Our pilot accelerator launched for applications in February 2016 alongside investor and innovation partner L Marks. The 12-week startup accelerator was designed to fast track the growth of startups that could help improve Belron operations and our approach to delivering an exceptional customer experience, and enhance engagement of our field technicians.
With an opportunity to partner with one of our businesses across the globe, 75 startups applied for our programme for a chance to win up to £100,000 investment from Belron and L Marks.
Pitch day, in April, saw 25 startups share their products and solutions with Belron. The aim of the 2016 programme was to find startups to help us innovate in five areas:
- Knowledge and Insight: any product or service helping Belron to understand its customers and market better.
- Improving Service and the Customer Experience: exciting innovations to help Belron supercharge its customer service, to make it really easy for customers to engage with Belron throughout their service experience.
- Improving Productivity and Efficiency: ideas that help Belron increase the productivity of its people, particularly our technicians or contact centre agents, or can allow it to deliver better service for its customers in a more efficient way.
- Delivering Additional Services: innovations that will allow Belron to expand the services it provides to customers beyond its current offering.
- Engagement with Field Employees: products or services that help Belron to better engage with its technicians when they are out on the road or working in branches.
The Four startups selected from pitch day were:
- Atta – who use gamification techniques to increase engagement with employees. Atta partnered with Belron Canada
- Sorry as a Service – who have a unique and personalised approach to helping us say sorry to customers who have not received the service from us we would expect to give. They partnered with Autoglass UK
- Smart Calling – who have a product called InCalling which lets customers see the identity of a caller (with logo’s and interactive options) before answering the call. They partnered with France and Germany
- TheThings.io – who have a platform which could have applications in our supply chain. They partnered with Spain.
The startups quickly joined a programme which saw them meeting with expert mentors and experienced entrepreneurs; getting to know their partnering country; and attending our Best of Belron event in Lisbon.
In July, the startups were invited to demonstrate their findings and developed products, including a live theft demonstration with a side of a car window being smashed, at ‘demo day’, when the decision was made to invest or not.
With such a great range of products and solutions on offer, it was announced that we would continue working with all of the companies and, together with L Marks, invest £100,000 in Sorry as a Service.
“We’ve essentially got our global expansion plan mapped out for us….if you look at the map of where Belron is, that’s where the expansion plan for Sorry as a Service is as well.” Martin McGloin, CEO of Sorry as a Service