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Wincanton: W2 Labs

We launched our first programme with UK logistics giant Wincanton in 2017. Following the success of WLabs 2017, Wincanton is preparing to launch its second collaboration programme in September 2018. Designed to fast-track disruptive young businesses working in logistics, WLabs invited seven startups to join Wincanton’s UK operation for 10 weeks. With the startups’ help, the company was able to develop its new business strategy through digital transformation.

In addition to looking to enter into commercial relationships with the startups, Wincanton had put aside capital to invest in the most promising teams.

The launch of WLabs reached media and startups across the world, with over 90 applications from 20 countries.

“We’ve run the W2 Labs programme in collaboration with L Marks, the startups and with our customers. We wanted to harness the passion and unconstrained thinking that startups can bring, along with their ideas and experience, especially within the digitisation of business more generally. The W2 Labs programme has shown us what it takes to succeed and has helped us add to our new digital proposition portfolio” 

Adrian Coleman, CEO Wincanton

The businesses selected to join WLabs ranged from concept stage to revenue generating and covered a wide array of technologies. The following seven companies took part:


Synaptiv is a connected car platform which takes data from sensors embedded in commercial and passenger vehicles to deliver real time services using big data analytics.


Cinchapi is an intelligent data platform that uses sophisticated machine learning to automate data discovery across databases and devices


This powerful cloud-based software platform has mobile applications for vehicle tracking, asset tracking, signature capture and remote invoice printing.


ZigZag links retailers, warehouses and couriers, allowing e-commerce retailers to better manage international returns.


By aggregating self-storage and warehousing options, Storekat enables consumers to easily locate, compare and reserve self-storage space.


An online marketplace where shippers and carriers can benefit from unused loading spaces.

Street Stream

Street Stream is a Web and app-based courier network offering same day and premium delivery.

Since the end of the first collaboration programme, Wincanton has continued to work with the companies that participated in WLabs and has publicly announced some partnerships.


Startup profile: ZigZag Global

In July 2018, Wincanton announced a new strategic partnership with ZigZag, a startup offering a comprehensive, end to end returns solution to the retail market.

ZigZag’s technology allows retailers to make returns quick and easy for consumers, giving them the ability to grade their returned products, as well as consolidate, refurbish, locally redistribute, recycle, destroy or even resell their stock internationally.

With the increasing burden of customer expectation continues to transform the e-commerce landscape, returns is one of the key issues facing retailers. By combining ZigZag’s returns management platform with Wincanton’s collaborative logistics expertise, the two companies are able to offer a significant value-add to retailers experiencing increased consumer demand. Paul Durkin, Director Home and eFulfilment at Wincanton, said:

“The changing nature of online sales, coupled with new innovations in the marketplace, means that the retail sector is being disrupted at an unprecedented rate. This is putting retailers under huge pressure to improve their customer service levels, especially the way in which they manage returns so that the customer is able to rapidly repurchase alternative goods.

In ZigZag, Wincanton has identified a partner with substantial expertise, and a compelling approach to tackling the returns challenge. By integrating Wincanton’s eFulfilment proposition with ZigZag’s technology, we are able to help retailers process and consolidate returns, thereby reducing costs, as well as the burden on their customer service teams. As part of our W2 Partner Network, this agreement is a key differentiator for us.”

Patrick Eve, Managing Director at ZigZag, said:

“With retail customers not just desiring, but expecting, both free returns and longer returns windows, our technology aims to solve a complex and expensive problem for retailers.

We’re providing a cheaper and more efficient way for retailers to analyse their returned stock, decide what to do with it and keep their customers happy. In partnership with Wincanton, we believe we can play a huge role in helping Wincanton’s retail customers to lead the charge on this issue.”


Startup Profile: Storekat

The team behind Storekat was one of the standouts from W2 Labs pitch day, presenting an idea which was innovative with strong commercial potential. It was clear from our discussions with them that their proposition was backed by a team with a real understanding of the opportunities available to businesses such as Wincanton.

Storekat was conceived by its two co-founders, one with supply chain experience and the other a cloud architect, who found there was no easy way to book commercial storage online. Consequently, their platform is an easy to use online booking system which helps match businesses with space available with businesses looking to rent storage facilities.

Storekat ran a successful trial with Wincanton during the 10-week programme to develop a market-leading proposition for brokering free space in Wincanton’s  warehouse network as well as yard space and even office space. Following the programme, Storekat secured a commercial contract with Wincanton as well as investment from Wincanton and L Marks.

“W2 Labs has been a fantastic experience for myself and the Storekat team. It’s great to work with a big company like Wincanton with all their resources but also the drive and motivation to really shake things up.”

Kevin Forcier, CEO Storekat




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