LONDON, Dec. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 will be open from 5 December 2017. Belron welcomes young businesses as well as startups at every stage to apply for a chance to pitch their ideas in March 2018.
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.
For more information, please visit: www.drivewithbelron.com.
To learn more about Drive watch the video here.
About Drive with Belron
Drive with Belron was designed to find startups with disruptive solutions who could help improve operations and discover new ways of working. Understanding that innovative collaboration is crucial for continued development, the Drive with Belron accelerator is back for its third year.
With around 15 million consumers in over 30 countries, Drive provides startups with the opportunity to trial their solution in a global market.
Each team involved in the programme will be partnered with one of several participating countries (last year's participants included Spain, France, Germany and the US) with whom they will get an unparalleled opportunity to trial their products and solutions.
As well as this opportunity to validate their business in international markets, participating companies will have access to desk space at Belron's offices in Egham, UK and receive dedicated mentoring from senior leadership. Belron wants to create long lasting partnerships, which is why they, and their investment partner L Marks, will ensure potential investment is available for participating companies.
Belron makes a difference by solving people's problems with real care. It is the worldwide leader in vehicle glass repair and replacement, trading under more than 10 major brands including Carglass®, Safelite® AutoGlass and Autoglass®. In addition, it manages vehicle glass and other insurance claims on behalf of insurance customers. Belron is also expanding its services to focus on solving problems for people who need assistance with repairs to their vehicles and homes.
Belron looks after around 15 million consumers each year in over 30 countries on six continents with a focus on service quality generating a very high level of customer satisfaction.
About L Marks
L Marks are innovation specialists and early stage investors. We work with some of the UK's best known brands, including John Lewis, BMW and EDF Energy to identify the challenges in their business, and create bespoke partnership and scouting projects to turn these into opportunities for improvement and innovation. Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Stuart Marks, L Marks aims to build bridges between corporates seeking to innovate and young companies with disruptive tech.
You can find out more about Drive at: www.drivewithbelron.com.
To learn more about Drive watch the video here.
Follow us on social: #DriveWithBelron or find us on Twitter @DriveBelron.
[*]Belron and L Marks have committed a total investment pot of £200,000 to invest in the startups participating in the programme. The investment will be allocated at the discretion of Belron and L Marks between participating startups, up to £100,000 per startup.
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