Terms & Conditions


Platform-X Programme 2017:


Platform-X is the name given to the development and mentoring programme (the “Programme”) developed and run by Virgin Start Up LTD for East Coast Main Line Company Limited trading as Virgin Trains East Coast and designed to support entrepreneurs developing products to find solutions to business and customer challenges in the rail industry.

The Organisers (as defined below) are offering the opportunity for up to eight individuals or teams to participate in the Programme. By applying to become a participant in the Programme, you give your full and unconditional agreement to these terms & conditions (the “Terms & Conditions”) and submit to the Organisers’ decisions, which are made in their absolute discretion and are final and binding in all matters related to the Programme. If you are invited to become a participant in the Programme, your participation is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth in these Terms & Conditions and entering into such further agreements as may be required by the Organisers or referenced in these Terms & Conditions. Participants take part in the Programme at their own risk and the Organisers shall not be responsible for any disappointment, loss of opportunity or any other type of loss incurred by participants as a result of their participation in the Programme.


1.1.  For the purposes of these Terms & Conditions, the following terms shall have the following meanings.

1.1.1.     “Virgin Group” means (a) Virgin Group Holdings Limited, its subsidiary undertakings, its parent undertakings and any subsidiary undertaking of any such parent undertaking (each as defined in section 1162 of the Companies Act 2006), (b) any entity which has the name “Virgin” in its title and licenses the right to use the “Virgin” name, directly or indirectly, from Virgin Enterprises Limited and each of its subsidiary undertakings, (c) the Virgin Foundation (a registered charity trading as Virgin Unite), and (d) Sir Richard Branson and the Branson family

1.1.2.     Reference to the “Organisers” means each of:

a)             East Coast Main Line Company Limited (company no 04659708) trading as Virgin Trains East Coast whose registered office is at Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NZ (“VTEC”); and

b)             Virgin Start Up Limited (company no 03390330) whose registered office is The Battleship Building, 179 Harrow Road, London W2 6NB, UK (“VSUL”)


2.1.  To be eligible to participate in the Programme, applicants must:

2.1.1.     be an individual or a team of individuals that has formed a company or corporation (including not-for-profit corporations and other non-profit organisations), limited liability company, partnership, or other legal entity; and

2.1.2.     not be equity funded or financially supported by UK Rail Operators.

2.2.  In addition to the eligibility criteria set out in clause 2.1, each applicant team member must:

2.2.1.      be aged 18 years and over with the right to work in the United Kingdom (the “UK”) and the right to remain in the UK for the duration of the Programme;

2.2.2.      accept and comply with these Terms & Conditions;

2.2.3.      not be employees of any member of the Virgin Group; and

2.2.4.      have all necessary corporate approvals required in order to enter the Programme. For example, if an applicant is a co-owned business, the applicant must have obtained, the prior written consent of the co-owner(s) before applying to enter the Programme. Where applicable, by agreeing to these Terms & Conditions, the applicant warrants and represents that it has received the written consent of any co-owner(s) of its business.

2.3.  Applicants that comply with all of the eligibility criteria set out under clauses 2.1 and 2.2 will be eligible to enter the Programme (“Valid Applicants”). VSUL shall carefully consider whether each applicant meets the eligibility criteria set out under this clause 2 and all decisions relating thereto are final.

2.4.  Each applicant that is formed of a team must appoint one individual (the “Representative”) to represent and act on its behalf, including by registering an application. The Representative represents and warrants that he/she is duly authorised to act on behalf of the team, that he/she has read these Terms & Conditions, and that the members of the applicant team have also read and agree to abide by these Terms & Conditions.

2.5.  All costs incurred by applicants in preparing and submitting an application, participation in the Programme or any related events (“Programme Events”) (including travel expenses), shall be borne by the applicant and, unless agreed otherwise in writing by both of the Organisers, applicants will not be reimbursed for any cost incurred.

2.6.  International Valid Applicants who are invited to participate in the Programme or any Programme Events may be subject to UK visa requirements or restrictions and each applicant is responsible for organising any relevant visa requirements, complying with any visa restrictions and any associated costs that may apply to them.


