Introducing the LM Labs Accelerator

Partnering with innovative startups to shake up the customer experience of travel.

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What is the LM Labs Accelerator?

We believe that great ideas come from a variety of places. They come from customers experiencing real problems, frontline staff and also smaller, lean companies who spot the pain points and can act on them quickly. We want to work with all of these groups to help reinvent the future of transport for everyone.

This is why we’ve created the LM Labs Accelerator. Our aim is to work with a number of innovative tech startups in the mobility space across an 12 week period (followed by an additional three months of incubation support/free office space) providing them with the expert mentoring and support they need to progress their businesses and achieve our joint aim of ‘Simply Better Journeys’.

We’re based at the Serendip Smart City Incubator at Innovation Birmingham Campus, which provides market access and expertise for your start-up through close partnerships with major organisations.

So, startups on the LM accelerator will be alongside like-minded folk, as well as excellent facilities such as a device testing lab, and reap all the benefits of serendipitous encounters.

Alongside the benefits you get from most startup accelerator programmes, we also want to introduce you to key stakeholders in the Rail industry in particular to provide quick product validation, access to customers and potential partnerships.

You’ll also receive the support of 383 Project, an award-winning digital experience studio who have worked with the likes of Hilton Worldwide, Jaguar Land Rover and British Gas.

What does the Accelerator offer?

12 Week Programme

During the 12 weeks, we’ll provide you with mentoring, talks and workshops to help accelerate your business. Sessions will take place in Birmingham once a week.

Office Space & Perks

Free office space at the Serendip Smart City Incubator in Birmingham for 6 months; a vibrant community where you’ll be surrounded by other tech ventures, events and support. Perks include access to a state of the art testing lab, free rail travel passes on London Midland trains & software packages.

Industry Validation

Validate your early product assumptions through conversations with key industry stakeholders, understand the procurement process and understand how your product would work at scale.


Startups will receive hands-on mentoring from the London Midland team, experts at digital experience studio 383 Project and startup entrepreneurs from the wider community.

Investment Support

We’ll help you to understand potential funding options, plus to engage with relevant investment opportunities during the programme and at the final ‘Demo Day’ event. We'll also vote and the two most popular startups will be awarded a strings-free cash prize of £5,000.

Customer Insight

Use our team to better understand your potential customers through access to data, and insight from the London Midland team.

Who should apply?

Who should apply?

We want to make sure that you are able to fully benefit from the accelerator programme. If you think you align with the London Midland mantra of 'Simply Better Journeys', then we want to hear from you.

  • Early-stage startups in the transport/mobility sector.
  • You have more than idea; preferably a minimum viable product of some kind.
  • Areas of interest include (but are not limited to): booking, on-board commerce, advertising, customer service, the end-to-end customer experience, CRM and loyalty, real-time communications, content, infrastructure innovation and operational efficiency.
  • You're a innovator with a physical product that could enhance how we run our trains (efficiencies of energy consumption, logistics, etc)
  • You could benefit from partnership/distribution opportunities with London Midland - you want to understand how your product could work at scale.
  • You're motivated, eager to learn and collaborate.

Key Dates

We will work with a number of startups across the 12 week programme. If selected, you’ll be invited to take part in some onboarding activities, followed by the structured programme.

Dec 23

Applications Open

Feb 8

Application Deadline

Mid Feb

Selection & Onboarding

Feb 20 - May


Mid May

Demo Day

June 1

Applications Open

July 1

Application Deadline


Selection & Onboarding

August - October

12 Week Programme

End of October

Demo Day

Meet our Team

One of the most important things a startup can do to boost its chances of success are surround itself with great people who can advise them and help them. Here’s just a sample of the mentors you’ll be working with on the programme:

Imran Anwar

Imran Anwar

Innovation Manager, London Midland

Imran is an technical and innovative project manager with Prince2 and Agile methodology background, He has a decade of experiences from implementing IoT strategy’s ,software and change to all level of business from SME’s to FTSE 100 institutions varying from CRM,ERP, MBaaS, SaaS, PaaS, Cloud, Big Data and web development. He has worked at senior level in a range of industry sectors including; Aviation, Telecommunication, FMCG, Technology, Software, Leisure & Tourism, Consultancy and now Rail.

Leon Barrett

Leon Barrett

Engineering Director, 383 Project

With a decade of industry experience, Leon has a wealth of knowledge and experience leading teams creating products for Government, education, retail and consumer brands.

Kath Preston

Kath Preston

Accelerator Manager, 383 Project

Kath is Marketing Lead at 383 Project, where she runs all of their thought-leadership events, including product conference Canvas. She has also been involved in creating & running several incubator and accelerator programmes, such as Oxygen Accelerator, Entrepreneurs for the Future and the BSEEN scheme for recent graduates.

