L Marks, the corporate innovation specialist and early stage investor announces today the launch of operations in Japan, where it will target the major Japanese corporate brands that are ripe for innovation as well as the country’s fast-growing startups.
L Marks’ first corporate client in Japan is BMW Group Financial Services Japan. Their partnership will deliver the BMW Innovation Lab 2018 for the financing arm of the global automotive giant.
The BMW Innovation Lab 2018 is an entrepreneur-focussed programme that provides an opportunity for early-stage startup companies to partner with BMW Group Financial Services Japan’s operational and commercial divisions. The BMW Innovation Lab will be run in partnership with L Marks and the entrepreneur programme will see selected startups join a structured 10-week course of activities. The programme is aimed at companies with disruptive business models or new technologies that could benefit BMW Group customers worldwide.
Daniel Saunders, Chief executive of L Marks said, “I am delighted to be entering such a significant new market in Japan with BMW Group. The BMW Innovation Lab 2018 is a shining example of the many corporate accelerators already supported by L Marks in the UK and Europe. Japan is a hugely exciting market for us with some of the strongest corporate brands in the world and a large network of innovative technology startups. We see our agreement with BMW as the first of many innovation programmes that we hope to deliver in Japan, a country with an already established history of automotive and technological innovation.”
Participants will have access to mentorship from the BMW Group Financial Services Japan leadership team, a collaborative working environment at the company's Tokyo headquarters, a business education program with links to a network of industry experts, as well as access to investors and fundraising support from L Marks.
Mike Wetherell, Representative Director, President and CEO at BMW Group Financial Services Japan, said: “This programme is all about finding new ideas and new ways to think. While the solutions from this Innovation Lab should target our customers and dealers in Japan, we invite startups from all around the world to participate in this journey of innovation.”
Stuart Marks, technology entrepreneur and Chairman of L Marks, said: “Having successfully worked with BMW Group in the UK for the last two years, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with BMW Group in Japan. This is an exciting new market for us, and whilst we’ve previously had Japanese startups apply to our UK programmes, we’re looking forward to accessing more of the fantastic talent and solutions Japan has to offer. Giving these entrepreneurs access to the leadership of BMW Group Financial Services Japan and to relevant functional teams will greatly accelerate their product development and business growth.”
With a prominent presence in Europe and the UK, L Marks’ global expansion since it was founded in 2013 has seen 137 startups inducted into one of its innovation programmes, with over 4500 startup applications received from 80+ countries. L Marks has worked with some of the best-known global brands including BMW, Arsenal FC, British Airways and United Utilities to deliver bespoke accelerators in retail, healthcare, travel, logistics, sport, legal, energy, and financial services.