BMW Group launches UK innovation lab

Written by Anthony Strzalek

BMW Group UK has announced the launch of its 2018 innovation lab, building on the success of its inaugural lab in 2016, which saw four out of five startups succeed in building ongoing relationships with the company’s UK commercial operations.

The BMW Innovation Lab entrepreneur programme provides an opportunity for early-stage startup companies to partner with BMW Group’s UK commercial divisions. The programme is aimed at companies with disruptive business models or new technologies that could benefit BMW customers. Businesses can enter any of four categories:

• Seamless customer experience – how startup technology can add value to both the online and in-person retail process.
• Enhancing business processes – automating existing operations.
• Access versus ownership – exploring new business models to give existing and new target customer groups greater access to mobility solutions.
• RegTech wildcard – new solutions focused around the affordability, compliance and regulatory environments.
• Run in partnership with the tech fund and innovation specialist L Marks, the entrepreneur programme will see successful startups selected to join a structured 10-week course. Participants will have access to mentorship from the BMW Group’s UK leadership team, benefit from a collaborative working environment at the company’s UK HQ, access to vehicles and other resources, a business education programme with links to a network of industry experts, and access to investors and fundraising support from L Marks.

Mike Dennett, CEO at BMW Group Financial Services, said: “The BMW Innovation Lab was designed to ensure it would have a real and long-lasting effect on our business. By working with the startups, it opened our minds to how we can be more agile, how we can be faster to market and how we can think just that little bit differently.

“Last year’s cohort is evidence of this. Four of the businesses have a continuing commercial engagement with BMW. That’s good for BMW but it is also a great opportunity for any startup to secure your first enterprise-scale relationship.”