John Lewis runs pitching day for start-ups
John Lewis whittled down the list of 163 applications to its new start-up incubator, JLAB, and invited 30 of the entrepreneurs to co-working space Level 39 in Canary Wharf to pitch their wares.
JLAB, which will provide 15 weeks of financial support, office space and business mentoring, will be based several floors above Level 39 in one of the tallest buildings in the UK, One Canada Square.
1. Thirty pitches in three hours
There was a strict timetable of 30 pitches to be heard in three hours. Each start-up had just five minutes to sell their business and idea to the panel of judges.
2. The judges
The judging panel was made up of tech leaders from within and outside of John Lewis. From the retailer, there was the company's IT director Paul Coby, retail director Andrew Murphy, retail operations director Simon Russell, communications director Peter Cross and marketing director Craig Inglis. The other judges were Luke Johnson, chairman of Risk Capital Partners, Sara Murray, founder of confused.com and Buddi, Graham Clempson, managing partner of Quartic Capital, Dr Stephanie Hussels, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship at Cranfield University, George Berkowski, entrepreneur and former head of product at HAILO, Bindi Karia, vice-president entrepreneur banking at Silicon Valley Bank and Shaa Wasmund, technology entrepreneur and founder of Smarta.
3. Viewsy pitch
One of the start-ups pitching was London-based Viewsy, which provides retail analytics solutions, including one that generates heatmaps of stores to help retailers understand customer movement around a shop.
4. Coming from California...via Google Hangout
Some of the pitches were done remotely, such as by California-based MyFit, which provides a tool that allows customers shopping online to view how clothes fit on a person in 3D.
Start-up Aeolipyle, which provides 'meaningful' customer ratings for products, presented in person and via Skype.
6. Old school pitch
Some pitches were old school. Yes, that's a flow chart on dead tree card from SpaceDesigned.
7. Augmented reality
ShowInRoom showed off its app, which uses augmented reality technology to show users what an item, like an appliance or piece of furniture, might look in their homes.
Wear has an app that allows users to take a picture of an outfit and find out where they can buy similar items of clothing. Their emphasis was on the ease of use - 'with one tap'.
9. The 'unfinished' JLAB
Our tour guide assured us that the JLAB space is not yet finished. Though one thing that won't change is the impressive view across London that the entrepreneurs will have from the 42nd floor of One Canada Square.
2014 - the year of the data breaches, online shopping and beacon technology
Will spend six months working with PayPal
Clear Returns beat over 400 other EU start-ups in the Tech All Stars competition