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John Lewis Partnership and TrueStart to find and fund disruptive retail start-ups

The John Lewis Partnership has joined forces with TrueStart, a European retail and consumer accelerator and investment fund, to find and fund the products, services and technologies which it believes will define how we live in the future.

The Eureka Initiative – a partnership between TrueStart and the John Lewis Partnership – will enable start-ups within TrueStart’s own accelerator programme, The Collection, to gain exposure to the partnership’s retail capabilities, with the aim of bringing the best ideas to commercial reality.
It will build on the spirit of experimentation upon which the John Lewis Partnership was founded and nurture never-seen-before products and services – from the drawing board to customers via the shop floor and website.
One start-up that will benefit from the Eureka Initiative is TrueStart-backed Photospire. A technology platform that enables retailers and brands to create real-time, personalised video content for its customers, Photospire is in discussions with the John Lewis Partnership regarding activation activities that target the brand’s customers with product recommendation videos tailored to individual customers.
Tom Athron, group development director at the John Lewis Partnership, says: “The John Lewis Partnership 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. I firmly believe that all businesses focused on growth in a rapidly changing world will need a few eureka moments to thrive.”
Matt Truman, CEO at True Capital, the retail and consumer sector-specialist private equity firm which owns TrueStart, says: “TrueStart looks to work with genuinely disruptive businesses that have the potential to inform real change in the retail sector. I am delighted to welcome the John Lewis Partnership on board as our latest strategic partner. By joining forces 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.”
Ger O’Meara, co-founder and CEO of Photospire, says: "Working with the John Lewis Partnership will allow us to use real-time data and tell a story to each of its customers in a targeted, personalised and engaging way. Having access to the right people was only possible because of the partnership between TrueStart and the John Lewis Partnership. This is the very definition of 'accelerator', and highlights the value of TrueStart and its retail network."
The Eureka Initiative between the John Lewis Partnership and TrueStart will complement the incubator currently run by John Lewis, JLAB, which aims to deliver a broader range of new products and services across the department store portfolio and has already uncovered technology-based solutions to some of John Lewis’s operational challenges.

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