John Lewis reveals JLAB winner – but invests in all finalists

John Lewis has chosen smart door startup Peeple as the winner of its £100,000 JLAB competition.

The IoT device connects the existing peephole in your front door to your home wifi network so you can see when packages and people arrive.

The idea was developed over 12 weeks with John Lewis and will ultimately go on sale in stores across the country.

The company has also decided to invest in the remaining ideas: Alfred the smart home control app, “coffee lounge concept” Zest, solar-powered iPhone cover maker Ikinen and in-store queue management solution Qudini.

“The quality of startups we see is constantly getting better,” John Vary, IT innovation manager at John Lewis told Tech City News.

“This time, the winners came over from then US to take part in JLAB, which shows that people are increasingly willing to come to the UK to take part in the startup scene – and that’s very exciting.”

Key stakeholders at John Lewis set the challenges, which means all of the ideas are geared towards solving a real-world problem.

This is the second annual JLAB competition and this time startups were hosted at John Lewis HQ itself, rather than in an incubator at Canary Wharf.

“We’ve learned so much from the startups and finalists, particularly around how small innovative companies operate, and having them in the head office demonstrated that even further,”

“Having the startups closer to John Lewis, among our people, enabled them to find out about our values and how we operate, which rubs off on the startups too.

Chris Chuter, CEO of Peeple, said: “I first came up with the idea for Peeple when my three-year old son walked out the front door to walk to his grandma’s house without my knowledge – the initial fright led me to start tinkering on a way to find out automatically when the front door is opened.

“We’ve come a long way since then and JLAB has been instrumental in helping ready the product for launch in the UK and beyond.”