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24 February

Bourne Leisure joins TrueStart as a Strategic Partner

We’re delighted to announce that Bourne Leisure, one of the UK’s leading holiday and holiday home operators, has joined us as a Strategic Partner. The move will allow Bourne – and suite of holiday brands (Haven, Butlins and Warner Leisure Hotels) – to learn about, and adopt, technologies and consumer products which will continually enhance its customers’ experience and help to drive operational effectiveness.


John Dunford, CEO of Bourne Leisure, comments: “We place our customers and our team at the heart of everything we do, so to be able to see the latest technologies, which can improve both the experience we provide our customers, and the way we do business, is really exciting.”


Mike Tattersall, Partner at TrueStart, comments: “Bourne is a highly respected British business in the holiday sector, with an unrivalled heritage and a track record of sustained profit growth. TrueStart offers world-class innovation to companies operating in the retail and consumer industries, and we’re delighted that Bourne Leisure has chosen to align with us. It is demonstrative of the applicability of our innovation flow to the broader consumer sector.”


TrueStart’s growing portfolio of 29 investments, and importantly its access to a flow of over 1,000 retail and consumer-related startups from around the world, spans cutting-edge analytics software, health and wellness businesses, food and drink consumables, and customer engagement technologies. Bourne Leisure has already benefitted from the partnership through introductions to companies within TrueStart’s portfolio, including Quikkly, Photospire and Hoxton Analytics, as well as others from its broader network of innovative startups, including The Blogger Programme.


Tattersall continues: “All businesses within our portfolio have the ability to truly inform real change in the retail, consumer and leisure industries. We’re excited to help augment Bourne’s innovation focus over the coming weeks and years by advising on, and making introductions to, the best technologies and consumables commercially relevant to its businesses from across our global network.”


Dunford concludes: “TrueStart is a goldmine of startups developing technologies and consumables that innovate and disrupt, and we’re certain the exposure we’ll get to these ground-breaking businesses will really help us to continually improve for the benefit of our customers, our team and our shareholders. We’re looking forward to the opportunities that being part of TrueStart’s Strategic Partner network brings.”


October 24, 2016
24 February

TrueStart: we’re open for applications for our 2016 Winter Collection

01/09/16: today’s the day – TrueStart has opened applications to its Winter Collection, the fourth accelerator programme since TrueStart’s inception in 2013.

The Collection brings together the most innovative and disruptive startups in the retail and consumer sectors and works with them to develop and grow their businesses. The TrueStart Winter Collection is a four-month programme running from 2nd December 2016. As part of the programme, TrueStart will offer either £25,000 for 4.5% equity, £50,000 for 9% or a zero cash deal for 3%, whereby companies receive mentorship and access to TrueStart’s retail network.

Baz Saidieh, CEO of TrueStart, comments: “As we open each new programme, the quality of the applicants continues to soar. Our expectations continue to be exceeded with each programme as we witness some truly innovative startups that are primed to disrupt our industry. We are attracting rock-star founders from all sectors that are set to change retail and consumer industries in the years to come.”

The Collection has grown year-on-year. The Summer Collection in 2016 attracted over 250 applications from over 40 countries and has seen businesses such as Hullabalook, Quikkly, BeeLine and Induo scale quickly through the support and guidance of the mentors, as well as the opportunities it has enabled through the direct access TrueStart provides to its strategic partners, such as John Lewis, Morrisons and River Island.

Baz Saidieh, CEO of TrueStart, continues: “Our retail network, built up over many years’ in the industry, is what enables us to stand out from the crowd. This door-opening potential to some of the UK – and world’s – most leading retailers and decision makers in the retail and consumer industries provides support, advice and most importantly, scale our startups need. It is a game changer, for both the startups, but also the retailers looking for innovation. It is a firm indicator that TrueStart has developed the right formula – industry insight and contacts mixed with world class partners and teams offer young businesses a path to accelerated growth.”

