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Frequently asked questions


When’s the deadline for applying?

The deadline for applying is Sunday, 24th May 2020 by 23:59 BST. 

Applications for Embracing the Next Curve of Individual Premium Mobility are now closed for this year.

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 our application form on L Marks’ Bridge platform, a member of our team will review your responses to confirm your suitability for the programme. Our partner L Marks may be in touch to gather further details and answer any questions you have before your details are submitted to the BMW Innovation Lab committee for review. 

Is there a minimum age?

You must be at least 18 years old to enter the BMW Innovation Lab.

I don’t live in the UK, can I apply?

Of course! The best innovators can come from anywhere. Bear in mind that you may need a visa to participate in the accelerator and that you will be required to travel to the UK during the programme.


Is my business right for BMW Innovation Lab?

We want to help startups take their business to the next level through collaboration with BMW. 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 BMW then we’d love to receive your application.

What type of products are you looking for?

Please take a look at the Areas of Interest on the website to read more about our key areas of interest. We will be looking at one category at a time. 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 BMW for the benefit of BMW 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 BMW Innovation Lab, 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 automotive and financial services sector.

Will I need to disclose confidential information about my business?

If you are invited to join BMW Innovation Lab, 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. 

Are you offering any travel support or assistance?

Travel support to participate in activities at BMW UK Headquarters in Farnborough, United Kingdom is at BMW’s discretion.

If selected, what are the key dates I’ll need to be available?

At the very least (and Covid-19 dependent), we will require you to be onsite for key dates and events.

  • Pitch Day – 16th July 2020
  • Programme Live – 24th and 25th August 2020
  • Midpoint review – 22nd September 2020
  • End of Innovation Lab meeting – 6th November 2020
  • Innovation Summit (Demo Day) – February 2021

Is BMW Innovation Lab like other accelerators?

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

  • Trial your product with BMW
  • Receive mentoring from BMW senior management
  • Gain insights from subject matter experts
  • Potential for investment

Has BMW run accelerator programmes before?

This is the third BMW Innovation Lab and builds on the successes of previous iterations which ran in 2016 and 2018.

When is the BMW Innovation Lab running?

The programme will run from 24th August to 30th October and the End of Innovation Lab meeting will take place on 6th November.

N.B. Demo Day for all categories will be February 2021 at the Innovation Summit. 

Where is the BMW Innovation Lab based?

The BMW Innovation Lab is based in BMW UK’s headquarters in Farnborough, UK, where successful startups will be offered free working space.

Do I have to relocate to participate in BMW Innovation Lab?

No, though we do require onsite attendance for a number of key dates. We can discuss one on one the needs of your company and the partnering resources of BMW to see what would work best during the programme timeframe. 

Will BMW 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 BMW Innovation Lab?

We will aim to select approximately 1-2 startups for each of the three sprints making up the BMW Innovation Lab. This smaller cohort and focused approach will ensure that startups receive additional 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 management from BMW (see the bios), experts within the wider BMW business, entrepreneurs and external subject matter experts. 

What does the day-to-day look like at BMW Innovation Lab?

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 BMW. 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.