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Aussie Start Up Localz.co wins entry to into prestigious UK technology innovation program



28 May 2014

Aussie Start Up Localz.co wins entry to into prestigious UK technology innovation program

Melbourne-based start up Localz.co, a company that specialises in helping large enterprise businesses integrate with the new wave of micro-location based technology, has beaten hundreds of other entries from around the world to be one of just five selected to join the UK based John Lewis Partnership’s JLAB tech incubator.

Co-founded by Pete Williams, Melvin Artemas and Tim Andrew, former banking and technology executives just 6 months ago, the company has already experienced rapid growth securing engagements with major local retail and financial services brands.

Localz.co focus on using location technology, including iBeacons, to connect the online and offline worlds in a way that Williams refers to as “like a real-world cookie.”

“Cookies are used by websites and online retailers to help make their service personalised and more relevant for users, we’re using micro-location technology to extend that concept to improve the real-world, or bricks and mortar experience” Williams said.

While the Retail sector is an obvious target that needs help, it’s not just the shopping experience that Localz is looking to improve.

“We’ve found that using our technology to help our clients create efficiencies around asset tracking and stock control and saving hard-costs has been compelling” said Andrew, development executive for the team. “It’s not as sexy as some of the consumer-facing uses we implement, but our focus is to make the CIO and CFO happy” Andrew added.

Five start up businesses have made it to the final stage of the John Lewis JLAB, the retailer’s first-ever technology business incubator. From 3D room planners and in-store digital engagement to wireless sound systems and smart labels for after-sales care, the five finalists represent a range of innovative ideas with the potential to shape the shopping experience of the future.

Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, said: “Innovation is at the heart of John Lewis Partnership's DNA, in our 150th year I am delighted that we will be working with some of the best technology innovators to develop better products and better customer service. I really feel that if our Founder Spedan Lewis were alive today he would be starting a tech incubator.”

The five JLAB finalists are:

  • Localz, in-store digital engagement

  • Musaic, wireless sound system for smart homes

  • SpaceDesigned, online 3D room planning

  • Tap2Connect, smart labelling for after-sales care

  • Viewsy, in-store digital engagement

The final five were selected by the JLAB panel, comprising of John Lewis representatives, technology entrepreneurs and a selection of external mentors, following a pitch day on 20th May. The five startup companies will now be given dedicated office space at JLAB’s London hub, located within Level39, as well as initial funding of £12,500, access to John Lewis proprietary technology (platforms, data, APIs etc.) and access to the full mentor panel, which includes experts such as Luke Johnson, Chairman of Risk Capital Partners, and Sarah Murray OBE, founder of confused.com, alongside a range of John Lewis leaders. JLAB will be situated in Level39’s High Growth Space, which is based on the 42nd floor of Canary Wharf's iconic One Canada Square building.

Following a 12-week incubation period, the JLAB panel will select a winning company who will receive up to £100,000 in further investment and the chance to trial their solution in-store. Should this be a success, their solution may be implemented across the John Lewis estate.

JLAB will officially open on Monday 9th June. For more information, please visit www.localz.co and www.jlab.co.uk.

A demo video with further information on Localz can be viewed here.

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Notes to Editors

John Lewis operates 41 John Lewis shops across the UK (31 department stores and ten John Lewis at home) as well as johnlewis.com. It is part of the John Lewis Partnership, which also owns Waitrose Supermarkets, the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership where all 91,000 staff are Partners in the business. 

John Lewis, 'Multichannel Retailer of the Year 2014' ¹ , 'Best Overall Retailer' ² and 'Best Retailer 2013' ³, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores across fashion, home and technology. Johnlewis.com stocks over 250,000 products, and is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products - home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover - delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

¹ Oracle Retail Week Awards 2014
² Verdict Consumer Satisfaction Awards 2014
³ Which? Awards 2013