Startup Weekly: Travis Perkins launches accelerator, IAG announces second TravelTech programme and more

Here’s your weekly roundup of news about startup competitions, awards, accelerators, and any other exciting developments in the UK tech sector.

Travis Perkins launches accelerator

Travis Perkins has launched BreakThru, its own accelerator programme for startups working on solutions to improve the health and safety of employees and customers.

The accelerator will also be open to firms working to digitise various aspects of Travis Perkins’ business processes.

BreakThru, a 11-week programme, is being run collaboration with L Marks and will seek to provide startups with mentoring, access to Travis Perkins’ scale and network, pilot opportunities and a chance to pitch for investment.

John Carter, CEO of Travis Perkins plc said: “We are very excited to launch our first accelerator programme at Travis Perkins. Our goal is to provide a seamless customer experience through harnessing the latest innovations and ideas brought by startups.

“We hope the startups who join us can challenge us internally, while we also hope to provide them with the expertise and support to take their product or solution to the next level.”

L Marks chairman Stuart Marks added: “The opportunity to partner with the UK’s largest supplier of building materials is a unique and exciting challenge. This is a sector that has huge potential for innovation and together with Travis Perkins we want to find solutions that can provide an even better service for customers.

“The scale of Travis Perkins and its businesses also gives startups the ideal platform to validate their product or service.”

Applications close at midnight on Wednesday 2nd August 2017.

TravelTech accelerator

Technology startups operating in the aviation sector can also apply for International Airlines Group’s new programme, based in Spain.

Successful startups will be given 10 weeks of intensive industry expert advice to develop and test their products, the company said.

Additionally, IAG says it will secure investment for the startups.

Bhupender Singh, CEO of Intelenet Global Services, said: “The travel industry is ripe for innovation, from maintenance and engineering to customer experience. Airlines operate on small profit margins, and are progressively turning to cutting edge technology to reduce costs, improve operations and enhance the passenger experience. Directing investment technology allows travel providers to be more agile and flexible in how they support passengers to manage their travel plans.

“Airlines are now understanding the importance of personalisation at every touch point of the customer journey, and are using customer data to personalise the experience from the very first interaction. Digital technologies enable data to be quickly collected, analysed, and collated into reports. This allows airlines and airports to personalise their services, which in turn, boosts customer loyalty. Ultimately, automation improves operating efficiency for travel providers, whilst ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction,” he continued.

Emerging Payments Awards 2017 calls for entries

The Emerging Payments Awards 2017 is now accepting nominations for industry contributor awards.

The award will be handed out to an individual or group who has show significant positive influence to the growth and development of the payments industry over the past year.

Nominations close at 5pm on Friday 4th August.

Octopus Ventures gets a new partner

And finally, Octopus Ventures has announced that Stephen Morana will be joining the firm as a venture partner.

Morana, who has worked at Betfair, Zoopla and Boohoo, will be supporting the firm’s portfolio businesses throughout their growth journey.

The new venture partner held a number of executive roles at Betfair over a period of ten years where and helped guide the business through its IPO in 2010.

On the appointment, Alex Macpherson, head of Octopus Ventures, said: “We are delighted to welcome Stephen to the team. Having worked with him previously via our portfolio business, Zoopla, we know that he’s a world-class executive with an incredible knack for growing businesses. Access to his experience around scaling UK tech businesses to £1 billion plus valuations and managing IPOs will be an incredible asset to our portfolio, and is an example of the additional support we always strive to provide for the businesses we back.”

Morana added: “During my time at Zoopla I witnessed first-hand Octopus’ passion and drive to support its portfolio businesses. Octopus is a phenomenal partner for any high-growth business to have and the team’s transparency, honesty and support make it unique. I’m looking forward to working with the portfolio and helping those teams as they look to the next phase of growth.”

That’s all for today … see you next Friday!