David Gornall

David Gornall

Innovation and Marketing, London Midland

David is an innovative, commercial sales and marketing head, who has spent the last year immersed in the rail sector. He has worked at senior level in a range of industry sectors including;  Airports, Transport Logistics, Construction, Life Sciences, Technology, Software, Training & Apprenticeships,  Agriculture, Advertising, and consultancy. Focus in the last 10 years has been around Private Equity owned portfolio companies, which required change, innovation and significant repurposing.  He has a track record of strategy development, implementation and delivery of tangible results, working primarily in the UK, but also across Europe and USA.

Peter Honnor

Peter Honnor

Strategy Principal, 383 Project

Pete offers strategy direction and definition for clients accounts, working out what a client should be doing with their digital services and products, creating roadmaps and future visions of where they need to be moving to.

Ian McLaren

Ian McLaren

Finance and Contracts Director

Ian joined London Midland’s senior management team in July 2014 as Finance and Contracts Director, with responsibility for the company’s financial performance, financial management and reporting.  In addition to his financial responsibilities, Ian also oversees IT and Telecoms for London Midland.  Prior to joining London Midland, Ian held a number of financial and commercial roles at fast-growing technology companies and also business start-ups.  Ian is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Directors (IoD).

Cliff Dennett

Cliff Dennett

Head of Business Development, Innovation Birmingham Campus

Cliff is currently Head Of Business Development for the UK’s largest digital community and tech incubator outside of London. He was previously founding CEO at SoshiGames; he secured commercial deals with the band Queen, Universal Music and Sony, led a team to create online and mobile experiences with over 1.3m users, raised £1.3m in funding, tripled revenues per paying user and built a strong pipeline of future business. He has also held senior positions in great organisations like Orange, EDS and AT&T and have consulted as an independent for companies like Morgan Stanley, LEGO and Transport For London.

Des Burley

Des Burley

Founder & Owner, Burley Law

Des Burley is the Founder & Owner of Burley Law, a technology law firm based at Innovation Birmingham covering all areas of technology law : intellectual property, trade marks, IT & software, websites, data, litigation, contracts and start-ups.

He is an Intellectual Property and Technology Law Solicitor who has worked for international and national law firms since 1994.  Previously Head of IP and Technology and Head of Trade Marks at national law firms – with in-house experience at two universities working in IP commercialisation and in a web business start-up for a multinational.

Barnaby Lashbrooke

Barnaby Lashbrooke

CEO & Founder, Time etc.

Barnaby Lashbrooke is the founder and CEO of Time etc, an award winning virtual assistant service offering time-poor entrepreneurs and professionals access to the most skilled assistants for their evolving needs. Prior to founding Time etc, Lashbrooke built his first business turning a $240 investment into more than 24,000 customers before selling it to Pipex PLC. During this time, Lashbrooke experienced the same lack of time as most entrepreneurs. Struggling with the fact that he had no office space and his business wasn’t large enough to hire anyone, Time etc was born in 2007 and has since grown into a platform that conducts more than 20,000 tasks per month.


Are there any entry criteria for the LM Labs Accelerator?

The only hard criteria we have is that you must be able to live and work in the UK for the duration of the programme. However, we'd prefer you to be an early-stage startup with a minimum viable product in transport/mobility space.

What information do you need from me in my application?

We’ve tried to keep our application form down to the essentials; we just want to know a bit about who you are, what problem you are solving and how you intend to do that, and what support you think you need from the accelerator programme.

How will you evaluate the applications?

Applications will be evaluated by a panel of judges from London Midland, 383 Project and Serendip. They key judging criteria will be; how much LM Labs can help you, to what extent your startup aligns with the challenges of the industr

Do you take equity?

No. Participation in the programme is free for selected startups and no equity will be taken.

What’s the location?

The LM Labs Accelerator will be based at Innovation Birmingham Campus. We have a dedicated space within their Serendip Smart Cities Incubator, so you’ll be around like-minded businesses.

Is this a full-time accelerator programme?

No. Although you are welcome to use the office space 24/7, it is not a requirement. If you agree to participate in the programme, you will be asked to attend any mentoring sessions organised (approximately once per week, all pre-scheduled), take part in a weekly catch-up meeting or call, and participate in the Demo Day event. We understand that running your startup takes priority, and we’ll schedule the programme accordingly.

Who is behind the Accelerator programme?

This accelerator programme is an initiative from London Midland, in partnership with digital experience studio 383 Project. 383 Project specialise in helping companies to reimagine their customer experience through design and technology, and have worked with brands such as Hilton, Jaguar Land Rover and Hive by British Gas.

Who has taken part in the LM Labs Accelerator before?

This is a brand-new initiative, taking place for the first time in 2017. So, although we can’t introduce you to alumni, we think this is an exciting opportunity to be part of our first cohorts and help us shape the programme for your benefit.

Will you help me find investment?

Although we know that getting investment is not everyone’s goal, for many startups it’s essential to their growth. So, we’ll use our network to introduce you to relevant investors, and organise a ‘Demo Day’ event where you’ll pitch to investors, industry stakeholders and press.