UK departmental store chain The John Lewis Partnership has invested in two tech startups as part of its fourth annual JLAB accelerator programme.
Under the JLAB programme, the company has invested around £100,000 while its innovation partner L Marks will contribute another £100,000 towards the funding.
The two startups receiving the investment are WeFiFo and Exaactly.
As a social hub, WeFiFo connects home chefs, supper club hosts and professional chefs with paying guests.
The John Lewis Partnership chief information officer (CIO) Paul Coby said: “The wider scope of JLAB this year has allowed us to bring together some of the most exciting emerging technology, not just in retail but across grocery too.
“It’s never been more important for the John Lewis Partnership to nurture innovation both inside and outside our business and we are looking forward to progressing this talent.”
Following the JLAB 2017 win, WeFiFo is now planning to host dining experiences across John Lewis and Waitrose branches, as well as other bespoke events, to expand its customer base.
Operating as an addressing system, Exaactly aims to put an end to failed deliveries by allowing customers to provide information about how to find their delivery address and where to deliver a parcel when they are not available at home.
As part of the JLAB 2017, Exaactly launched two trials involving delivery drivers fulfilling orders to customers.
In the first trial, the fulfilled orders related to Waitrose groceries, while it partnered with Yodel in the second trial to deliver orders from Waitrose speciality shops.
The startup is also contemplating a similar exercise with John Lewis to help guarantee first-time customer delivery success.