Branson and Virgin Trains want you! Hunt is on for start-ups focused on train travel

Virgin Group's new zero equity accelerator programme has £25m funding on offer for innovations to improve train journeys...

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UK start-ups with a focus on transport are being called upon to enter Platform-X, the new accelerator programme from Virgin Trains and Virgin StartUp which seeks to develop businesses that can help improve the experience of train travel.

Set over a five week period starting on July 3, the accelerator programme will offer members access to expert mentoring, office space at Kings Cross, and advice on marketing strategy and product validation from Virgin Trains experts and customers.

The accelerator, which takes zero equity in exchange for taking part, can offer funding from a £25m Virgin Trains East Coast Innovation Fund in exchange for running a trial.

Virgin Trains has also promised to fast-track the procurement process to partner with start-ups that aligns to its goals and challenges.

Targeted at “uncovering industry-changing innovations”, the accelerator is seeking start-ups with solutions to improve the following areas of train travel:

  • Improving the “End-to-End” journeys of passengers – Providing solutions that will transform the rail journeys of Virgin Trains customers and improving the travelling experience from start to finish.
  • Getting passengers “All On Board” the digital grid – Providing solutions that can help Virgin Trains grow its passenger database, improve online customers experience and increase all aspects of customer engagement.
  • Improving the “Behind the Scenes” decision making processes – Including the way Virgin Trains manage disruption and communications with staff, providing solutions that can transform internal processes, drive operational efficiency and improve the customer experience.

Wildcard entries will also be considered from businesses already transforming the customer experience in train travel and for those start-ups with novel innovations for the rail industry.

Entries for Platform-X close on June 11 with a pitch day set to be held on June 21 ahead of the accelerator launch on July 3. To apply, follow this link.

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