3.1.  Applications may be submitted between 00:00GMT on 25th April 2017 and 23:59GMT on 11th June 2017 (the “Application Period”).

3.2.  Any application entered outside the Application Period is not guaranteed to be considered for participation in the Programme. However, the Organisers reserve the right to consider late applications in exceptional circumstances (and the Organisers shall decide in their sole discretion whether such exceptional circumstances apply).

3.3.  To be eligible to participate in the Programme, applications must be submitted by clicking “Apply” and completing the instructions via the Virgin StartUp website, found at :// www.platformx.co.uk (an “Application”).

3.4.  Applications must present innovative business ideas (services, products or technologies) that fall within one of the following categories:

    a) Improving the “End-to-End” journeys of passengers – providing solutions that will transform the rail journeys of VTEC customers; improving the travelling experience from start to finish;
    b) Getting more customers onto VTEC’s digital grid (“On Board”) – providing solutions that can help VTEC grow its passenger database, improve online customers experience and increase all aspects of customer engagement;
    c) Improving the “Behind the Scenes” decision making processes (including the way VTEC manage disruption and communications with staff) – providing solutions that can transform internal processes, drive operational efficiency and improve the customer experience; or
    d) “Wildcard” entries – from existing solutions that are transforming the customer experience and novel innovations that could be applied to the rail industry.  

3.5.  Only one Application per team will be accepted. Any additional Applications from the same team will be disqualified and may result in the disqualification of the first Application submitted.

3.6.  The Application must contain the following information:
    a) A description of the product or concept developed or in development;
    b) The stage of development of the relevant product or concept;
    c) The team, including names and LinkedIn profiles of key members (all team members must have LinkedIn profiles);
    d) Company information (where applicable) as detailed in the application form; and
    e) Why the applicant would like to participate in the Programme and why it believes that its product or concept can deliver any of the objectives listed under clause 3.4.

3.7.  The Application form must be filled in completely and accurately. Application forms that are incomplete (where questions are left unanswered) or that are discovered at any time to be inaccurate or fraudulent may be disqualified from the Programme, in the absolute discretion of the Organisers. By entering an Application, you represent and warrant that:

3.7.1.     all information submitted in the Application is true, current and complete; and

3.7.2.     all work relating to your business is your own work and all intellectual property rights in that work are either owned by you or your business or that your business has all requisite permissions or licences to any intellectual property that it uses.


4.1.  Failure to submit an Application in accordance with these Terms & Conditions will mean entrants will not be eligible to enter the Programme. The Organisers accept no responsibility for any Applications that are lost, delayed, corrupted, damaged, incomplete or otherwise invalid. The Organisers will not be responsible for any fault or failure (including technical or digital) which prevents an entrant from applying for the Programme, howsoever caused.

4.2.  Applications may be rejected or disqualified from the Programme at the sole discretion of the Organisers for reasons including but not limited to breach of these Terms & Conditions, obscenity, abuse of any kind, defamation, an invasion of privacy or any other objectionable content. Any entrant found to be submitting unsolicited bulk messages (i.e. spam) or posting the same Application from more than one email address will be disqualified from the Programme.


5.1.  Applications will be put through an initial screening by the Organisers. The Organisers will rate the quality of all Applications submitted by Valid Applicants by considering the following points (“Selection Criteria”):

5.1.1.     Quality of Concept – how it addresses key challenges in the rail industry.

5.1.2.     Commercial Potential – how much demand there is for this product/service.

5.1.3.     Potential Impact on VTEC – the impact this could have on solving challenges specific to VTEC’s and improving its offering to customers.

5.1.4.     How quickly would the team be able to integrate their solution into VTEC’s business?

5.1.5.     Quality of the team – to what extent does the team have the potential to succeed in delivering the points set out in this clause 5.1?

5.1.6.     Suitability for the Programme – the benefits the entrant would get out of participating in the Programme and partnering with VTEC?

