Start-ups invited to submit and pitch ideas to win a chance of taking part in Platform X
Virgin Trains – in partnership with Virgin StartUp – is on the look-out for top disruptive innovators to take part in PlatformX, a business accelerator programme designed to find the next generation of start-up firms who could help transform the future of rail travel.
The two companies say they have joined forces to identify and inspire start-ups with a series of innovation challenges set by Virgin Trains. Start-ups are invited to submit and pitch their ideas to win a chance of taking part in Platform X.
Over five weeks, the successful start-ups will benefit from access to mentoring from Virgin Trains senior management team, external specialists and experts across the Virgin Group who will also help to develop go-to-market strategies. Platform X start-ups will also benefit from office space in London at Virgin StartUp and potential funding for in-market trials.
Over the next three weeks, start-ups are invited to apply with their ideas of a product or service that will tackle one of four challenges. The first challenge is around ensuring customers have a great end-to-end journey to and from the train and beyond; the second is to help Virgin Trains understand more about their customers and what makes them tick; and the third is to around how innovation can help the company tackle operational challenges when disruption hits. Finally, Virgin wants to hear from innovators whose ideas are already transforming the lives of customers and could be applied to the rail industry.
Once applications close on 28 May, entries will be shortlisted and start-ups will be invited to pitch their ideas on6 June to secure their place on the programme which will start on 3 July. In August, selected start-ups will be invited to test their ideas with in-market trials which could pave the way for a future partnership with Virgin trains.
Warrick Dent, Safety and Operations Director at Virgin Trains on the east coast, said: “As part of the Virgin Group, we are always on the lookout for ways to do things differently. Platform X gives us a great opportunity to invite ideas from technologists and entrepreneurs about how we could transform rail journeys in the future and in return provides start-ups with an opportunity to grow and scale their business.
“We’re really excited about hearing from the brightest and best innovators about how we can do things differently, and we hope we can help take some of these start-ups with us on a journey that will help make their ideas become reality.”
Managing Director Mei Shui said: “Virgin has a history of empowering and supporting those looking to create positive disruptive change. The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree where Virgin StartUp is concerned; we’ve so far supported over 1800 entrepreneurs and from our experience this community is one of the most vibrant in the business world.”