A WORLDWIDE hunt for 'digital disruptors' could soon pay dividends for a Bolton electricals giant.

Middlebrook-based AO.com launched a search for technology partners earlier this year through its own innovation lab.

Around 200 responses were received, as the retailer looked to source ideas to improve on their online offering.

Fifteen firms were eventually shortlisted as part of a 'pitch day' at their Parklands headquarters.

And now bosses, who worked with tech advisors L Marks, have announced that Amsterdam's Surfly is their pick.

Under their proposals customers, through sharing screens, should be able to navigate their way more smoothly around the AO.com site.

David Lawson, AO.com's managing director, said: "We're pleased to announce our first partnership with Surfly following a successful pitch day in our Innovation Lab.

"Surfly will make it much easier and faster for customers to navigate around our website to find the right products for them.

"We’re looking forward to working collaboratively with Surfly in the coming months."

Nichola Piël, founder of Surfly, which has been going since 2012, added: “The pitch day at AO was an incredible experience and we’re thrilled to have been selected to partner with AO.

"We're extremely grateful for the opportunity and we're looking forward to working with such a forward-thinking business."

Shortlisted start-ups headed to Greater Manchester from across the globe for the chance to pitch for the Bolton firm's interest. Each was given 15 minutes to stake their claim.

Another three partnerships, with tech companies in Europe and America, are also in the embryonic stages as a result of the same exercise, it has been confirmed.

The application process was launched earlier this year, with a deadline of May 22. An extensive mentoring programme and the possibility of significant investment were all touted, when the scheme was first advertised.