TrueStart's Innovation Hub in Westminster.
Billy Wood

John Lewis to support the next generation of retail innovators with new accelerator initiative

Startups and tech firms working on technologies that could shape the future of retail and beyond could soon benefit from a new joint initiative between the John Lewis Partnership and retail accelerator TrueStart.

The tie-up, dubbed The Eureka Initiative, will be focused on finding and funding disruptive retail-focused startups and will utilise John Lewis’ retail pedigree to help bring products and technologies to commercial reality as part of TrueStart’s The Collection accelerator.

London-based TrueStart is Europe’s only independent retail and consumer accelerator and investment fund and provide support to retail-led startups out of its 4,300 sq ft innovation hub in Westminster.

Commenting on the new initiative, Matt Truman, Chief Executive Officer at True Capital, the private equity firm which owns TrueStart, believes the new partnership builds on the accelerator’s work with ‘genuinely disruptive businesses’ that have the potential to transform the retail sector.

He said: “ I am delighted to welcome the John Lewis Partnership on board as our latest strategic partner. By joining forces we can lean on our joint expertise to ensure that the retail industry keeps innovation at its core, transforming the fashion, home and technology sectors in these rapidly changing times.“

The John Lewis Partnership, which owns and operates John Lewis and Waitrose, hopes the programme can help bring new and disruptive products and services to the shop floor and to its ecommerce operations, and is already in discussions with the TrueStart-nurtured startup Photospire to provide real-time, personalised video content for customers.

According to Tom Athron, Group Development Director at the John Lewis Partnership, the Eureka Initiative is a way of impating the entrepreneurial energy that created the group back into the next generation of startups.

He added: “The John Lewis Partnership began life as a brave entrepreneurial experiment. By collaborating with TrueStart we will be supporting the future growth of our company by partnering with like-minded entrepreneurs and fast tracking their ideas.

“I firmly believe that all businesses focused on growth in a rapidly changing world will need a few eureka moments to thrive.”

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