5.2.  The Organisers reserve the right to change, amend or add to the Selection Criteria at any time. All decisions relating to the fulfilment of the Selection Criteria are final.


6.1.  The key dates are as follows:

6.1.1.     Application Period opens – 25th of April 2017   

6.1.2.     Application Period closes – 11th of June 2017

6.1.3.     Pitch-Day – 21st of June 2017

6.1.4.     Successful Valid Applicants at the Pitch Day will be invited to become Participants on the Programme – By 22nd of June 2017

6.1.5.     Programme Commences – 3rd July 2017

6.1.6.     Trial Week – 7th August 2017

6.1.7.     Programme ends – 11th August 2017

6.2.  In order to participate in the Programme, all Valid Applicants must be available:

6.2.1.     for a “Pitch-Day” hosted by VSUL on 21st June 2017 in London (location to be confirmed and dates subject to change);

6.2.2.     if selected to participate in the Programme after the Pitch Day, for 5 weeks from 3rd July 2017 to 31st August 2017 (dates subject to change). The Programme shall take place each Monday at one of VTEC’s premises in the UK (locations to be confirmed at a later date);

6.2.3.     if selected to test the product in the market (the “Trial”), from the 7th August 2017 (dates subject to change); 

6.2.4.     on reasonable notice for ad hoc media requests for interview or commentary regarding the Programme; and

6.2.5.     on reasonable notice, to provide small amounts of written content for blogs or diaries as reasonably requested by the Organisers.

6.3.  The Organisers reserve the right to change these dates at any time without notice, though will always provide as much notice as possible in the event that there is a change to the Timetable. The Organisers reserve the right to disqualify any Valid Applicant, Shortlisted Participant or Programme Participant that is unable to attend any of the timetabled Programme Events under this clause 6 for any reason and shall bear no liability to any Valid Applicant, Shortlisted Participant or Programme Participant for doing so.


7.1.  Up to 20 Valid Applicants will be selected to take part in the Pitch Day (“Shortlisted Participants”). Shortlisted Participants will be selected according to the Selection Criteria set out in clause 5.

7.2.  All Shortlisted Participants will be subject to further due diligence before their participation in the Pitch Day is confirmed. This will include, without limitation, verification of identity (including rights to live and work in the UK without sponsorship) and security checks such as personal history, criminal record and financial probity, qualifications and details of the applicant business. If, further to the due diligence checks set out under this clause 7.2, the Organisers (in their absolute discretion) deem that a Shortlisted Participant is not appropriate to take part in the Programme, they shall be disqualified, and another Valid Applicant shall be invited to take their place, subject to passing the due diligence requirements.

7.3.  At the Pitch Day, Shortlisted Participants will be required to present their businesses to a judging panel comprised of representatives of the Organisers, Virgin Management Limited and other invited guests (the “Judging Panel”).

7.4.   Shortlisted Participants shall be required to showcase their products or services to the Judging Panel, to explain how their businesses could benefit VTEC and to answer logistical questions and challenges that would be faced by the Shortlisted Participant if it were to progress to Trial.

7.5.  Up to 8 Shortlisted Participants will be selected by the Judging Panel to participate in the Programme based on their performance on the Pitch Day (“Programme Participants”).

7.6.  In their selection of the Programme Participants, the Judging Panel will consider the following criteria:

7.6.1.     The Shortlisted Participant displays a strong vision, plan and evidence that they can achieve that vision;

7.6.2.     The Shortlisted Participant demonstrates that their business  is commercially viable, its commercial strategy and is able to be scaled up if it was to enter into a partnership with VTEC; and

7.6.3.     The Shortlisted Participant displays creativity, innovation, genuine approach and passion.

7.7.  The Judging Panel’s decision is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into regarding any decision made by the Judging Panel.

7.8.  Following Pitch Day, successful Valid Applicants will be notified and invited to become Programme Participants by 22nd of June 2017.


