John Lewis Partnership invests in tech startups

John Lewis Partnership invests in tech startups

The John Lewis Partnership has today (27 November) announced a £100,000 investment in two tech startups, WeFiFo and Exaactly.

As previously reported, WeFiFo and Exaactly were among the companies taking part in the retailer’s fourth annual accelerator programme – JLAB.

JLAB is the largest retail tech accelerator programme in the UK. Innovation partner L Marks will match the £100,000 investment from John Lewis and Waitrose, bringing the total startup funding to £200,000.

In a statement issued today (27 November), John Lewis Partnership said that Exaactly, based in London, is an intelligent addressing system that aims to “put an end to failed deliveries”. It allows customers to provide information up front about how to find their delivery address and where to leave a parcel when they are not at home. During JLAB 2017, Exaactly ran two successful trials with delivery drivers, fulfilling orders to customers: the first with Waitrose groceries and their own fleet; the second in collaboration with Yodel, fulfilling orders for Waitrose speciality shops. Exaactly are now planning a similar exercise with John Lewis to explore the potential to help guarantee first-time customer delivery success.

WeFiFo is a food-centred “social hub” operating in West Sussex, which connects home chefs, supper club hosts and professional chefs with paying guests. As a result of the JLAB 2017 win, WeFiFo is now exploring opportunities to host dining experiences across John Lewis and Waitrose branches as well as other bespoke events.

Bea Warner, co-founder and CEO of Exaactly said: “JLAB has given us a peek behind the curtain of two of the country’s biggest retailers and an invaluable insight into how they handle delivery. The opportunity to run two pilots across the Partnership has equipped us with the product know-how we needed to make that final mile of delivery even more straightforward for consumers and retailers. The investment signifies a big step for our business as we prepare for a full launch to market in early January 2018.”

Paul Coby, CIO at the John Lewis Partnership, added: “All our finalists have benefitted greatly from unprecedented access to two of the UK’s leading retailers. The wider scope of JLAB this year has allowed us to bring together some of the most exciting emerging technology, not just in retail but across grocery too. It’s never been more important for the John Lewis Partnership to nurture innovation both inside and outside our business and we are looking forward to progressing this talent.”

The three other JLAB 2017 finalists were:

  • Mucho, a smart grocery shopping app which provides daily personalised recipes and enables customers to order ingredients when needed.
  • Journifi, which links online and in-store shopping by providing customers with personalised in-store experiences such as tailored personal shopper sessions based on their online behaviour and tastes.
  • BB1, a data analytics solution that uses customer behaviour to help businesses optimise their ways of working, monitoring an assortment of variables such as customer footfall.

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