Whatever happened to John Lewis’s favourite startups?

The first five startups to take part in the retailer’s accelerator programme share their advice about what it’s really like and what you can get out of it

The results are in. A robot maker, a wedding planner and an Instagram sales app are among the five winners of John Lewis’s startup programme 2016. JLab is a so-called accelerator, where retail-focused tech startups are invited to work in John Lewis’s head office for 10 weeks, with mentoring, introductions to key members of staff, and the chance to win £100,000 of funding.

Stuart Marks, a consultant who runs the JLab programme for John Lewis, says it is the practical version of getting an external agency to produce an innovation report. “Most big companies recognise that there is only a certain amount of innovation you can do in-house. There is a whole world outside the corporate mothership where things are being done and made, and to be able to have a good trawl globally of what is going on is an extremely useful exercise.”

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