Duke of York opens UK’s first travel tech incubator to support start-up growth

Traveltech Lab offers high-specification workspace for 30 people co-located within the riverside offices of London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company for London. The incubator – created in partnership with The Trampery – was opened by His Royal Highness at a ceremony yesterday evening.

At the ceremony, Gatwick Airport was confirmed as the first corporate partner of the new incubator, which will support the growth of the UK’s travel technology industry.

London & Partners’ goal is for London to become the number one city in the world for travel technology startups, and it is hoped that the incubator will help support the development of the next lastminute.com, Citymapper, AirBnB, or Skyscanner. Over 100 companies applied for space in the new facility, including businesses from Germany, China and the United States.

London & Partners will also offer the selected start-ups the opportunity to connect with its network of senior industry executives, partners, investors and mentors to help accelerate the growth and development of their businesses.

Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners, said: “As well as being one of the world’s foremost tourism destinations, London is also a leading global hotspot for tech innovation. This exciting new incubator, which now has the support of Gatwick Airport, will bring tech and tourism together, enabling brilliant start-ups that will transform the way we live, work, and travel. It is the ideal springboard, enabling new travel tech firms to grow quickly with the help of London & Partners’ business expertise and broad network of industry specialists.”

Gatwick Chief Commercial Officer Guy Stephenson said: “New and innovative technology is changing the way we travel and the London Traveltech Lab will encourage start-ups to shape this revolution. Gatwick’s support for these growing businesses will not only help them to succeed and realise their ideas, but it will help us to remain at the forefront of innovation and change in our industry.”

The new facility will help travel tech firms grow and attract interest from potential investors and partners, said one of companies that has taken up space in the Traveltech Lab.

Sam Bruce, CEO of Much Better Adventures – a company that makes it easy to book bespoke adventure holidays direct with local hosts – said: “We’re entering the growth funding stage of our business and the targeted nature of the Traveltech Lab is already helping us grow much quicker. London has proven to be fertile ground for travel technology startups and the Lab allows us all to amalgamate our industry experience and networks under one supportive roof. We’ve joined some seriously impressive startups in here and I’m sure there will be some billion-pound businesses come out of it.”

The Traveltech Lab is designed and managed by The Trampery, creators of London’s premier innovation spaces. It will provide a range of support to the startups and organise a programme of events, bringing leading industry figures to offer experience and inspiration.

Charles Armstrong, Founder of The Trampery, said: “London has long been one of the world’s leading hubs for innovation in travel, tourism and hospitality. The city’s extraordinary track record stretches from Air Miles in the 1980s, right up to app developers like Citymapper today. Until now the sector has lacked a focal point where the brightest innovators and industry leaders can come together. Traveltech Lab provides that focal point.”

In addition to access to facilities and London & Partners’ network, startups based at Traveltech Lab will gain discounted use of a panoramic event space with views over the River Thames, TV broadcast facilities, mentoring support and a programme of talks and business workshops.

Picture: Geoff Caddick/PA Wire