the opportunity to take advantage of some enhanced services using their smartphone based on their precise location. It’s all about choice, designed to make shopping easier for those who wish to use it.
One example that we’ll be trialling with John Lewis will be to automatically offer to trigger a customer’s Click & Collect order to be picked as they enter the shop to speed up the collection or help customers to navigate their way around one of John Lewis’s shops based on their online wish list.
As Paul Coby, CIO of John Lewis has also mentioned, we view this as the start of a long-term partnership and look forward to exploring the numerous ways our micro-location software and iBeacon technology can be used to improve both the customer experience and make back end operations more efficient.
Our plans for the £100k investment focus on supporting our new UK operations which are being led by Martijn Verbree. We will also be further developing our micro-location platform in conjunction with John Lewis to support a new generation of mobile retail experiences, and running live trials in store. To support these goals, we’re also looking to hire new talent to work with our London-based team, so if you’re already experienced with the right kind of tech and want to work with a rapidly growing business, get in touch!
You can read some of the media coverage we’ve received so far on the links below:
My dad was a partner with John Lewis for over 30 years so for me, personally and professionally, to be able to continue to help transform and build the next generation of great retail experiences with John Lewis is really exciting.