Made.com has launched a tech innovation lab to find and partner with start-ups and emerging talent on creating a more engaging shopping experience.
Chief technology officer Jonathan Howell judged tech start-ups for the Retail Week Tech Awards and saw “10 or 12 companies worthy of further investigation”, which sparked the idea to pursue these companies.
Following previous successful collaborations with the likes of Hullabalook – who created Made’s ‘sofasizer’, allowing customers to find the perfect size sofa for their space – the Made saw potential in future collaborations and today launched Made Labs to pursue such partnerships.
A team of four will be “going out and talking to start-ups” to find “emerging technology” that will be useful for Made, Howell said.
He added that Made is “open-minded” about the types of start-ups that apply but an area of focus for the retailer is how 3D visualisation and AI can enhance the customer experience.
“We will be looking for who is leading in that particular space and what they have that no one else has that makes them unique.”
Made Labs will be running Dragon’s Den style events for start-ups to pitch ideas towards the end of the year, as well as attending tech events to source the best talent.
Successful applicants will work alongside the Made Labs team with the aim to trial the new technology for 3-6 months, “depending on the opportunity.”
Start-ups can also apply for the opportunity through made.com/labs.