LONDON — British retailer John Lewis has teamed with TrueStart, an investment fund specializing in retail, to launch the Eureka Initiative, which aims to help start-ups by offering innovative new products and services.
Start-ups within TrueStart’s existing accelerator program will gain access to John Lewis’ retail network and work with the company to turn the best ideas to commercial reality, bringing them to the retailer’s shop floor and web site.
“TrueStart looks to work with genuinely disruptive businesses that have the potential to inform real change in the retail sector. By joining forces with the John Lewis Partnership 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,” said Matt Truman, chief executive officer at True Capital, the private equity firm which owns TrueStart.
One of the first start-ups to benefit from the initiative is Photospire, a technology platform that allows brands and retailers to create real-time, personalized content for its customers. John Lewis is working with the company to produce tailored recommendation videos for its customers.
“Working with John Lewis will allow us to use real-time data and tell a story to each of its customers in a targeted, personalized and engaging way. Having access to the right people was made possible because of the partnership between True Start and the John Lewis Partnership,” said Ger O’Meara, Photospire’s cofounder and ceo.
John Lewis has also been running JLAB, an incubator that works toward broadening the range of products and services in the British department store’s portfolio and finding technology-based solutions to the company’s operational challenges. The Eureka initiative aims to complement JLAB’s existing efforts by nurturing more business offering new product.
“John Lewis 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,” added Tom Athron, group development director John Lewis.