8.1.  Programme Participants will be allowed to declare participation in the Programme on any website or materials subject to strict compliance with the Promotion Guidance made available to them. If a Programme Participant is disqualified at any stage during the Programme, the right to claim association with the Programme shall be revoked.

8.2.  Programme Participants shall be expected to participate in mentoring sessions, speeches and workshops organised as part of the Programme. The Organisers shall consider a Programme Participant’s external commitments when scheduling activities wherever possible, but accept no responsibility for any Programme Participant’s inability to attend any Programme event due to other commitments.

8.3.   The Organisers reserve the right to disqualify Programme Participants for any reason, including, without limitation, unsatisfactory or inappropriate participation in Programme activities.

8.4.  Unless expressly specified otherwise, applicants, Shortlisted Participants and Programme Participants are responsible for all personal expenses and any ancillary costs incurred as a result of their participation in the Programme including their transport and accommodation (where applicable) to and from all Programme Events. Programme Events include but are not limited to the Pitch-Day, publicity events and any mentoring sessions.

9.     THE TRIAL

9.1.  After the Programme, VTEC may invite some or all of the Programme Participants to take part in the Trial (“Trial Participants”).

9.2.  Trial Participants will be required to agree to additional terms with the Organisers (“Trial Terms”) before the trial begins, which will form a separate agreement to these Terms & Conditions. The Trial Terms will be based on a specific project in which the Trial Participant has been selected by VTEC to take part and shall be negotiated between the Trial Participant and VTEC, acting reasonably and in good faith. Until and unless any such terms are agreed and entered into, Trial Participants shall not be obligated to participate in the Trial and VTEC shall not be obliged to admit the Trial Participant to the Trial.

9.3.  The following support will be provided to Trial Participants:

9.3.1.     VTEC will provide access to sponsors responsible for solution design, go-to-market strategy, IT, engineering and procurement teams;

9.3.2.     VTEC, using the Innovation Fund held by the Department for Transport may, pursuant to an agreement in the Trial Terms, pay for some or all of the Trail costs up to an amount agreed with the Trial Participant. This amount will depend on the requirements of each project and the terms relating thereto shall be set out in the Trial Terms. 

9.4.  Trial Participants agree to take part in all reasonable publicity (such as interviews and photography) and consent to VSUL, virgin.com and VTEC using their name and image (and the name, trade marks and service marks of their business) in promotional material. No remuneration will be paid for any participation in publicity.

9.5.  After the conclusion of the Trial, VTEC, in its sole discretion, may make an offer to one or more Trial Participants to enter into a more long term business arrangement under a separate commercial agreement.

9.6.  The decision as to whether any of the Programme Participants progress to Trial is made strictly at the discretion of VTEC and VTEC is under no obligation to progress any of the Programme Participants to Trial. Furthermore, participation in the Programme or the Trial is absolutely no guarantee that VTEC will enter into any long term commercial agreement with any Shortlisted Participant, Programme Participant or Trial Participant. VSUL accepts no responsibility or liability to any Shortlisted Participant, Programme Participant or Trial Participant for VTEC’s exercise of this discretion.


10.1. In order to facilitate and carry out its obligations under the Programme, the Organisers will use, store and process personal data you provide and will do so at all times in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 as amended, superseded or replaced (the “Act”).

10.2. Your personal information will be used and shared by VSUL in accordance with the Act for the purposes of administration of the Programme and keeping you updated on VSUL products and services in the future. Your personal information (including your name, email address and telephone number) collected during the Programme will only be shared with other members of the Virgin Group as is necessary for the administration of the Programme, which may include transferring your personal information outside of the European Economic Area. Your information will not be used for any purpose other than as stated in these Terms & Conditions unless separately agreed and accepted by you. In submitting an Application, you herby consent to the use of your personal data in compliance with this clause 10. You can opt out of VSUL marketing emails at any time and you can read VSUL’s full privacy policy at http://www.virginstartup.org/privacy_policy/.


11.1. VSUL may, in its absolute discretion vary or amend these Terms & Conditions or terminate the Programme without prior notice at any time. You agree that no liability shall attach to VSUL or any member of the Virgin Group as a result thereof and that, in such circumstances, no compensation will be payable.

11.2. Where the Organisers contact or attempt to contact a Valid Applicant, Shortlisted Participant, Programme Participant or Trial Participant to inform them of their success in progressing to the next stage in the Programme or Trial and the Organisers do not receive a response within twenty four hours of when they first tried to contact that applicant, the Organisers reserve the right to award that applicant’s place in the Programme or Trial to another applicant and the original applicant shall have no further right to participate in the Programme or Trial. The Organisers accept no responsibility whatsoever for the failure of any communication (whether under this clause 11.2 or otherwise) to reach the relevant applicant.

11.3. Applicants to the Programme may be required to share confidential information with the Organisers for the purposes of their participation in the Programme or Trial. The Organisers undertake that they shall keep all confidential information received from applicants confidential and not disclose the same to any third party unless it is necessary to facilitate the Programme or Trial and only where those third parties are bound by confidentiality obligations. Valid Applicants understand that they may also receive confidential information proprietary to the Organisers, including but not limited to any materials received to facilitate their participation in the Programme. By submitting an Application, you agree to keep all materials received by you in the course of your participation in the Programme or Trial confidential, and that you shall apply no lesser security measures to those which protect your own confidential information.

11.4. Neither the Organisers nor the Virgin Group shall be liable for any failure of the Organisers to comply with their obligations under these Terms & Conditions where such failure is caused by factors including (but not limited to) weather conditions, fire, flood, strike, hurricane, industrial dispute, war, terrorist activity, hostilities, political unrest, riots, civil commotion, loss of connectivity, internet or email failure or any other circumstances beyond the control of the Organisers.

11.5. Neither the Organisers nor any member of the Virgin Group shall be liable for property lost, stolen or damaged at any Programme Events or during the Trial.

11.6. All intellectual property relating to the Programme and Trial (excluding Valid Applicants’ products, innovations and proprietary intellectual property), including, but not limited to, trademarks, trade-names, logos, designs, promotional materials, web pages, source codes, drawings, illustrations, slogans and representations, are owned or licensed to VSUL, VTEC or a member of the Virgin Group and all rights relating thereto are reserved to those parties. Unauthorised copying or use of any intellectual property (including the logos of the Organisers or any member of the Virgin Group) without the express written consent of the owners is strictly prohibited. Notwithstanding the forgoing, all intellectual property belonging to applicants and developed by them in the course of participation in the Programme shall remain proprietary to the applicants unless it is specifically agreed otherwise in writing between that applicant and VTEC.

11.7. All applicants (including Valid Applicants, Shortlisted Participants, Programme Participants and Trial Participants) shall behave in a respectful and courteous manner throughout their participation in the Programme and the Trial (if applicable) and shall do nothing to bring the Organisers or any member of the Virgin Group into disrepute, nor carry out any act or omission that might damage the brand of VSUL, VTEC or any member of the Virgin Group. VSUL reserves the right to automatically disqualify any applicant that is in breach of this clause in its absolute discretion, and shall withdraw any offer that may have been made without incurring any liability to the disqualified applicant whatsoever.

11.8. Notwithstanding anything else in these Terms & Conditions, VSUL can only guarantee the delivery of its own obligations set out herein in relation to the Programme and the Trial. VSUL specifically excludes all liability to Valid Applicants, Shortlisted Participants, Programme Participants and Trial Participants, to the extent that the delivery of an obligation under these Terms & Conditions or any part of the Programme or Trial is the responsibility of VTEC or any other third parties. In the event that VTEC is unable to deliver all or any part of its obligations relating to the Programme or Trial, VSUL shall not be responsible for the delivery of those obligations and nor shall it be under any obligation to offer any alternative, be it financial or otherwise. 

11.9. The Programme is run by Virgin Start Up Limited whose registered address is the Battleship Building, 179 Harrow Road, London W2 6NB.

11.10. These Terms are subject to the laws of England and Wales and any dispute arising out of or in connection with this Programme shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.