London Midland Office

London Midland Office

Shaping the future of rail

Rail operator London Midland has launched an accelerator programme aimed at helping the region’s innovative start-ups develop solutions to rail travel challenges.

The Labs Accelerator programme will offer successful applicants access to a structured 12-week scheme where they will benefit from six months’ free desk and workshop space.

The chosen firms will also receive ongoing mentoring, access to London Midland’s analytics and data, as well as hardware and software resources.

The initiative has been launched by London Midland in response to direct passenger and team feedback calling for smart use of technology to be implemented across their network.

Over the last four weeks, the team at London Midland and their digital experience studio partner, 383 Project, have been conducting in-depth interviews and workshops with customers and team members in order to unearth the major challenges that need addressing, where technology can play its part, and how quickly this can be addressed to benefit all parties.

London Midland operates 1,300 trains each day and is committed to ensuring that its 200,000 daily passengers have better journeys through smart use of technology. 

Ian McLaren, London Midland’s finance and contracts director, and head of the innovation board, explains: “We’ve asked our passengers and team members to tell us about the issues they face and what they would like us to address.

“Our job with Labs is to find, support, and work with the brightest, smartest minds from the start-up landscape so that we can collectively develop timely and effective solutions. The Labs Accelerator will give tangible support by way of funding, kit, free space and access to those who’ve been there and done that. We believe the programme will improve customers’ rail experience.

“The benefits package we have put together in collaboration with Innovation Birmingham and 383 Project will hopefully be extremely attractive to start-ups. The opportunity to work collaboratively with other leading innovators, enjoying access to state-of-the-art testing labs and software, including Microsoft Power BI, will be key to innovating for future rail travel.”

The accelerator programme will run for 12 weeks and has been created to address the key elements that will determine the success or failure of a fledgling company. Each week will focus on a fundamental element of ensuring success, such as intellectual property, financial modelling, raising investment, user experience, and marketing.

The programme culminates with the start-ups taking part in a Demo Day where participants on the Labs Accelerator will be given the chance to present their progress and pitch their ideas to an audience of investors, London Midland stakeholders and existing suppliers, media figures, and key influencers from the start-up community.

Applications for the London Midland Labs incubator are open until 8 February. Start-ups looking to secure a place on the scheme can apply here on the London Midland Labs website.

More information on the scheme, including a full list of benefits, can be found here.