Qantas’ new startup accelerator taking flight


The 2017 AVRO Accelerator program cohort

Startups, scaleups and digital disruptors – both within and beyond Australia –  are being invited by Qantas Group to apply for its second AVRO Accelerator program, following on from the first last year.

Run in partnership with Slingshot, the program will provide entrepreneurs with funding and mentoring as well as access to Qantas’ domain expertise, anonymised data and insights to help them accelerate product development and customer traction.

“Qantas has a long history of innovation,” Group Executive of Strategy, Innovation and Technology, Rob Marcolina told Dynamic Business. “To keep engaging customers and growing our businesses, we need to continue to evolve, and AVRO Accelerator is an opportunity for us to work with startups and scaleups and shape what’s next. Our assets and capabilities – such as our data and insights and extensive partner network – provide a strong base for growth, which AVRO Accelerator participants can benefit from.

“We’re continuing to expand our digital ventures across multiple industries like retail and financial services, so we expect to see interest from applicants in those areas, but if an entrepreneur has an idea that could help transform the way we do things or the experience we offer our customers or people, we encourage them to apply.

“Through our 2017 cohort we discovered ideas that we have implemented to help improve our customers’ experiences. For example, with our help, Volantio launched its Yana platform, enabling airlines to give customers more flexibility when they travel. The dynamic technology is currently being trialled here at Qantas, along with several other airlines around the world.”

Slingshot CEO Karen Lawson said the AVRO Accelerator, as with past Slingshot-run programs, is open to applicants from across the globe.

“Australia is now recognised by the Global Entrepreneurship rankings as 7th in the world,” she said. “There is a wealth of talent in this country that Qantas want to work with. Our search and cohorts are often global in nature representing strength in diversity in all its forms.

“Given Qantas’ global reach, we anticipate an international mix, particularly with regards to the Scaleup program. During the 12-week accelerator program, we work to reach an outcome for the corporate and Scaleups within 5 meetings, so for the Scaleup, it’s like an accelerated sales process.”

More information, including applicant criteria, can be found at qantas.com/avro. Applications close at 11:59pm AEST on 30 April 2018.