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Metro Bank Magic Makers

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 Mentors

David Thomasson

Jessica Myers

Aisling Kane

Cheryl McCuaig

Kat Robinson

What we’re interested in

Metro Bank Magic Makers will focus on three key innovation opportunities:

Metro Bank’s Magic Moments (Wildcard)

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

Operational Efficiency and Automation

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

Data Analytics for Customer Insights

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

Key dates for your diary

Applications are now closed.

Applications close: Sunday, 20 June 2021 at 11.59pm

Pitch Day: Tuesday 20 July 2021

  • This is your startup’s chance to pitch to our executives to win a place on the programme. You’ll need to tell us more about your application and convince the panel that you’re right for the programme.

Programme starts: Monday 6 September 2021

  • The 10-week intensive collaboration starts here. We’ll set key objectives for what you want to achieve, and our senior leaders and external experts will mentor you towards these goals.

Demo Day: w/c 15 November 2020

  • It’s time to show us what your startup has achieved through the programme and present your ideas and proposal for the future.

Meet L Marks

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.

Lmarks.com

Terms and conditions

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FAQs

Applying

When’s the deadline for applying?

23:59 BST, Sunday, 20th June 2021

What information do I need to provide in my application?

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.

What happens once I’ve applied?

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.

I don’t live in the UK, can I apply?

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).

Is there a minimum age?

You must be at least 18 years old to apply.

Participating

Is my business right for Metro Bank’s Magic Makers?

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.

What type of products are you looking for?

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!

Who can participate?

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.

I’ve been in accelerators before and have customers – is this right for me?

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.

Do I need to give away equity to participate?

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.

Are you asking for exclusivity?

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.

Will I need to disclose confidential information about my business?

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.

What are the terms of entry into the Lab?

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.

Are you offering any travel support or assistance?

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.

If selected, what are the key dates I’ll need to be available?
  • Pitch Day - 20th July 2021
  • Programme Live - 6th September 2021
  • Midpoint review - w/c 11th October 2021
  • Demo Day - w/c 15th November 2021
Is Metro Bank Magic Makers like other accelerators?

We believe we are different. We’ll provide your business with the following opportunities:

  • Trial your product with Metro Bank
  • Receive mentoring from senior executives
  • Gain insights from subject matter experts
  • Potential for investment
When is Metro Bank Magic Makers running?

The programme will run from 6th September through to 12th November. N.B. Demo Day will likely be w/c 15th November.

Where is the programme based?

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.

Do I have to relocate to participate in Metro Bank Magic Makers?

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.

Will Metro Bank and/or L Marks invest in every company that joins the programme?

We will decide if we want to invest in any of the startups at the end of the programme.

How many startups will be chosen for 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.

Who is L Marks? What is their role in this innovation programme?

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.

Where will the mentors come from?

Mentors will include senior executives from Metro Bank (see the bios), experts within the wider Metro Bank business, entrepreneurs and external subject matter experts.

What does the day-to-day look like at Metro Bank Magic Makers?

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.

What is the process?

The programme has 4 stages:

  1. Apply
  2. Pitch
  3. Programme
  4. Demo

See our timeline for more info.