Frequently asked questions

Applying:

What’s the deadline for applying?

29th May, 2019.

What information do I need to provide in my application?

We ask you for information about you, your idea, your team and your company. Don’t hold back, let us know how great you are.

What happens once I’ve applied?

Once you’ve submitted your details via our application form on L Marks’ Bridge platform, a member of our team will review your responses to confirm your suitability for the programme. Our partner L Marks may be in touch to gather further details and answer any questions you have before your details are submitted to the Accelerate@Serco programme committee for review.

I don’t live in the UK, can I apply?

Of course! Start-ups from across the globe are encouraged to apply. Bear in mind that you may need a visa to participate in activities in the UK and that you will be required to travel to the UK during the programme.

Is there a minimum age?

You must be at least 18 years old to enter Accelerate@Serco.

What is the process for applying?

We ask you for information about you, your idea, your team and your company in an online form. You can find the link here. Once the application is submitted, L Marks will get back to you on next steps.

Participating:

What type of products are you looking for?

We want to help start-ups take their business to the next level through collaboration with Serco. We are interested in all start-ups that can help us, in one or more of the categories described. Your start-up needn’t be at the very beginning of its journey; maybe you have a product already, maybe you even have paying customers. If you feel that your start-up could benefit from working with Serco, then we’d love to receive your application. 

I’m quite an early-stage start-up – am I right for Accelerate@Serco?

We’re open to businesses of any stage of their development and will ensure the activities you’re invited to take part in are tailored to your needs. If you feel that your business and products would benefit from the collaboration with Serco then we’d love to hear from you.

I’ve been in accelerators before and have customers – is this right for me?

We know that your needs will be very different from an early-stage business. That’s why we make sure that any mentoring or activities you’re involved in are tailored to your needs. Your time is precious and we won’t waste it. So long as you have an ambition to test out your product and ideas with Serco we can work together.

Do I need to give away equity to participate?

No, we do not ask for equity for participating in this programme. However, we may ask you to keep us notified about future funding rounds.

Are you asking for exclusivity?

No, we’re not asking you to sign an exclusivity agreement. We want to build a relationship based on trust and, if we like each other, we hope that you’ll see us as the first port of call when you need feedback on your new products. Please be aware that we will ask you to sign a mutual non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which you will need to adhere to, even when working with other parties in the public services sector.

Will I need to disclose confidential information about my business?

If you are invited to join Accelerate@Serco, we will ask you to sign a mutual non-disclosure agreement (NDA) – this means that we’ll keep your confidential information, and you’ll need to do the same for us. This will ensure we can work together productively on the programme. However, when you’re applying to join, neither party will be under NDA, so please only share with us information about your product or business that you consider in the public domain.

What are the terms of entry into the programme?

Selected teams will be required to sign a participation agreement to join the programme. This will be shared with teams invited to Pitch Day for early review.

Are you offering any travel support or assistance?

Travel support to participate in activities in Hook, United Kingdom is at Serco’s discretion.

If selected, what are the key dates I’ll need to be available?

At the very least we will require you to be onsite for the following dates and events:

  • Pitch Day
  • Week 1 of Programme Live
  • Midpoint Review
  • Demo Day

Is Accelerate@Serco like other accelerators?

We believe we are different. We’ll provide your business with opportunities to:

  • Trial your product with Serco
  • Access funding from Serco and L Marks
  • Access to a pot of £10,000 per start-up to enable trials during the programme
  • Receive mentoring from Senior Serco Executives
  • Gain insights from subject matter experts through a top-notch education programme

Have Serco run accelerator programmes before?

Serco have worked with start-ups previously, but not in an accelerator format. The launch of Accelerate@Serco builds on their previous experience.

When is Accelerate@Serco running?

The programme will run from 5th August, 2019 through to 4th October, 2019.

Where will the programme take place?

Serco is located in Hook, United Kingdom. The programme will have designated space in Serco’s offices, but depending on your specific use case you may have to travel to other Serco offices / facilities.

Do I have to relocate to participate in the Accelerate@Serco programme?

No, though we do require onsite attendance for a number of key dates. We can discuss one on one the needs of your company and the partnering resources of Serco to see what would work best during the programme timeframe.

Will Serco and/or L Marks invest in every company that joins the programme?

We will decide which start-ups we invest in at the end of the programme.

If successful, when will I receive investment from Serco and/or L Marks?

Investment decisions will be finalised at the end of the programme.

How many start-ups will be chosen for Accelerate@Serco?

We will aim to select approximately 5 start-ups to participate in the programme.

Who is L Marks? What is their role in this accelerator?

L Marks is a corporate innovation specialist and early-stage investor. They build bridges between large corporates seeking to innovate more quickly with young companies with disruptive technologies, products and services. Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Stuart Marks, they run bespoke start-up partnership programmes across industry sectors, supporting rapid innovation and connecting them with the best start-ups.

They work with clients such as Arsenal, Lloyds of London and BMW to identify where they believe the challenges are in their businesses and then turn these into opportunities for improvement and innovation. Each programme is tailored to deliver real solutions to the corporate partners and create real opportunities for start-up to test and grow their product with a major partner.

Where will the mentors come from?

Mentors will include senior executives from Serco (see the bios), experts within the wider Serco business, entrepreneurs and external subject matter experts. A full list of mentors will be announced in due course.

What does the day-to-day look like during the programme?

The programme’s’ itinerary is designed to help you create game-changing products. You’ll accelerate your working to rapidly develop your product, receiving essential guidance on key decisions in real-time from your mentors. Each start-up’s experience on the programme will be unique - we tailor the mentoring and education programmes to meet your business’s specific needs.