Volvo Financial Services announces launch of ILabX, innovation lab for tech entrepreneurs

(Photo: VFS)

Volvo Financial Services (VFS) just announced its launch of iLabX, an accelerator program that will provide entrepreneurial companies from around the world in FinTech and other fields, with the opportunity to collaborate with VFS to develop and implement new innovative solutions and technologies that can ultimately benefit customers, dealers, and partners.

iLabX will be run in collaboration with L Marks, a corporate innovation specialist. The program will accept entries in four categories:

Build an Exceptional Customer Journey: Solutions that make it easy for customers to access and purchase Volvo Group vehicles, parts and service, and financial services as part of our total offer.

Financing Next Generation Transport Solutions: Platforms and product offerings that allow customers faster and easier vehicle access through ownership or other means, and address new technologies such as automation, electromobility, and connectivity.

Digital Transformation for Business Excellence: Solutions that provide a level change in business performance through digital transformation.

Wildcard: Solutions that look at the financial services industry 10-20 years from now, and could re-engineer long held assumptions in terms of business models, sources of capital, credit and risk evaluation, and capital flows.

Scott Rafkin, President of VFS, says, “iLabX is where innovation and implementation come together. We are looking for creative ideas that can help us solve some exciting challenges in our business and continue to meet our customers’ changing demands. By working collaboratively with other entrepreneurial-minded companies, we aim to drive new thinking, explore new technologies and develop breakthrough solutions. Our ambition is to ensure VFS continues to remain highly relevant for our customers well into the future.”

Following the initial submission period, up to 15 finalists in each category will be invited to pitch their ideas to the VFS senior leadership team. From the finalists, up to 6 will be invited to join a 10-week innovation lab at VFS global headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina, to further develop their ideas alongside subject matter experts in the commercial transport and financial services industries.

During the 10-week program, the selected startups will be based in a collaborative environment, benefiting from access to the company’s leadership team, industry experts, investment professionals, and business education programs. VFS and L Marks will also provide fundraising support.

Daniel Saunders, CEO of L Marks says, “L Marks is thrilled to be launching its inaugural program with VFS. We have a strong history of supporting the growth of FinTech and mobility sector startups and developing or enhancing their products in partnership with our clients and we’re excited to see how VFS can engage with the startup ecosystem through the VFS iLabX.”

“L Marks has a global network of scouting that they use to reach out to startups relevant to our challenges,” says Allen Atchley, VP of strategy and innovation for VFS.

“Some of the companies entering the program may not need financing so this is not a requirement. We want to have the founder and key members of the startup with us for the first week of the program to learn about our business and agree to goals and milestones, but following the first week we want each company to decide with us the best way to follow up on progress that will maximize the progress that we can achieve together during the program,” says Atchley.

“We have dedicated resources that will be working with each company that enters the program.  We will match these resources to the companies selected for the program based on the challenges being addressed and technologies involved,” he says.

Applications from entrepreneurs, startups, and early-stage growth businesses must be submitted through the website by December 2, 2018.

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Chad Prevost

Chad is radio host and broadcast media specialist for FreightWaves.