Location-based tech firm Localz named John Lewis JLAB winner

John Lewis has crowned tech start-up Localz as the winner of its inaugural JLAB innovation incubator programme.

The micro-location technology company has won a £100,000 investment from John Lewis after beating four other finalists in a 12-week competition based at London's Canary Wharf. The companies have spent that time developing retail tech concepts in conjunction with a list of high profile entrepreneurs, who formed the JLAB mentoring team.

Localz's technology gives shoppers an opportunity to take advantage of some enhanced services using their smartphones. For example, using it could automatically trigger the picking of a customer's click & collect order as they enter the shop, or help customers navigate their way around a shop based on their online wish-list. 

Having secured the cash backing, Localz will look to further develop its technology in conjunction with John Lewis and prepare to launch live trials in the department store chain's shops. The company is also actively looking to hire new talent to work in its London-based team.

Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis, commented: "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."

JLAB mentors include Luke Johnson, chairman of Risk Capital Partners, and Sara Murray, founder of Confused.com, while tech entrepreneur Stuart Marks is a partner in the scheme.

In an interview with Essential Retail at the time JLAB finalists were named, John Lewis's director of retail operations development Simon Russell said that customers have set the bar higher than ever before in terms of the service they now demand.

"It is an area that I think retailers are competing in, to focus on this customer experience to make sure they give the customer an optimum experience all the way through," he explained.

"Given technology is a solution to unlock it, that's one of the key reasons that a lot of retailers are very interested [in paying attention to innovative new solutions]."

Click below for more information: