Travis Perkins plc has launched the BreakThru accelerator programme to help startup businesses grow through partnership and investment.

BreakThru is part of a group-wide initiative (across 22 brands including Wickes) to self-disrupt and embrace digital methods to future-proof business operations and enhance customer experiences. The accelerator format was chosen to operate alongside other innovation initiatives to give internal teams exposure to entrepreneurial thinking and new products.

Among other interest areas, Travis Perkins are looking to work with startups that can help improve health and safety for its colleagues and customers, while also trying to digitise various aspects of their businesses processes to offer a more streamlined customer service.  

BreakThru will allow successful startups to validate their business ideas with the UK’s largest supplier of building materials over the course of a 11-week partnership development programme. The programme is being run in collaboration with L Marks, a corporate innovation specialist and early stage investor, providing a number of benefits to startups:

  • Mentorship from senior leadership at Travis Perkins and subject-matter experts from across the sector
  • Access to Travis Perkins scale and network, covering 22 businesses with over 2,000 branches and stores across the UK  
  • Development opportunities and product validation
  • Pilot opportunities in Travis Perkins stores and networks
  • Chance to pitch from investment from L Marks and Travis Perkins

Travis Perkins have outlined the areas they are particularly interested in innovating through the categories set out on the BreakThru website:

Keeping People Safe: Products and solutions that will help improve health and safety for both customers and employees. Startups that can provide a more visual approach to best practice while also focusing on prevention are of particular interest.

Connected Home, Work and Fleet: This category looks for IoT solutions that can improve connectivity at home (i.e. heating, lighting, electronics) and look for fleet and workforce efficiencies internally within the TP network. In turn, it is hoped data collection in both areas will help with predictive maintenance (i.e. appliance or fleet repairs) and offer their customers a better service.

Sharing and Managing Knowledge: BreakThru is looking for startups that can help utilise the knowledge and expertise their employees have and share this effectively around their network. Solutions in this category may include those that can allow all employees to have streamlined access to things such as product knowledge and best practice.

Digitising our Customer Journey: Travis Perkins are creating a seamless digital experience for their customers through online technologies and processes. Opportunities that feed into the above include improving technologies in order fulfillment and acknowledgment and creating real time inventory visibility and management.

Wildcard: The wildcard category allows startups to suggest how they might help Travis Perkins innovate in an area they might not have thought of yet.

John Carter, CEO of Travis Perkins plc said:

“We are very excited to launch our first accelerator programme at Travis Perkins. Our goal is to provide a seamless customer experience through harnessing the latest innovations and ideas brought by startups.  We hope the startups who join us can challenge us internally, while we also hope to provide them with the expertise and support to take their product or solution to the next level.”

L Marks chairman Stuart Marks said:

“The opportunity to partner with the UK’s largest supplier of building materials is a unique and exciting challenge. This is a sector that has huge potential for innovation and together with Travis Perkins we want to find solutions that can provide an even better service for customers. The scale of Travis Perkins and its businesses also gives startups the ideal platform to validate their product or service.”

Applications are open until midnight Wednesday 2nd August 2017. For more information about the programme, please visit travisperkinsbreakthru.com