The startup accelerator will allow small companies to align with IAG-owned airlines in order to solve business challenges that are plaguing the likes of British Airways, generating what are promised to be “lasting and collaborative partnerships”. Hangar 51 has been launched by IAG in conjunction with innovation specialist and investor L Marks, which has previously worked with John Lewis and BMW on similar initiatives, JLAB and Innovation Lab, to support retail tech enhancements and user experience improvements respectively. With L Marks, IAG will seek to “transform the aviation industry” with a ten-week course that will provide startups mentoring from senior management at IAG’s London headquarters. There, they will accelerate product development and have access to customer insights and funding. Glenn Morgan, IAG’s head of digital transformation, said: “This brand new programme will bringing cutting edge digital startups into the heart of our business. We want them to tell us what we don’t know. If startups have something that can be applied to our industry to help our customers then we want to hear from them. “This initiative is a great opportunity for early stage businesses to fast-track their innovative ideas by working closely with IAG. We’ll fully support them through mentoring and funding to improve customer journeys with new disruptive and innovative ideas.” The accelerator will target four key areas, including: (1) Improving airport processes: Simplifying customer journeys through the airport. (2) Digitising business processes: Developing tools and processes to speed up and simplify the business. (3) Data driven decisions: Creating new ways for data to increase customer satisfaction and create business value. (4) Wildcard: any idea startups feel can improve customer experience. “Hangar 51 is offering a fantastic opportunity for startups to trial their products and tech within one of the world’s leading aviation companies as well as give them access to the best mentors and an environment where they can develop their ideas,” added Stuart Marks, chairman of L Marks. Open to startups from around the world, not just UK companies, applications to join Hangar 51 will close at midnight GMT on 6 November 2016.
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