John Lewis has unveiled a panel of external, expert mentors who will advise the judge entrants to its first ever technology incubator scheme JLab, launched last month.
Among those selected for the panel is Sara Murray OBE, founder of confused.com and Buddi, Luke Johnson, chairman of Risk Capital Partners, and George Berkowski, entrepreneur, author of “How to Build a Billion Dollar App” and former head of product at Hailo.
The mentors will be responsible for providing business advice and encouragement to the companies that make it through to the final 12-week stage of the JLab – a partnership between John Lewis and Stuart Marks aimed at identifying and developing innovations that will shape the “shopping experience of the future”.
The panel also includes Graham Clempson, managing partner of Quartic Capital, Dr Stephanie Hussels, senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Cranfield University, Bindi Karia, vice president, Entrepreneur Banking at Silicon Valley Bank, and Shaa Wasmund, technology entrepreneur and founder of Smarta.
Internal John Lewis panelists include IT director Paul Coby; retail director Andrew Murphy; director, retail operations Simon Russell; communications director Peter Cross, and marketing director Craig Inglis.
Paul Coby said: “The mentors represent some of the UK’s finest entrepreneurial minds, and we’re delighted to welcome them to JLab. Working alongside John Lewis, they’ll advise each JLab finalist during the development process, helping to tune them to the needs of retailers and providing invaluable insight into making their ideas a success.”
Stuart Marks added: “I believe a fundamental part of JLab’s success will be down to the quality of mentoring that the companies receive, both from this external team and the John Lewis mentors. Being able to assemble this hugely talented and diverse group of entrepreneurs, is what will make JLab unique.”
Entries are open until 17 April.