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United Utilities launches Innovation Lab 2.0

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by Startacus Admin

United Utilities Innovation Lab 2.0
Leading UK water and wastewater company United Utilities has launched its second accelerator programme to help innovative businesses grow and develop their solutions through a collaborative approach.

Following last year’s successful Innovation Lab programme which saw seven companies developing their ideas, United Utilities has started the application process looking for its second cohort. The Innovation Lab offers a unique opportunity for innovative businesses to collaborate with the water company, helping United Utilities tackle key business challenges.

Once again the programme is being run with corporate innovation specialists and early-stage investors L Marks, who work with some of the worlds’ best-known brands, United Utilities Innovation Lab 2.0including, BMW Group, Lloyd's of London, Arsenal F.C., and EDF Energy to identify the challenges in their business and create bespoke partnership and scouting projects.

Those successful in gaining a coveted place in the Lab will be co-located and work closely with United Utilities to test, develop, improve and demonstrate their product or service in a live customer environment over a 10 week period. 

In addition, the programme will enable the successful applicants to build relationships with senior United Utilities executives, potentially leading to longer-term commercial partnerships and the opportunity to gain investment.

United Utilities Innovation Lab 2.0

This year, each category is focussed on how innovative companies can help United Utilities develop their Systems Thinking plans and improve service performance, from connecting customers, empowering knowledgeable colleagues, improving data management and the future of water. Full category breakdown can be found here. 

Last year’s cohort included Canadian tech startup EMAGIN, who as part of the United Utilities Innovation Lab, helped United Utilities become the first water company in the UK to introduce large scale artificial intelligence into its operational systems. EMAGIN’s artificial intelligence platform, HARVI, can assess vast amounts of data on a wide range of factors such as weather, demand for water, pump performance and electricity prices. 

During the lab, the Canadian team were given access to the water firm’s huge wealth of data, systems and expert knowledge to incubate their ideas and help shape their technology for the UK and European water markets.

United Utilities Innovation Lab 2.0Speaking about the first Lab, Steve Fraser, United Utilities Chief Operating Officer, said: “Last year’s Innovation Lab was a huge success. We made connections and set up contracts with some exciting new suppliers that would never have crossed our path otherwise.  It’s fair to say that the Lab helped us to hone our PR19 business plan, bringing innovation right to the forefront to help meet the challenge of delivering more to our customers for less.

“We’re very excited to launch the second Innovation Lab and we’re looking forward to hearing from even more companies with great ideas. Together we can develop those ideas into better and more efficient services, not just for our own customers but right across the water industry.”


- Applications for Innovation Lab 2.0 are open until midday 15 April 2019.
- You may then be invited to the second phase of the application (Idea stage) to provide more information on your service/ product. This will launch on 22nd April - 16th May
- Successful companies will be invited to a Pitch Day on 18th July
- Program live kicks off on 2nd September

For more information about the programme and challenges, please visit the Innovation Lab website and good luck to all whom apply. Watch the UU cohort 1 Demo Day below for a flavour of what may to become...

Content in collaboration with L Marks.

UU Demo day

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Published on: 21st March 2019

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