Qantas names startups and scale-ups for accelerator programme

AVRO Accelerator will work with 12 companies over the next 12 weeks

A company that provides a tool for pilots and crews to view and share rosters, and another which connects travellers with local professional photographers around the globe, are among the 12 businesses named in the inaugural cohort of Qantas’ accelerator programme. 

The AVRO Accelerator, named after the airline’s first aircraft, has taken on six startups and six scale-ups for a 12-week programme designed in partnership with corporate accelerator Slingshot.

Selected from just under 500 applications, the companies – from both Australia and the US – will be put on one of two development streams depending on their maturity.

Startups will accelerate their product development and customer traction, supported by a structured curriculum and mentorship program. The scale-ups will work closely with relevant Qantas Group business units and potentially conduct a pilot, commercial and/or investment deal, the airline said.

The companies joining the programme are start-ups Aeroster, Coverhero, easyshare, Landmarx ID, Leezair, and Travelshoot; and scale-ups Birch, BoozeBud, LoanDolphin, Meeco, Pawshake and Volantio.

A number of them look set to bring obvious benefits to Australia’s flag carrier airline. Volantio, for example, “optimises unit revenue and marketing performance for the travel industry” it says, while Aeroster is behind the airline staff roster sharing tool.

Others appear to operate outside Qantas’ domain. LoanDolphin is a loan bidding marketplace in which banks and brokers compete for users’ home loans; Pawshake is an online market for “loving and trustworthy pet minding services”; and BoozeBud is described as an “alcohol discovery and delivery platform”.

Each stands to receive up to $150,000 of funding from the Slingshot Venture Fund, and perks provided by AWS, Adobe, Bizspark Plus, IBM, Salesforce, Wework, MYOB, Xero, Alibaba Cloud, Hubspot, SendGrid, Zendesk, Autopilot and Dropbox.

John Bush, co-founder of easyshare – an app for sharehouses that collects and pays residents' share of rent and bills – said he was honoured to be accepted on the scheme.

This presents a valuable opportunity for us to leverage Qantas' network and support to accelerate our business growth objectives,” he said. “We're excited to use this platform to expand our customer base and help simplify sharehouse living for more Australians."

Almost 40 per cent of applications to the AVRO Accelerator were from scale-ups, Qantas said, and 30 per cent came from outside Australia.

The initiative was announced in March with the intention to take on ten companies.

“Customer needs keep evolving and the limits of technology are constantly expanding, so there is a clear business imperative for us to find new ways to improve how we operate,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement at the time.

“We’re looking forward to opening up our doors to ideas that are different, challenging and truly innovative. Ideas that could benefit from the expertise and scale at a company like Qantas to refine them and make them a reality.”

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