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What is Platform-V?

 

Platform-V, the startup accelerator programme from Virgin Trains designed in partnership with Virgin StartUp, is offering you the opportunity to develop your business and products over an intensive 5 week period. If you have built disruptive innovations (service, product or technology) that fits the below challenges and are accelerating to market we want to hear from you.  

The five-week programme will enable you learn how to scale while working closely with the Virgin Trains senior management team and experts across the Virgin Group. At the end of the programme we will be looking to test and trial the most promising products and services with our rail customers.

Virgin is famous for fostering innovation, having started more than 300 businesses over the last 40 years we know that progress relies on collaboration. Run in association with start-up specialists, Virgin StartUp, we are inviting start-ups with disruptive tech to join Platform-V on a journey that will help take your business to the next level, while building a relationship with the UK’s most recognised brand.

 

Innovation Challenges: 

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Improving end-to-end journey

Forget station to station, we need to deliver door to door.  Can we transform the journeys our customers take to and from our stations?

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Data-Driven "On-boarding" to understand customers

Only 30% of our customers are on our digital grid, but we value EVERY customer on board. How can we learn more from our customers?

 
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Behind the Scenes "decision process”

The way we manage our behind the scenes challenge, has a massive impact on our ability to deliver for our customers and retain happy, productive staff. What tools can help us support behind the scenes operations?

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Wildcard

We want to hear from the technologists and entrepreneurs who are transforming customers’ lives to identify how their innovations could apply to the rail industry.


 

Why join Platform-V?

This is an opportunity to scale your business with one of the most respected brands in the world, fine tuning your proposition alongside a leading UK train operator. Participants can expect:

  • Mentorship from Virgin Trains East Coast Senior Management Team and experts from across the Virgin Group;
  • Go-to-market strategy and product validation from Virgin Trains East Coast experts and customers;
  • Possible funding for in-market trials through the Virgin Trains East Coast Rail Innovation Fund;
  • A network of external mentors from external specialists with specific market experience;
  • Free office space at WeWork Labs E8 and Virgin StartUp in W2;
  • The opportunity to scale your business with Virgin Trains.
 
 

Platform-V provides an opportunity to fast-track the collaboration process and finds disruptive start-ups that align to our goals and challenges. We want to build a mutually beneficial experience, one that allows us to discover industry-changing innovations and give talented start-ups a platform to grow and develop their products.

Zero equity is taken in exchange for joining Platform V. However, where we see a business opportunity together, we may offer funding in exchange for running a trial with your company. We welcome discussions concerning the trial funding throughout the 5 weeks, however we tend to make final decisions about funding towards the end of the programme and our period of collaboration.

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What happens if my business is selected for Platform V?

 

Shortlisted start-ups will attend a ‘Pitch Day’ to present their innovation to a judging panel of senior Virgin Trains East Coast and Virgin Group representatives to secure a place on the programme.

Start-ups selected for the programme will then meet weekly at Virgin Trains East Coast in Kings Cross, for 5 intensive days of modules specifically designed to give start-ups the tools they need to scale-up. This includes first-class mentoring, allowing participating start-ups the chance to learn from seasoned executives, entrepreneurs and subject matter experts, who will be on hand to help.

The most promising of these start-ups will be given access to capital for trials and potential ongoing commercial relationship where mutually beneficial.


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The not-for-profit Virgin company for entrepreneurs, we provide buiness advice, funding and mentoring to start-ups across the UK

Virgin Trains East Coast is a train operating company in the United Kingdom that operates the InterCity East Coast franchise on the East Coast Main Line between London, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland.

Over the last five decades, from our roots with Student Magazine and Virgin Records, right up to the present day with Virgin Hotels and Virgin Galactic, we have worked tirelessly to make the world a better place for our customers.