'Virgin Media Accelerator powered by Techstars' launches to find most innovative digital start-ups

2nd November 2015

  • Connecting digital entrepreneurs to investment, skills and expertise
  • 10 digital start-ups to be selected for intense 13-week mentoring programme
  • Applications open for 11 weeks, closing in the New Year
  • ‘Demo Day’ in June 2016 when businesses pitch to investors

Virgin Media today launches a programme to identify and support the most innovative and disruptive digital start-ups from around the world.  In partnership with Techstars, a global technology accelerator organisation, the ‘Virgin Media Accelerator powered by Techstars’ is a three-month mentorship-driven programme designed to support companies working on innovative businesses.

Applicants can apply online (www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/accelerator), with the deadline on 9 January 2016.  Ten start-ups will be chosen to take part in the accelerator programme which will involve an intense, 13-week mentorship and guidance programme. This will give the start-ups access to senior experts from Virgin Media and its parent company Liberty Global, as well as Techstars’ global network of more than 7,000 founders, mentors, investors and corporate partners. 

Once the 13-week programme has been completed, the 10 start-ups will take part in a ‘Demo Day’ in London, where they will each pitch to some of the world’s leading investors for the chance to raise capital and secure investment in their businesses.

Start-ups involved in a range of digital sectors are encouraged to apply. They could be involved in: the Internet of Things, telecom infrastructures, customer data and experience, social enterprise, connected homes, connected goods and services, interactive home experiences, connected business services, home health and wellness, and connectivity for social good.

Virgin Media Accelerator powered by Techstars is sponsored by Liberty Global, the parent company of Virgin Media, and will be run in conjunction with Virgin Media Business, the arm of Virgin Media that provides products and services to start-ups and small business in the UK.  Virgin Media Business also manages Pitch to Rich, the annual entrepreneur competition to find the most innovative start-ups and small businesses from any sector, not just digital, who win a slice of a £1million cash prize.  Virgin Media Business last week launched a report, 'The UK's £92 billion Digital Opportunity', which revealed digital technologies could boost the UK economy by 2.5% of GDP (or £92 billion), as well as creating over a million new jobs across all industries over the next two years.

Peter Kelly, Managing Director, Virgin Media Business, said: “With the support of our parent company, Liberty Global, and our new partner, Techstars, we’re delighted to support this exciting programme in the UK.  Supporting businesses of all sizes is at the heart of Virgin Media’s purpose.  Virgin Media Accelerator will give the most exciting digital start-ups a phenomenal opportunity to learn, develop and grow.”

Bruce Dines, Vice President, Liberty Global Ventures, said: “Innovation and the infinite possibilities offered by a connected world lie at the very heart of our business, which is why we’re proud to partner with Techstars to launch the first ever Virgin Media Accelerator programme.  There are endless possibilities for the kind of companies who should apply to this programme – we are interested in driving innovation, convenience and social well-being across our consumer and business connected world.  We look forward to working with the best start-ups in the world to help them bring their brilliant ideas to life.”

David Cohen, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Techstars, said: “New technologies enabled by improved networking and connectivity have become critical in all aspects of our personal and professional lives.  Techstars is excited to partner with Liberty Global and Virgin Media, two worldwide leaders in this space, to bring a new, connectivity focused accelerator program to start-ups worldwide.”

Notes to editors

About the Virgin Media Accelerator programme

  • On entering the programme, each company has the option to receive up to $120,000 (approximately £78,000) of funding in exchange for an equity stake and convertible loan note. This is broken down as follows:
    • On entering the programme, Liberty Global Ventures and Techstars will acquire a 6% equity stake in each of the 10 selected start-ups in exchange for an initial $20,000 (approximately £13,000) investment.
    • Each company will also have the option to take an additional $100,000 (approximately £65,000) convertible loan note backed by Liberty Global Ventures and Techstars, for up to an additional 4% equity stake.
  • Start-ups will be offered a work space in central London.
  • We offer an Equity Back Guarantee.  If, after the programme is complete, a start-up is not completely satisfied with the value of the programme, Liberty Global Ventures and Techstars will give them back part, or all, of the 6% equity stake they initially exchanged to enter the programme.
  • During the 13-week programme, the 10 participants will have access to a range of support facilities, including executive assistants, personal trainers and nutritionists.
  • After the Demo Day, the 10 participants will receive flights to the US and a week stay at a luxury hotel.

About Techstars

Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to live. With dozens of mentorship-driven accelerator programs and thousands of community programs worldwide, Techstars exists to support the world’s most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey, from inspiration to IPO. Techstars provides access to tens of thousands of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners, allowing entrepreneurs to accelerate the pace of innovation and Do More Faster™. Techstars supports every stage of the entrepreneurial journey – from early stage grassroots community development to more formal opportunities that provide education, experience, acceleration, funding, and beyond.

About Virgin Media Business

About Virgin Media Business

Virgin Media Business is the arm of Virgin Media that provides products and services to UK businesses and the public sector.  We have more than 36,000 business customers, most of them small and medium enterprises.  We also partner with the public sector; with local councils and thousands of schools to improve connectivity in communities and support learning; and with the emergency services to enable them to efficiently perform their life-saving skills.

We’re part of the Virgin Media group, the UK’s first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services. Virgin Media is a part of Liberty Global plc, the world’s largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 27 million customers across 14 countries, helping connect people to the digital world and enabling them to discover and experience its endless possibilities.

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