Founders Forum, a global community for digital and technology entrepreneurs, is giving start-ups the chance to pitch their business ideas on the future of air travel. On June 12, with support from British Airways, a panel of leading investors and CEOs will be 30,000 feet in the sky while ideas are pitched from the ground via on-board WiFi.
The competition is looking for start-ups that are building next generation travel tech products or services which have the potential to transform customers’ air travel experiences through innovative technology solutions. The competition is open now and full details to enter are available at https://thefutureofflying.com/?forum=founders .
Entries will be whittled down to a shortlist of businesses that will face a unique challenge of pitching from the ground to judges on board a British Airways aircraft full of leading investors and CEOs. Entrants will take part in a live question and answer session using the airline’s inflight new WiFi all while the aircraft is 30,000 feet over the Atlantic.
British Airways is introducing industry-leading streaming WiFi on its long-haul flights. It currently has more than 50 aircraft with this service, and 80 per cent of the airline’s 134-strong long-haul fleet will be fitted by the end of 2020. The airline’s entire short-haul fleet will be WiFi enabled by summer 2019, all part of British Airways’ £6.5bn investment for customers.
Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, said: “The competition, which ties in closely with our centenary activity looking to the future of flight, is a unique opportunity for some of the most innovative start-ups to put forward their ideas for travel in the future. We’re excited to be supporting Founders Forum in the pitch process, which is set to be an exciting challenge using our inflight WiFi.”
Greg Kennaugh, Chief Operating Officer of Founders Forum, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting this competition, fostering new ways of thinking about travel and directly supporting early-stage entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas to a community of leaders in digital. Connecting seasoned West Coast investors with the most promising European talent midflight on their way to our event is a new milestone for Founders Forum and we are delighted to work with British Airways to deliver this unique initiative.”
The top three finalists selected on board will be invited to attend Founders Forum London on June 13, 2019, to pitch in person to a judging panel of top CEOs.
The lucky winner will receive 100,000 On Business points in British Airways’ business loyalty programme, equivalent to four return flights in World Traveller Plus (long-haul premium economy) to New York (JFK) from London Heathrow. The prize also includes 100,000 Avios, a profile in Business Life magazine, a presentation at the Founders Forum London event attend by hundreds of investors and a business meeting with Brent Hoberman founder of lastminute.com and the Founders network.
Notes to editors:
- The challenge is being launched as part of British Airways’ Centenary programme BA 2119 as the airline looks to the next 100 years of flight in three distinct areas – customer experience, sustainable fuels and careers. The airline will explore the future of customer experience by working with futurologists, commissioning dedicated research and through competitions like this. Looking to fuels, the airline has challenged universities to develop a pathway for the UK to achieve leadership on the future of sustainable aviation fuels, drawing on their own expertise. Finally, British Airways will be investigating the future of aviation careers and children’s attitudes towards jobs in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to inspire young children in to the world of STEM.
- This will be alongside other key announcements, including the introduction of the A350 to the fleet, a new business class seat, investment in the airline’s cabins including First and World Traveller Plus, improvements to lounges across the network and new routes including Osaka, Charleston, Pittsburgh and Islamabad.
About Founders Forum:
- Founders Forum is a private network of the world’s leading digital and technology entrepreneurs founded in 2005. The network brings together the most inspirational founders, corporate CEOs, senior investors, academics, government members and influencers. The events across the world offer the opportunity to engage in open debate, brainstorming, discussion and problem-solving. Founders Forum also showcases the world’s most exciting fast-growth companies before they are on most people’s radars – for example with presentations from the founders of DeepMind (before Google acquisition), Shazam (when they had 200k users), Supercell (before Softbank acquisition). Founders Forum is not-for-profit, invite-only and free to attend. The philosophy is that everyone in the room could be a keynote speaker in their own right.
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