By Kyle Loades, President of NRMA
The National Roads and Motorists Association of Australia (The NRMA) is Australia’s largest member organization with 2.4 million members.
The inaugural NRMA Jumpstart Accelerator was launched in late 2014. The model is unique to Slingshot, in that it provides NRMA with a structured external innovation program that is both low risk and outcome driven.
The aim of the NRMA Jumpstart Accelerator is to uncover new products and services that can be delivered to the NRMA’s current and future customers. Ideally these companies would be working on market disrupting technologies that could substantially change the NRMA business in the future. This is achieved by attracting external entrepreneurs to build startup companies and products much more quickly, innovatively and cheaply than our clients could ever hope to achieve.
NRMA Jumpstart Accelerator themes
The NRMA in conjunction with Slingshot identified a number of strategic areas or themes that are relevant to the NRMA’s current and future customers. The themes are intentionally not overly prescriptive, the aim being to encourage good entrepreneurs to bring new ideas to the NRMA. Often the best ideas are not the ones the NRMA would have asked Startups to build if they had to describe what they wanted to see as outcomes from the program prior to starting. The original Jumpstart themes included:
1. Connected members
How can the NRMA’s 2.4 million members engage more effectively with the NRMA and each other.
2. Connected cars
How does the NRMA take advantage of emerging smart car technology.
3. Member lifestyle
What services can NRMA provide its members including travel, entertainment and in home services.
4. Smart services
What emerging technology can the NRMA benefit from big data, Internet of Things, location beacons and apps.
- Out of the six Startup companies, four went on to receive next round investment. The four who received the investment were HiveUAV, Camplify, Gamurs and Careseekers. Those four companies are now valued at over $10 million from a valuation of zero prior to the commencement of the program.
- While not receiving investment Wunderwalk has signed a deal with Thrifty Car rental to market their product to car hirers and have started the campaign with the positioning of 10,000 advertisements inside thrifty cars.
- OTTO has won the regional app challenge in Jakarta with Samsung saying that “the Samsung Innovation Award winner, OTTO from Australia, was chosen by Samsung as it demonstrated the greatest level of synergy with Samsung’s product portfolio.”
- HiveUAV has received investment from Rothenburg Ventures a US Venture Capital firm and will be spending 2016 in the US.
- The two participating Scaleup companies included Fixed Price Car Service and Villalet have signed commercial deals with the NRMA.
- The NRMA invested in both Camplify and Careseekers. The Slingshot Venture Fund made three follow on investments in Careseekers, Camplify and Gamurs.
Outcomes for NRMA
- From having an unknown reputation for innovation, the NRMA Jumpstart Accelerator lifted the NRMA to a position of Innovator alongside brands such as Telstra.
- The program was recognised across a wide range of media channels included mainstream mastheads including (BRW, Financial review, Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald) as well as TV (Sky Business, NBN TV) and startup press (Startup Daily and Startup Smart).
- The program screened 200 potential business and strategic investment opportunities that the NRMA was unlikely to achieve prior to the Jumpstart program.
- Two strategic investments in market disruptors Camplify and Careseekers, capable of business changing paradigms for the NRMA.
Outcomes for the cohort
- Villalet providing a white labelled product to NRMA travel called NRMA villas allowing the NRMA to provide a whole new class of products to their travel customers.
- Fixed Price Car Service providing NRMA Motorserve with a new online client set not previously targeted by the NRMA.
- Significant internally improvement in the way NRMA now conducts innovation internally and engages with innovators in the community.
- Strong endorsement from the NRMA board and CEO that concrete outcomes have been achieved and improvements to the NRMA brand have resulted from the program.
NRMA Jumpstart Demo Day
‘The program has exceeded our expectations’.
“I’ll give you an example. Camplify, is a business we would never have thought of in a million years. But it’s a business that absolutely matches the emerging trend of peer-to-peer, person-to-person services via technology. For our members, with so many of them having caravans or pop up vans, Camplify was just perfect – it’s been really successful, but we would never have thought of it ourselves.
In my view, if you have a funnel of a hundred plus ideas that come in and you narrow those potentials down to five or ten, you’ll be lucky to get one that’s a winner. We chose to invest in three and we’re working closely with them. Personally, I’m extremely happy with the process. We’re investing good dollars in and getting the option of investing in the businesses.”
Pressident – NRMA