Startup Weekly: John Lewis JLAB invests in startups, a win for Everledger & more


Here’s your weekly round up of startup competitions, awards, co-working space and accelerator news.

Investment in RetailTech startups

John Lewis has selected three RetailTech startups to invest a sum of £100,000 following the completion of its third JLAB accelerator programme.

John Lewis’ JLAB innovation partner, L Marks will also match the retailer’s investment, bringing the total startup funding to £200,000.

Those set to receive financial support, in addition to contracts to work with John Lewis are:

DigitalBridge, which will receive £100,000 investment, seeks to solve the problem of the imagination gap by allowing customers to visualise new home furnishings using computer vision and machine learning.

Wedding Planner, which will receive £50,000, aims to help brides and grooms to-be plan their wedding from their phone and online.

Link Big, which will receive £50,000 investment, is a tool that turns Instagram to a social checkout by allowing customers to buy products from their Instagram feed shop.

ActiveLab: A new accelerator

UKactive has announced the launch of ActiveLab, a new accelerator that will seek to match startups with some of the leading players in the business and physical activity sectors.

The 12 week programme, backed by AXA PPP and Tech City UK, will seek to find innovative startups that will revolutionise the health and fitness space,

Steven Ward, executive director of UKactive, said: “The aim of ActiveLab is to help scale innovation through access to and expertise from ukactive’s 4,000 members, industry mentors, plus our private sector and government partners.

“The programme brings together the most highly networked collection of private investors in health and fitness ever, as well as an unprecedented amount of talent and experience.

“Our goal is to unearth the UK’s first health and fitness unicorn and become the global launchpad for innovative and scalable physical activity businesses.

The programme will culminate in showcase on 15th March 2017.  Participants will have to pitch live on stage and the winner will receive an accelerator toolklit; a suite of products and expertise to fast-track their concept.

The Best British Mobile Startup

KPMG and UKTI are on the lookout for UK mobile startups to take part in a competition to find the best British mobile startup.

The professional services firm has joined forces with UKTI to take four British mobile startup businesses to a mobile industry gathering where they will each showcase their business to judges and investors at 4 Years From Now (4YFN) session.

Patrick Imbach, co-head of KPMG’s Tech Growth practice, said: “This is an amazing opportunity to showcase the best that the UK has on offer in terms of mobile startups and could be a game changer for the winner. We are looking for innovative businesses who can showcase just how strong the UK is in disruptive mobile technology.

“Some of these companies could already be making a huge impact in their fields, others may be hidden gems getting ready to reveal themselves to the world. For the finalists this opportunity to get in front of the key players in the industry could be invaluable to their growth ambitions and will open doors that can be difficult for a small enterprise to achieve on their own.  We are expecting a great response to this competition,” he added.

Applications are now open at and will close on 11 November.  Successful applicants will be invited to pitch their business to a panel of judges in London, Bristol, Leeds or Birmingham before the final four startups are selected for the trip to Barcelona next year.

[email protected] 6.0

Twelve startups have been selected to pitch at St James’s Palace next Wednesday.

The startups are as follows:

London-based 3D Industries – develops and deploys next generation advanced 3D shape search technology across different platforms and sectors.

London-based Codec – its AI platform shows brands and publishers the content their audiences wants them to make, before they make it.

Bath-based Doodlemaths – blends the features of 1-2-1 tuition and education technology to create personalised, adaptive and intuitive maths programmes.

Doncaster-based Drenched LTD – its tech transforms the flow of water into a targeted molecular cone, claiming to reduce the volume of water used in the process by more than 90%.

London-based Flock – uses big data to safely guide drones through cities.

Belfast-based Jumpack –  carried as a backpack, it allows users to skate or ride to any destination and deploy a personal kicker in under 10 seconds.

Sheffield-based Mobile Power LTD –  uses a pay-per-charge rental model to supply smart battery backs at a price affordable to low-income households in the developing world.

Manchester-based OfferMoments – makes an IoT billboard that knows exactly who’s walking towards it and generates a relevant advert in real-time.

Norwich-based Prison Voicemail – a social venture which seeks to improve communication channels between prisoners and their families by enabling the exchange of voicemails through the existing prison phone system.

London-based Pzizz – It’s patented algorithm plays a sleep-optimized mix of music, voiceover, and sound effects to help people sleep.

Belfast-based Senergy Innovations – produces nanocomposite solar thermal panels that deliver solar heating and cooling.

Oxford-based WaveOptics – is developing the next generation of see-through AR display technologies.

The Penrose Awards

Blockchain startup Everledger was named Innovator of the Year at the Penrose Awards.

Some 50 nominees were in the running for the prestigious Innovator of the Year and Product of the Year titles.

Speaking about Everledger’s win, 2016 awards judge Theo Osborne of Force Over Mass Capital, said: Everledger is a truly radical business. It is the world’s most sophisticated fraud detection system and a game-changer for the insurance market. It has the potential to eliminate billions of pounds in illegal trade of blood diamonds, as well as arresting billions of pounds in fraud, money laundering and fine art theft.

“Diamonds are the currency of choice for mafia, gun runners and terrorists around the world. Tracking them on blockchain is an ingenious way to disrupt this. Everledger is likely to change the way the insurance industry operates globally, and had has amazing success in its 18 months of trading.”

Leanne Kemp, founder of Everledger, also spoke about the win: “London is at the epicentre of financial services. I feel very fortunate to be working at the forefront of emerging technology such as blockchain, machine vision and smart contracts at a time where what we are building will transform global trade forever. Beyond the tech, being connected to a peer network of inspiring entrepreneurs and working in an environment that recognises brilliance in innovation motivates us to do more, faster.”