TrueStart’s retail network comprises over 3,000 members of senior management teams across leading retailers in the UK and beyond. In addition, strategic partners (Land Securities, River Island, John Lewis, Morrisons and Accenture) form a key part of the network and provide The Collection with support and access to key buyers and decisions makers within their businesses.

In addition to access to the retail network, TrueStart Collection residents are provided with desk space in TrueStart’s Hub in Victoria, in addition to a variety of mentorship services, accounting and legal aid, and regular masterclasses with leading industry experts.

TrueStart has proven success in funding, building and growing successful startup businesses. City Pantry, one of its initial investments, recently closed its latest funding round worth over £1.1m, Photospire is working with Morrisons and John Lewis on customer engagement campaigns, and BeeLine and Hullabalook from the most recent Collection have, respectively, secured over £500,000 in funding and will be announcing contracts with a number of leading online retailers.

Applications for the Winter Collection open on 1st September 2016 and close at midnight on 16th October 2016. To apply visit the website or click here.

September 1, 2016
24 February

John Lewis Partnership joins us as a Strategic Partner

Today we’re welcoming a new strategic partner to the TrueStart fold: John Lewis Partnership. By joining forces with us, the business becomes part of our growing partnership programme which includes some of the UK’s leading retailers and businesses: River Island, Morrisons, Land Securities and Accenture.

The partnership with John Lewis will allow the startups within our own accelerator programme, The Collection, to gain exposure to its market-leading retail capabilities, with our aim of bringing the best ideas to commercial reality. One of our portfolio companies is already benefiting from the partnership: PHOTOSPIRE is in discussions with JLP about potential activation activities that will target customers with customised product recommendation videos.

At TrueStart, we look to work with genuinely disruptive businesses that have the potential to inform real change in the retail sector – having JLP on board as our latest strategic partner means that we can lean on our joint expertise to make sure that the retail industry keeps innovation at its core and in these changing times, help transform the fashion, home and technology sectors.

July 28, 2016
24 February

TrueStart invests in seven of Europe’s hottest retail and consumer startups

Today we’re welcoming the next generation of entrepreneurs through the doors of our Hub in London’s Victoria – a location rapidly establishing itself as the Europe’s epicentre for retail innovation.

Seven of Europe’s newest and hottest retail and consumer startups, ranging from e-commerce, fashtech, and beverage businesses, to beauty and sports leisure, join our growing accelerator programme.

We work with genuinely disruptive startups, and as a result we’ve attracted over 300 leading retail board members to The Hub specifically to see the innovation taking place within our four walls. Since The Collection started two years ago, we’ve had over 2,000 applications from over 40 countries. This Collection alone received over 250 applications for The Summer Collection 2016 programme, a 25% increase on last year. Applications came from a variety of sectors including e-commerce, the Internet of Things, wearable technology, supply chain fulfilment and logistics, digital and analytics. The Summer Collection 2016 finalists are:

  • All Shades Covered – a health and beauty marketplace for Afro-Caribbean consumers
  • Appaparel – smart clothing labels that turn any item into a wearable device
  • BEELINE – a handlebar-mounted device that helps urban cyclists discover the city without the restrictions of traditional turn-by-turn navigation
  • CASSO COCKTAILS – ready to drink, low calorie cocktails
  • HULLABALOOK – a visual discovery engine for retailers
  • INDUO – a cotton fabric that uses technology to make clothing that’s liquid and stain repellent, and breathable
  • QUIKKLY – a scanning platform making real-word shopping as fast and convenient as online

As we invest in businesses that have a brilliant concept and an identifiable point of competitive advantage, we’re really looking forward to the next four months as we help build and grow these exciting companies. Watch this space for more about them over the coming weeks.

June 30, 2016
24 February

TrueStart hosts University networking night

Last Wednesday TrueStart hosted a networking evening for students at the office after-hours. A diverse crowd from universities all around London gathered to join like-minded innovative peers and make connections in the start-up industry. TrueStart portfolio companies joined in on the event in order to give the students a frontline perspective of the startup industry and the TrueStart culture. The mingling crowd of students, start-ups, and drinks made for a successful hump day at TrueStart!

March 10, 2016