Localz, a Melbourne based micro location technology startup, has won an incubator investment from British department store chain John Lewis, valued at over AU$180,000.
The incubator, JLAB, will help fund Localz‘ development of microlocation technology to help streamline the shopping experience for physical retailers the world over. Localz will recieve £100,000 (AU$186,318) and the opportunity to trial their technology in John Lewis stores upon completion.
“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,” said Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis in a press release yesterday. “It’s been a hugely rewarding and educational experience, and we have a very worthy winner who we’re looking forward to working with in the months ahead.”
Localz’ technology gives customers access to enhanced services through their smartphone, based on their precise location. Potential applications for the technology may be to fast track the preparation of a Click & Collect order ready to be picked up as a customer enters the store, or to provide directions throughout the store based on a customer’s digital wish list.
“JLAB has been an amazing experience for Localz from start to finish,” Co-Founder and Commercial Director of Localz, Tim Andrew, said. “The fact that my father was a Partner with John Lewis for over 30 years gave me a very personal reason to want to be a part of it, in order to try and help the company that supported me and my family when I was growing up.”
“The support and guidance that John Lewis provided throughout the incubation period helped us refine our offering for the European market.”
Hundreds of startups applied earlier this year, which were narrowed down to five finalists in May, Localz competing with Musaic, SpaceDesigned, Tap2Connect and Viewsy. Over a twelve week period the finalists developed their ideas alongside John Lewis mentors and other high-profile entrepreneurial figures, including Risk Capital Partners Chairman, Luke Johnson.
“The quality of entries was exceptionally high,” commented JLAB Partner, Stuart Marks, “and picking a winner proved to be a very difficult process. We were fortunate to have an exceptional mentoring team who allowed all the companies to achieve their true potential during the time they were at JLAB.”
Localz plans to use the funds to further establish its operations in the UK, continuing its development work with John Lewis to develop the technology and eventually launch live trials in John Lewis stores. Localz will also be looking to expand its London team.