Start-ups specialising in smart technology doorbells and coding robots are among the firms shortlisted for John Lewis’s JLAB accelerator programme.

Chosen from more than 280 entries, the five finalists for JLAB – which is run in association with investment fund L Marks – are:

  • Ding Labs – a smart technology doorbell that enables homeowners to talk to the person at their front door from anywhere in the world
  • Link Big – a tool that turns Instagram to a social checkout by allowing customers to buy products seamlessly from their Instagram feed
  • Robotical – the creators of Marty the Robot, a fully programmable, customisable walking robot to help children learn about coding, 3D printing and robotics
  • Wedding Planner – a tool that helps brides and grooms-to-be plan their wedding online with a budget tracker, checklist and guest-list tracker
  • DigitalBridge – enables customers to visualise new home furnishings using computer vision and machine learning technology

The finalists will have access to up to £100,000 investment and 12 weeks of mentoring from John Lewis experts. From July 4, the start-ups will be embedded in John Lewis’ head office, where they will glean commercial insights to help develop their products.

John Lewis IT director Paul Coby said: “From programmable robotics to advanced visualisation, our finalists are locked into some of the most exciting growth areas in modern retail.

“John Lewis aims to be at the forefront of innovation, and JLAB is how we engage with the vibrant UK start-up scene.”

Stuart Marks, technology entrepreneur and chairman of L Marks, said: “JLAB is a proven example of successful collaboration between large and small business. The start-ups will have unprecedented access to John Lewis’s retail expertise, working together to exchange ideas and create a product or service that has real commercial application.”