Drive with Belron Accelerator 2018 launches – apply now! (Sponsored)

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Drive with Belron, powered by investor and innovation partner L Marks, is back, launching a ten-week startup accelerator running from 30 April to 10 July 2018. Belron and L Marks will make available a fund of £200,000 to invest in winning startups.

Designed to fast track the growth of startups in areas that disrupt Belron’s ways of working, the accelerator is looking to invest in startups that: Implement Artificial Intelligence technologies; Transform the vehicle body damage market; Create the easiest personalised customer experience; Make working life easier for Belron people; and a Wildcard category open to any startup with new technology that could make a difference to Belron customers.

It follows the conclusion of the second accelerator cohort, this year which saw tech startups Blitzz, Locpin, Talking Circles and ThriveMap spend ten weeks working with Belron, immersing themselves in its global business operations in the US, Spain and France trialling their products. Three of the startups have also received direct investment so far.

Entrepreneurs and startup companies worldwide looking for an opportunity to trial and develop their products or technology in a global company can apply for the programme. Following a pitch day, five companies will be selected for a place on the accelerator programme, which is due to begin in April 2018.

There are five categories and Belron is looking for startups that want to trial their solutions and help them innovate:

  • Artificial Intelligence: any innovative product or service that can help Belron improve and automate its interaction with its customers and partners; use data to make autonomous real-time decisions and help to support Belron field technicians diagnose damage.
  • Transform the vehicle body damage market: ideas and solutions that can transform the motorist and insurer experience when solving a vehicle body damage problem, or improve internal Belron processes when completing a body damage repair.
  • Creating the easiest personalised experience for Belron customers who want a seamless journey: serving over 15 million people a year, Belron is looking for ideas that make the end-to-end customer journey as seamless and easy as possible.
  • Make working life easier for Belron people: technology to help improve internal systems, process and communication to make the working life of the 13,000 on-the-road technicians and other Belron people easier, so they can better help customers.
  • Wildcard: Belron is open to learn and to be surprised by what new technologies and different approaches can do for its people and customers. This new category aims to welcome startups with ideas they believe can make a difference.

Each team will receive:

  • The chance to trial their product in a ready-made international market
  • Access to expert mentoring from Belron senior leadership as well as experienced entrepreneurs
  • Dedicated office space at Belron’s UK premises just outside London
  • Sponsored visits to the Belron business unit the startup is partnered with
  • The chance to secure follow-on funding of up to £100,000[*]
  • The chance to secure a contract with Belron
  • Access to a range of benefits and startups perks

Applications are now open. Belron welcomes young businesses as well as startups at every stage to apply for a chance to pitch their ideas in March 2018. Apply now!

Nick Burton, Chief Information and Digital Officer at Belron, said: “We’re thrilled to be launching Drive today. This is our third programme and we’re looking forward to bringing in more innovators with technologies that they want to test in a global company. By giving these startups unparalleled access to our brands around the world, along with education and investment support, we can help them accelerate their businesses. Our team is looking forward to learning how entrepreneurs think and approach problem solving, which will challenge us to think and act differently.”

Stuart Marks, Chairman, L Marks said: “After a hugely successful second programme of Drive with Belron, we are excited to announce Drive is back for its third year. As previously, we offer startups access to Belron’s global brands, expert mentorship and the potential of investment. We anticipate another great cohort and will ensure we help startups develop their business while bringing new ideas and innovation to Belron.”

Each company accepted into the Drive with Belron Accelerator will be supported to refine their business model, culminating in a Drive with Belron Demo Day in July 2018. Applications are open now at www.drivewithbelron.com and will be open until 4 February 2018. The programme will begin at the end of April 2018, with the Demo Day scheduled for week commencing 10 July 2018.

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