Waitrose shop front web

Waitrose is reaching out to tech startups to create digital products for a healthier lifesyle choice

Waitrose is looking for tech startups to create digital products that help customers lead a healthy lifestyle in parent company John Lewis’ fifth JLab programme.

Applications to the scheme are accepted from today until midnight on 25 May. Selected startups will benefit from expert advice and mentorship from Waitrose and John Lewis, with product validation from retail experts and customers, investment from the JLab fund and office space over 12 weeks.

The new business ideas will “complement a raft of initiatives Waitrose is currently launching which make it easier for customers to make healthy choices,” according to a statement from John Lewis and Waitrose.

The amount of funding available to successful applicants has not been specified but two winners of the 2017 programme received £100,000 each.

The retail tech innovation scheme is also being rolled out throughout the year for the first time, making this the first of three JLab programmes in 2018. Previously there has been one programme per year.

Ideas to win JLab investment in 2017 included WeFiFo, a site that connects home chefs, supper club hosts and professional chefs with paying guests.

“We wanted to take the programme to the next level by launching more events but with a focus on themes we feel are most significant to our customers as well as the future of retail,” said John Vary, futurologist at the John Lewis Partnership.

Applications are accepted at jlab.co.uk with shortlisted businesses to be invited to pitch in June.