Qantas partnering with Slingshot on start-up accelerator focused on travel innovations


Slingshot: Co-founder Craig Lambert, CEO Karen Lawson, Chairman Gary Flowers, Co-founder Trent Bagnall

Qantas has partnered with corporate accelerator Slingshot to launch a 12-week program for start-ups, scale-ups and digital disruptors seeking to streamline the travel experience.

Up to 10 teams will be selected for the AVRO Accelerator, named for Qantas’ first ever aircraft, the Avro 504K.  It is an opportunity for participants to bring their ideas to life through access to Qantas and industry mentors as well as some of the national carrier’s operational data, technology platforms and anonymised customer insights. They will also receive up to $150,000 of funding from the Slingshot Venture Fund, with the possibility of additional future investment.

Slingshot CEO Karen Lawson said corporates, as part of their innovation strategy, are having to take an external approach, whereby they “tap into an increasing world of disruption and talent”.

She added, “We are seeing a fundamental shift as more corporate boardrooms mature in their understanding of the role start-ups and scale-ups play in navigating the reinvention of their industry and meeting customer’s changing expectations.”

Applications for AVRO Accelerator can be made at www.qantas.com/avro and will close at 11:59pm AEST Monday, 27 April 2017.

In related news, Slingshot was recently commissioned by the Queensland Government to run a 12-week accelerator program for the tourism, travel and entertainment (TTEL) sector.

The program will be delivered to two cohorts simulatenously, one based in Brisbane and a regional accelerator based in Cairns, and will be led by start-up specialist, advisor and entrepreneur Colin Kinner.

“Tourism, Travel, Entertainment and Leisure are key drivers for Australia’s economy,” Kinner said. “That’s why it is critical to identify, nurture and support the entrepreneurs, ideas and businesses that are going to drive economic growth in this sector. This accelerator has a proven methodology that provides the best opportunity for founders to develop an idea into a successful business and achieve customer validation and revenues in a relatively short period of time.”

Karen Lawson, CEO of Slingshot, added: “No industry is immune to disruption. Hundreds of new startups were launched in the travel sector last year and we’ve only just begun to see the impact of the sharing economy, AR / VR technology, big data and frictionless payments on the tourism, hospitality, and entertainment industries.”


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