We’re dedicated to helping small businesses grow and thrive – after all, we know what it’s like to start small. So in partnership with corporate innovation specialists, L Marks, we’re very excited to introduce our first startup accelerator programme: Metro Bank Magic Makers.
During the 10-week programme, startups will have the chance to test their banking solutions and be mentored by our senior stakeholders, as well as external experts.
Applications are now closed.
Why we’re supporting startups
We launched in 2010 as Britain’s first new high street bank in over a hundred years, and we knew it was time to do things differently. We’re committed to being the UK’s best community bank, and are always looking for innovative ways to support our customers and local businesses – that’s why we want to work with ground-breaking startups who can help. Through our Magic Makers programme, successful startups will have access to first-class mentorship and insights from leading experts in the finance sector, and we’ll get to hear their big ideas on what we can do better.
Metro Bank Magic Makers will focus on three key innovation opportunities:
We always want to offer our customers that little something extra, so we’re looking for inspirational services that can help create more ‘Metro Bank Magic Moments’. We’re open to any and every new idea, be it better serving local businesses or even innovative RegTech that can support our business.
Sponsors: Kat Robinson and Jessica Myers
We want to support our customers as best we can in store, online and on the phone. While we will always be people-focused, we’re interested in technical solutions that can boost our contact centres – like connecting our multiple systems as one network, or introducing chat bots and other automated technology. Our teams have had to adapt to remote and distributed working, so we want solutions that can help them wherever they are.
Sponsors: Aisling Kane
So we can continue to offer products that truly serve our customers and their individual banking needs, we need a better understanding of what they value at different stages of their lives or business journeys.
Sponsors: David Thomasson and Jessica Myers
Applications are now closed.
Applications close: Sunday, 20 June 2021 at 11.59pm
Pitch Day: Tuesday 20 July 2021
Programme starts: Monday 6 September 2021
Demo Day: w/c 15 November 2020
L Marks is a corporate innovation specialist, helping partners achieve their strategic goals through proven value-driven initiatives.
Having launched over 70 innovation programmes across the UK, Europe, Israel, Asia, and the US, and having worked with some of the world’s best-known brands, like Lloyd's of London, BMW Group and Arsenal FC, L Marks is embedding a culture of innovation across industries. It’s also created the UK’s largest network of innovation labs.
Through open innovation methodologies, L Marks supports its partners in discovering and deploying technologies that create new revenue streams, harness intelligence, increase efficiency, improve customer experience, and help future-proof their operations. Furthermore, thanks to the business’ internal innovation expertise, L Marks is empowering employees with new tools to start developing their own solutions.
Through creating these relationships and experiences, L Marks is establishing innovation as a business must-have, driving dynamic company culture and, ultimately, fuelling growth.
23:59 BST, Sunday, 20th June 2021
We ask you for information about you, your idea, your team and your company. Don’t hold back, let us know how great you are.
Once you’ve submitted your details via the application form on L Marks’ Bridge platform, we will work with our partners, L Marks, to review your responses and confirm your suitability for the programme. L Marks may be in touch to gather further details and are there to answer any questions you have before your details are submitted to the programme committee for review.
Of course! Companies, entrepreneurs and startups from across the globe are encouraged to apply. Bear in mind that you may need a visa to participate in activities in the UK and that you may be required to travel to the UK for certain points during the programme (pandemic restrictions permitting).
You must be at least 18 years old to apply.
We want to collaborate with startups and help them to take their business to the next level. We’re interested in all startups that can help us, in one or more of the categories described. Your startup needn’t be at the very beginning of its journey. Maybe you have a product already, maybe you even have paying customers. If you feel that your startup could benefit from working with us then we’d love to receive your application.
Please take a look at the What we’re interested in section on the website to read more about our key areas of interest. We will be looking at three categories: Metro Bank’s Magic Moments (Wildcard), Operational Efficiency & Automation and Data Analytics for Customer Insights. If you have an idea that doesn’t quite fit any of those, but you still think it would work for us – send it through!
Companies, entrepreneurs and startups from across the globe who are prepared to develop their products and services in collaboration with us for the benefit of Metro Bank and our customers.
We know that your needs will be very different from an early-stage business. That’s why we make sure that any mentoring or activities you’re involved in are tailored to your needs. Your time is precious and we won’t waste it. So long as you have an ambition to test out your product and ideas in Metro Bank Magic Makers, we can work together.
No, we do not ask for equity for participating in this programme. However, we may ask you to keep us notified about future funding rounds.
No, we’re not asking you to sign an exclusivity agreement. We want to build a relationship based on trust and, if we like each other, we hope that you’ll see us as the first port of call when you need feedback on your new products. Please be aware that we will ask you to sign a mutual non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which you will need to adhere to, even when working with other parties in the banking and financial services sector.
If you are invited to join Metro Bank Magic Makers, we will ask you to sign a mutual non-disclosure agreement (NDA) – this means that we’ll keep your information confidential, and you’ll need to do the same for us. This will ensure we can work together productively on the programme. However, when you’re applying to join, neither party will be under NDA, so please only share with us information about your product or business that you consider in the public domain.
Teams selected to join the programme will be required to sign a participation agreement. L Marks will also work with the teams to carry out additional checks for the individuals involved to check they are not precluded from working in the United Kingdom; validate their identity; complete a credit and criminal history check; validate employment and education history for the previous 3 years; validate their highest education records and complete a CIFAS check.
Travel support to participate in activities at Metro Bank is at our discretion. Due to the pandemic, we do not foresee that extensive travel will be involved.
We believe we are different. We’ll provide your business with the following opportunities:
The programme will run from 6th September through to 12th November. N.B. Demo Day will likely be w/c 15th November.
The programme will likely take place remotely for the most part. We will need to assess in-person meetings depending on current Covid-19 travel and meeting restrictions.
No, it is likely we will hold most events and meetings remotely. However, we may encourage some onsite attendance at the latter stages of the programme and potentially for Demo Day (again, dependent on the latest pandemic recommendations and restrictions). We can discuss one on one the needs of your company and the partnering resources of Metro Bank to see what would work best during the programme timeframe.
We will decide if we want to invest in any of the startups at the end of the programme.
We will aim to select a small cohort for the programme (1-5 startup(s)). This will allow for a more focused approach to ensure that startups receive dedicated support and guidance.
L Marks is a corporate innovation specialist and early-stage investor. They build bridges between large corporates seeking to innovate more quickly with young companies with disruptive technologies, products and services. Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Stuart Marks, they run bespoke startup partnership programmes across industry sectors, working closely with partners like BMW, Arsenal and Lloyds of London, to identify where they believe the challenges are in their businesses and then turn these into opportunities for improvement and innovation. Each programme is tailored to deliver real solutions to the corporate partners and create real opportunities for startups to test and grow their product with a major partner.
Mentors will include senior executives from Metro Bank (see the bios), experts within the wider Metro Bank business, entrepreneurs and external subject matter experts.
The lab’s programme is designed to help you develop your solution, starting with deciding on a specific use case, receiving essential guidance from your mentors and demonstrating the value of your solution to Metro Bank. Each startup’s experience on the programme will be unique - we tailor the mentoring and education programmes to meet your business’s specific needs.
The programme has 4 stages:
See our timeline for more info.