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BMW selects new startups for Innovation Lab 2018 accelerator

Five startups will pitch their projects to BMW executives for the chance to work with the car manufacturer’s commercial divisions

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BMW has added five more startups to its Lab Accelerator programme, as it seeks to boost customer engagement and operational efficiency through innovation.

The startups fought off competition from 142 applicants from around the world to secure a place on the 10-week programme, which runs out of BMW’s London headquarters, and is now in its second year.

Participants are called upon to create platforms, using the latest technologies, to drive better customer engagement and operational efficiency in three of the car manufacturer’s commercial divisions – BMW Financial Services, BMW Group UK and business mobility company Alphabet.

On 22 March, the startups will pitch their projects to BMW executives, and the successful candidates will be invited to continue working with the company’s commercial divisions once the accelerator ends. Four of last year’s five finalists were given this opportunity.

Mike Dennett, CEO at BMW Group Financial Services, said the accelerator enables the company to work with the latest technologies, which is key to improving the customer experience.

“The Lab is an opportunity for us to engage with startups and incorporate their proprietary technology into our own business, allowing us to cater for customer needs today, while ensuring services are future-proofed for the customer of tomorrow,” he said.

The five startups joining BMW Innovation Lab 2018

Ocasta – Created a platform called Oplift to drive better communication between employees.

Overfit Technologies – Uses the expertise of data scientists to help businesses make the best use of data.

easyCar Club – Offers peer-to-peer car and van hire.

Proximi.io – Enables companies to create location-based advertising.

DOVU – Uses blockchain to offer unique tokens as rewards for individuals who share data about their travel.

Dennett said the startups will also be important in creating a more agile mindset in BMW Group UK.

“Innovation is just as much about the process as it is the end result, and we have a lot to learn from startups’ way of thinking and working,” he added. “The inaugural Lab in 2016 went a long way to adapting our mindset and improving our operations.

“We hope that through collaboration, the Innovation Lab will continue to leave a legacy of entrepreneurial thinking across our business.”

Read more about startup accelerators

Annina Koskiola, co-founder and CEO of the one of the startups, Proximi.io, said joining the accelerator will give the company the opportunity to see the everyday operations of a major organisation.

“Working symbiotically with a large, global business is the dream for startups such as ourselves,” she said. “It offers us unparalleled insight into how they operate, what pain points need to be solved and how we can develop truly innovative solutions together.”

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