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Qantas start-up accelerator takes off

George Nott | March 20, 2017
Carrier will give operational and passenger data access to 10 innovative teams

Qantas Airways
Qantas Airways

In its first scheduled flight in 1922, Qantas' aircraft, an Avro 504K, never got off the ground. The company is hoping for more success with a start-up programme which shares the name of its first plane and launches today.

The national carrier's AVRO Accelerator will give up to 10 start-ups the chance to work with Qantas Group mentors and pitch ideas to "streamline the travel experience, design smarter ways of working, unlock the potential of new technologies and help solve business problems".

Participants will be given access to Qantas Group's operational data, technology platforms and anonymised customer insights as part of the 12-week programme, which has been designed in partnership with corporate accelerator Slingshot.

"We're looking forward to opening up our doors to ideas that are different, challenging and truly innovative. Ideas that could benefit from the expertise and scale at a company like Qantas to refine them and make them a reality," said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

"Customer needs keep evolving and the limits of technology are constantly expanding, so there is a clear business imperative for us to find new ways to improve how we operate."

Applicants, who stand to receive up to $150,000 of funding from the Slingshot Venture Fund, are required to focus on one of five themes relating to improving the travel experience, streamlining processes and finding efficiencies.

The start-ups will also have the opportunity to gain additional future investment from Qantas and its investment partners. Those accepted on the programme will also be given perks provided by AWS, Adobe, Bizspark Plus, IBM, Salesforce, Wework, MYOB, Xero, Alibaba Cloud, Hubspot, SendGrid, Zendesk, Autopilot and Dropbox.

Slingshot CEO Karen Lawson said the programme was a part of a trend in which large corporates were recognising the value start-ups could bring to their businesses.

"An innovation strategy must include an external approach to tap into an increasing world of disruption and talent. We are seeing a fundamental shift as more corporate boardrooms mature in their understanding of the role start-ups and scale-ups play in navigating the reinvention of their industry and meeting customer's changing expectations," she said.

Applications can be made at avroaccelerator.qantas.com and will be accepted until April 27, following informational roadshows in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, the first of which takes place in Sydney on March 29.

Pitch days will take place in early May, before the 12-week programme kicks off in June.

 

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