Tech start ups: putting money where your mouth is
Start-ups' technology can give a firm a competitive edge. Does this mean companies should fund new ventures themselves?
BT's process for Brightstar was, though, rather different to the idea behind JLAB. BT had technologies it was developing for internal use, and wanted to spin those out, to attract a wider market and more investment. John Lewis, though, is looking for ideas from outside its business.
The fact that such a well-known retailer is looking to invest in technology is good for the UK's start-up scene. But it also illustrates the relative lack of funding for start-up businesses in the UK. In a mature market for start ups, companies with ideas good enough for a national retailer should be able to find funding independently.
It also suggests that John Lewis feels the sector needs a boost and perhaps a nudge towards thinking of retail, rather than, say, consumer-entertainment apps.
And its investment, initially at least, is modest. But if a modest investment in a technology can help to realise an idea, it may be something that other firms, in other industries, could try too.
Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT Pro.
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