Home Strategy Qantas launches start-up accelerator programme

Qantas launches start-up accelerator programme

Qantas has launched a new start-up accelerator Avro, seeking start-ups to work with the airline on its innovation agenda.

The national carrier’s launch of its Avro Accelerator gives 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.

Up to 10 teams will ultimately be chosen for the Avro programme and, as well as access to Qantas and industry mentors, participants will be able to tap into some of the Qantas Group’s operational data, technology platforms and anonymised customer insights to bring their ideas to life.

The airline says the 12-week programme has been designed in partnership with Slingshot, Australia’s first and most experienced corporate accelerator programme.

The initiative comes as Qantas steps up its focus on innovation, with investments in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and high speed onboard Wi-Fi, new digital and mobile tools, and disruptive ventures in sectors like health insurance and financial services.

Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said the Avro accelerator was an opportunity for smart new business thinkers to shape the future of travel.

“The programme is named after our first ever aircraft, the Avro 504K, as a tribute to Qantas’ long history of aviation industry ‘firsts’,” Joyce said.

“We’re proud of our track record as innovators and early adopters and we think there’s much more to come, so we’re asking Australian and international start-ups to join us as we unearth the next big ideas.

“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.

“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.”

Slingshot chief executive Karen Lawson said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with one of Australia’s most iconic brands to deliver a program that will pair an innovative company with passionate entrepreneurs and disruptive, impactful business ideas.

“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.”

Qantas says applicants who want to join the programme should reflect one of the following themes:

•    Creating seamless journeys: Revolutionise the travel experience from inspiration to destination.

•    Care beyond the air: Enrich customers’ lives and our communities physically, socially and financially.

•    Building connected platforms: Unlock simplicity in an increasingly connected world.

•    Transforming for tomorrow: Streamline processes to create efficiencies without impacting safety.

•    Innovating without limits: Uncover the next break-through business that we just need to know about.

Start-up programme participants will receive up to $150,000 of funding from the Slingshot Venture Fund and start-ups and scale-ups have the opportunity to gain additional future investment from Qantas and the airline’s investment partners.

Applications can be made at www.qantas.com/avro and will close at 11:59pm AEDT 27 April following informational roadshows in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).