AO meets shortlisted start-ups for Innovation Lab programme

Electricals retailer has heard pitches from 16 companies shortlisted for its inaugural Innovation Lab initiative.

Announced in April, the retailer is working with global start-up accelerator L Marks to filter new ideas and innovations into the business.

On 8 August the AO senior team met the chosen companies – selected from hundreds of applications received in the spring – as part of a process that will lead on to some of them embarking on a ten-week concept collaboration with AO.

AO is looking for several new ideas from its Innovation Lab, including ways to bring the in-store experience to online shopping, and how to better optimise home delivery routes, as well as scalable technology solutions and ways to personalise its proposition for customers. It is also keen to hear about advanced augmented reality concepts.

Commenting on LinkedIn, Matt Mawdesley, strategy and innovation lead at AO, said the company is looking for “the next digital disruptors”.

“We’re hearing pitches from the 16 international tech start-ups who were shortlisted from hundreds of applications,” he remarked.

“It’s all part of AO’s wider innovation strategy which includes working with new technology, supplier and manufacturers, hosting events internal training and workshops – all to ensure we keep pushing the boundaries of retail.”

The start-ups chosen for the ten-week programme will have the opportunity to work alongside experts at L Marks as well as AO CEO and founder John Roberts, IT director Carl Philips, COO Danny Emmett, managing director for retail Danny Lawson, CFO Mark Higgins, and brand and customer director Vicky Monk.

On 21 November, the participating start-ups will appear at a ‘Demo Day’ to showcase what their start-up has achieved during the incubator process and highlight how their concept can help the AO business.

Speaking when the AO Innovation Lab initiative was announced in April, Roberts commented: “We have a world class IT team but we don’t know what we don’t know so the AO Innovation Lab will challenge our thinking and open our eyes even wider.”