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Caltex and Slingshot ignite ‘spark’ with startup accelerator initiative

Caltex and Slingshot ignite ‘spark’ with startup accelerator initiative

Accelerator program aims to ‘disrupt and challenge’ Caltex business model

Slingshot CEO Karen Lawson

Slingshot CEO Karen Lawson

Caltex Australia, in concert with Australian corporate accelerator Slingshot, is calling on entrepreneurs to join its ‘Spark’ accelerator program in a bid to ‘disrupt and challenge’ the Caltex business model.

The 12-week accelerator program - which will see the transport and fuel supplier working closely with startups and entrepreneurs - will enable Caltex Australia to disrupt its own business model and look for ideas to improve convenience, mobility, retail offers and efficiency.

“With Spark we’re looking for ideas that do just that - disrupt and challenge our existing model to take us in new directions and drive accelerated future growth,” according to Caltex executive general manager of convenience retail, Richard Pearson.

“The convenience and fuel market is highly competitive and in today’s digitally connected and on-demand economy, we must work harder than ever to win customers.”

Slingshot CEO, Karen Lawson, said Caltex Spark is an opportunity for Caltex Australia to collaborate with the best and brightest startups, who at the same time can benefit from Caltex’s deep understanding of consumers.

“With the rapid pace of innovation, the possibilities for retailers and fuel suppliers is endless. We’ve already begun to see the impact of ride sharing, autonomous vehicles, drones, easy payments, big data and logistics solutions, but we’ve only really begun to scratch the surface when we consider how these can be harnessed by a business-like Caltex,” Lawson said.

“With the current price of oil, intensifying environmental concerns and the anticipated arrival of driverless cars, the question we need to answer is ‘what does the future of fuel retailers look like’?”, she said.

Lawson told CIO Australia that the corporate accelerator program will hone in on key business priorities - and seek ‘inspirational ideas’ from both startups and scale-ups (mature businesses running for up to three years).   

“We’re looking for ideas about new ways of powering mobility in all of its different forms - new energy sources, new motor transport. Ideas about retail and convenience. Caltex is one of Australia’s largest retailers - they serve three million customers and 1900 stores, which is just phenomenal. Many people don’t think of Caltex when they think about retail.

“We’re also looking for ideas around convenience, knowing that people are on the move, and wanting experiences that are personalised and on-demand. How can we use technology, services, solutions to really enhance that customer experience? And then how do we use data and analytics to make the efficiency of the Caltex business be more effective?”   

Through Spark, founders will have access to the scale and experience of Caltex resources, with the reach of over 1900 retail and convenience locations and over three million customers a week as well as the opportunity to work closely with the convenience retail and fuels and infrastructure businesses within Caltex.

Lawson expects hundreds of entrepreneurs to step forward based on similar corporate accelerator programs that Slingshot has run for the likes of Lion Unleashed, Qantas and HCF.

“We generally receive anywhere between 200 and 500 applications. . . We are expecting that type of volume of applications. And we will also be taking this on the road with roadshows planned in  Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and we’re also taking it international to New Zealand in Auckland.”   

Meanwhile, Caltex executive general manager of fuels and infrastructure, Louise Warner, said Caltex is interested in businesses that help the company find new ways to connect with its consumer and business customers.

Already, Warner said the company has adapted to consumer demands by developing cleaner and more efficient fuel options in remote locations, and other initiatives including The Foodary and Fuel Pay.

“We are looking at things like new modes of transport, food on the go and how we can create a frictionless customer experience,” she said.

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Tags mobilityinnovationenergyStartupCustomer Experienceretailersdronesdriverless carsCaltex Australiaslingshotaccelerator programmescale-ups

More about AustraliaCaltex AustraliaLawsonLionPearsonQantasSlingshotSpark

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