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John Lewis reveals tech incubator mentors

By Retail Technology | Monday April 14 2014

New joint JLAB retailer venture to provide backing for technologies that will influence the future of retail experiences and management

John Lewis has today revealed a panel of technology innovation experts who will mentor the successful technology entrepreneurs it selects for a joint venture incubator project.

The UK department store retailer has partnered with tech startup investor Stuart Marks to launch JLAB, a technology incubator that aims to identify and develop innovations that will shape the shopping experience of the future.

The panel of mentors will provide business advice and encouragement to the companies who make it to the 12-week final stage of JLAB. A team of John Lewis leaders will also join the panel to provide further expertise.

And the knowledge and skills of the mentors will be matched to participating companies so they can provide the most effective and relevant guidance based on their own experiences.

Tech tuned to the needs of retailers

Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis, stated: “The mentors represent some of the UK's finest entrepreneurial minds, and we're delighted to welcome them to JLAB. 

"Working alongside John Lewis, they'll advise each JLAB finalist during the development process helping to tune them to the needs of retailers and providing invaluable insight into making their ideas a success.”

Stuart Marks, technology entrepreneur, added: “I believe a fundamental part of JLAB's success will be down to the quality of mentoring that the companies receive, both from this external team and the John Lewis mentors. Being able to assemble this hugely talented and diverse group of entrepreneurs, is what will make JLAB unique.”

JLAB, which is part of John Lewis's 150-year celebrations, remains open to entries until Thursday 17 April. A full list of the JLAB mentors is as follows: 

  • Luke Johnson, chairman of Risk Capital Partners
  • Sara Murray OBE, founder of and mobile personal alarm system, Buddi
  • Graham Clempson, managing partner of Quartic Capital
  • Dr. Stephanie Hussels, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship at Cranfield University
  • George Berkowski, entrepreneur, author of 'How to Build a Billion Dollar App' and former head of product at HAILO
  • Bindi Karia, vice president of entrepreneur banking at Silicon Valley Bank
  • Shaa Wasmund, technology entrepreneur and founder of business support and advice network for startups, Smarta
  • Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis
  • Andrew Murphy, retail director at John Lewis
  • Simon Russell, director of retail operations at John Lewis
  • Peter Cross, communications director at John Lewis
  • Craig Inglis, marketing director at John Lewis

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