“Computer Vision and Machine Learning startup DigitalBridge selected by the John Lewis Partnership as the pick of a crop” The Times

Posted on:
06-Sep-2016

Bosses at Manchester-based computer vision start-up Digital Bridge are celebrating after winning the coveted partner award as part of the John Lewis’ ‘JLAB’ programme which encourages new innovation in retail.

DigitalBridge, which has developed a design tool that uses computer vision and machine learning to allow customers to virtually redecorate their own home was one of five companies out of 280 applicants invited to pitch for investment.

JLAB Times picAnd last night (Sept 5) at an exclusive event at The Shard in London, DigitalBridge CEO David Levine pitched the business to John Lewis chiefs who have the option to invest in the business. Of the five businesses taking part in the JLAB accelerator programme, DigitalBridge was voted the favourite startup by 360 partners at John Lewis HQ, achieving 36% of the votes.

Irish born David, 39, who set up DigitalBridge in 2013 after a conversation with his wife about wallpaper, said:

“To be named one of the finalists of the JLAB programme was an honour and an invaluable experience, but to get the backing of partners who recognise the value the business could bring to John Lewis is a real vote of confidence and will be a springboard to better things ahead.

“We’ve spent nearly three months being part of the JLAB programme and it has been such an incredible opportunity for DigitalBridge. We’ve learnt so much about how we can take the technology forward and into the retail market and thanks to John Lewis we can hopefully do that on a massive scale.”

Explaining how he came up with the idea for DigitalBridge David added: “I came home from work one day and my wife held up two small samples of wallpaper and asked me which one I thought looked best.

“I couldn’t decide because I couldn’t imagine what they would look like up on the wall. I thought I couldn’t be the only person who has this problem so I started to design the app to solve it.”

As part of the JLAB programme, DigitalBridge has received mentoring by senior bosses at John Lewis’ HQ in London.

David recently met with CEO Andy Street to discuss the potential for the technology start-up.

David and his team, which is based at Manchester’s Science Park, have been working on their app for the past three years.

Most recently they trialed the tool at John Lewis’ Cheadle store during the bank holiday weekend, where the product received positive feedback from customers and boosted wallpaper sales over the weekend.

The software – which David is hoping to white label to retailers – works within existing websites and does not require the download of a mobile app.

Customers can take a picture of the room they want to decorate and the tool converts the image into a scaled 3D model, which the customer can then decorate to see how products will look in their own rooms.

The company also recently secured another £350,000 of investment, and has even received the approval of Silicon Valley stalwart Robert Scoble during a visit to Digital Bridge’s Manchester base.

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