Putting start-ups on Track TO SCALE-UP

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Fast Track your innovation

What is Platform-X?

Platform-X, the scale-up 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 five-week period. If you have built disruptive innovations (service, product or technology) that fit the below challenges and are accelerating to market, we want to hear from you.  

The five-week programme will focus on enabling you 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 in market with our rail customers.

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 Track record

The Virgin Way.

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 innovations to join Platform-X on a journey that will help take your business to the next level, while building a relationship with the UK’s most recognised brand. 

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Innovation challenges.

cHALLENGE: Improving the “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?

cHALLENGE: "Behind the Scenes" 

The way we manage decisions behind the scenes 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?

cHALLENGE: All “On board” - understand our 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?


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

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the Process

Scale fast,     scale together.

Start-ups selected onto the programme will meet weekly at Virgin Trains Kings Cross for five intensive days 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. 

Programme Timeline

Programme benefits.



Access to Virgin Trains senior management team, external specialists and experts across the Virgin Group.


Go-to-market strategy and product validation from Virgin Trains experts and customers.


Possible funding for in market trials through the £25M Virgin Trains East Coast Innovation Fund.



Access to office space in London at Virgin StartUp (W2). 

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Fresh Innovation. 


The Virgin Group is always on the lookout for exciting businesses to partner or work with. Platform-X provides an opportunity to fast-track the collaboration process and find disruptive start-ups that align to our goals and challenges. We wanted 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-X. 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.


Virgin StartUp is the not-for-profit Virgin company for entrepreneurs, we provide business advice, funding and mentoring to start-ups across the UK. Launched in 2013, Virgin StartUp has delivered more than £20m in funding and provided a platform through which Virgin can share its experience of starting new businesses. 




The Virgin Trains revolution started in 1997. And with our first set of bright and bold trains, we brought a new way of delivering service to the tracks of the UK. Almost 20 years and a fleet of tilting trains later, we’re still top of the destination board. Loved by the good people of Great Britain, the Virgin Trains brand is synonymous with travelling long distances across the country. In style.