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Drive is the innovation lab and startup accelerator from Belron, worldwide leaders in vehicle glass repair and replacement.
Looking after around 15 million consumers each year in over 30 countries, Belron is the parent company behind 16 well-known brands across the globe, including Autoglass in the UK, Carglass in Europe, SpeedyGlass in Canada, and Safelite in the US.
L Marks created and has launched three iterations of Drive, each successfully finding and deploying startups with disruptive solutions to improve operations and discover new ways of working. As part of the 10-week programmes, the startups Belron’s international business units to trial their products and solutions at scale. Spanning across 6 continents and with over 26,000 employees, Drive provides startups with the opportunity to trial their solution in a global market.
In addition to each startup team being partnered and with one of the participating countries (these have included UK, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Canada, and the US), the companies are hosted at Belron’s HQ in Egham, UK to receive dedicated mentoring from senior leadership. Over three years, 230 startups have applied to the programme from all over the world of which more than 60 companies have attended a Pitch Day and 12 startups have participated in Drive.
The focal areas for Drive have included:
With a committment to build long-lasting relationships, Belron continued trials and entered into commercial discussions with over 90% of the startups that have taken part in Drive and has also invested into five of the companies to support their growth
As part of Drive, Bonobo AI was partnered with Autoglass in the UK for the duration of the programme. Founded in 2017, Bonobo harnesses the power of conversational intelligence to help customer-facing teams know their customers at scale, improving customer experience and driving greater conversion, upsell and retention.
Founded in Tel Aviv, the company uses AI technology to capture and analyse customer interactions, including phone calls, emails and chat streams. The platform converts conversational data making insights available to customer-facing teams, as well as to any database or service to power real-time automation.
Bonobo ran a successful trial during the programme, and succeeding in signing a commercial agreement with Belron. Following the lab, Belron and L Marks invested in Bonobo as part of its $4.5 million seed round.
Bonobo was acquired by Salesforce for an undisclosed amount in May 2019. Salesforce’s acquisition of the company was to expand their vision of “driving the Conversational Intelligence revolution” and helping companies know their customers like never before.
Belron’s US business, Safelite, invited Locpin to trial their smart addressing solution in Ohio, to help tackle a problematic area of their process, accurately and efficiently locating the customer or their vehicle for repair.
For over 80% of appointments, a Safelite technician travels to the customer and completes the repair at the customer’s location. Any time saved in finding the customer and their vehicle means more appointment promises are kept, difficult conversations with customers are avoided, and ultimately more customers can be served successfully. Locpin was able to rapidly open communication channels with Safelite customers, to easily capture their precise location data and specific, personal preferences which was then made available to the technician completing the work. By enabling this information sharing, technicians were better informed about the customer’s expectations and fully equipped to complete their jobs quickly and successfully.
By the end of the trial, over 1,200 jobs were completed and Locpin had demonstrated a solution that made a real impact for Belron. Both technicians and customers provided very positive feedback with over 90% of customers stating they liked helping their technician locate them.
Based on the value demonstrated, Belron invested in Locpin, created a to framework agreement for global deployment, and immediately deployed the solution across Safelite’s operations in the US.
“The Drive programme gave us invaluable learnings on how to collaborate effectively with a global, corporate company. The signing of an agreement with a major worldwide player has given us the foundation and credibility to really move forward as a business. Our solution is now live with Safelite across the entire USA and we have opportunities in up to 35 additional markets where the Belron Group operate.
“L Marks brought startups to Belron that were genuinely capable of adding value to their business, which they embraced and as a result both sides learnt and gained a lot”
Guy Davenport – CEO, Locpin
ThriveMap maps the ideal working environment for a team to thrive. Employee (and prospective employee) preferences are compared, allowing for a more effective and objective process when it comes to recruiting and distributing employees across teams.
ThriveMap ran a successful trial with Carglass in Spain during the 10-week Drive programme. Following the completion of the collaboration programme, ThriveMap secured a commercial contract with Belron and also received in investment from Belron as part of their $400,000 seed round.
“Drive was a fantastic experience, we’ve been recommending it to everyone we speak to! Working with the team in Carglass Spain was incredible. From the moment we landed in Barcelona it became obvious that the team in Carglass were willing to invest their time getting to know us, our product and, importantly, how we like to work.
If we hadn’t spent time getting to know their business this opportunity would not have been created and it’s forming a big part of how we see ThriveMap evolving going forward.”
Chris Platts – CEO, ThriveMap