The technology startup community is being a given a much-needed boost and the chance to create new applications and services for the superfast broadband market, after BT and TechHub today partnered to launch the BT Infinity Lab programme.
BT and TechHub - which creates spaces around the world where tech entrepreneurs can meet, work, learn and collaborate - are asking tech entrepreneurs to design and present innovative new uses and product prototypes, which will help internet users take advantage of superfast broadband.
BT is looking for new applications and services that can be marketed alongside BT’s existing products, which will reach millions of UK households. The winning entrepreneurs will receive six month’s support from BT, including access to knowledge and expertise from a wide range of areas, including research and development, engineering, legal and marketing. Winning start-ups will also gain membership at TechHub’s sold out community space in the heart of East London’s ‘Tech City’, offering business support, workspace and an international community of entrepreneurs exclusively for the tech industry.
The superfast broadband market in the UK is growing rapidly, with more than four million homes already accessing services, either via BT’s open network or Virgin Media’s. Seventy-three per cent of the country can now access superfast broadband, according to a recent Ofcom report.
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey welcomed the initiative. He said: “Broadband in the UK is now undergoing a radical transformation which will see 95 per cent of the nation having access to 1superfast speeds by 2017. TechHub and BT are to be congratulated on this brilliant initiative which will result in exciting new products and prototypes, helping all UK internet users to make the most of all the benefits superfast speed has to offer.
As part of the partnership, BT will be launching the BT Infinity Lab showcase at one of TechHub’s London spaces. This will highlight how broadband is a key enabler for economic development through BT’s latest technology and products from start-ups selected through the Infinity Lab programme.
Jean-Marc Frangos, BT’s MD External innovation said: “At BT, we embrace an open innovation approach, working with industry and academic partners to diversify our product and service offering and develop new customer experiences. With this partnership, we are pleased to further extend our global innovation network and actively engage with the tech start-up community.
Elizabeth Varley, Founder and CEO at TechHub, said: “Partnering with BT gives TechHub an unmissable opportunity to offer to tech start-ups. Working with BT gives entrepreneurs the chance to test their innovations with a major partner, receive specialised help and advice, and take advantage of the huge promotional reach offered by this bastion of British business. For UK start-ups or those wanting to enter the UK market, it’s an opportunity that’s usually hard to come by without partnerships like this one between TechHub and BT.”
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Notes to editor
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2013, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,103m with reported profit before taxation of £2,315m.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
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The Infinity Lab will be the programme of proactive engagement with the start-up community. The Lab will have a physical presence within TechHub in London. The Infinity Lab will run a number of events and programmes each year. Each opportunity will have a different theme either based on a customer segment or technology.
BT is not looking to directly invest in companies or acquire IPR at this stage. It is interested in co-innovating with start-ups and selected groups of our customers.
The first activity is looking for new apps and services which bring to life BT’s new innovations in the consumer market, including 300mbps broadband and the new Home Hub 5 which makes use of 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology which provides up to Gigabit transfer speeds.
The winning companies will be supported for six months by BT’s Research & Innovation community as well as membership into the TechHub community. In this time BT will support further development and/or trial of the new service.
Competition details will be posted on the TechHub website: http://london.techhub.com/
TechHub creates spaces around the world for tech entrepreneurs to meet, work, learn and collaborate. By offering flexible workspace, access to an energetic community and the resources of a global company with the energy and shared knowledge of a tech conference and the buzz of a social networking, TechHub enables technology start-ups to work smarter, develop faster and increase their chance of success.
TechHub was founded in 2010 by Elizabeth Varley and Mike Butcher, and is a growing community of thousands of tech entrepreneurs and a network of spaces for start-ups. It offers flexible workspace facilities, events, workshops, advice sessions, contacts, PR and press opportunities and an important tech industry network. TechHub London has two sites in Shoreditch’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ with one opening on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2014, and has additional sites in Manchester, Riga in Latvia and Bucharest in Romania. Further new TechHub cities have been announced in Swansea, Wales and Bangalore, India and more will be announced by the end of 2013 as part of the company’s global expansion.