Boeing-backed Aerospace Xelerated selects digital services start-ups to join accelerator

The programme will be run in partnership with the UAE's Tawazun Economic Council

The aerospace industry is seeking digital services start-ups that can take the sector forward. AFP
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Aerospace Xelerated, an accelerator for software start-ups, has selected 11 digital services companies from around the world to join its programme that seeks to solve key challenges facing the aerospace industry.

The Boeing-led programme will be run in partnership with the Tawazun Economic Council, the defence and security acquisitions authority of the UAE, in its fourth cohort, the entities said on Tuesday.

The 11 start-ups, which were selected from a pool of 158 applicants, are from the UAE, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

They will focus on solving industry issues from supply chain disruptions to upskilling the workforce.

The 12-week programme will culminate in a demo day in April.

“The Aerospace Xelerated programme was designed to support the growth of start-ups, regardless of where they reside, and this cohort is a testament to that,” said Nichola Bates, managing partner at Aerospace Xelerated and head of global accelerators and innovation programmes at Boeing.

“We are incredibly excited to see the solutions these companies will create to answer some of the key challenges in the aerospace sector.”

Since the programme was set up in 2019, start-ups involved in the three previous cohorts have raised more than £100 million ($124 million) in additional funding and created more than 150 jobs across the UK and globally.

Organisations that have worked with past cohorts as partners or mentors include PwC, Frazer-Nash, Chevron Technology Ventures and easyJet.

Start-ups accepted into the programme will benefit from a £100,000 investment from Boeing, and the potential for additional funding from partners.

Through Aerospace Xelerated, the 11 businesses will be introduced to a network of angel investors, venture capitalists and key stakeholders in the aerospace industry.

The winners will also receive more than £100,000 in programme perks from partners such as Oracle, Amazon, HubSpot and Digital Ocean.

“Start-ups are increasingly playing a major role in the changes happening in the economic landscape,” said Tawazun's chief economic programme officer Abdulla Al Awani.

“Tawazun has been supporting innovation since our early days, and running this programme alongside Boeing will enable us to work closely with these amazing companies that are going to shape the future of aerospace.”

Besides Boeing and Tawazun Council, other programme partners include the UK-based Defence and Security Accelerator, British engineering company GKN Aerospace and Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways.

These partners will provide the cohort with industry insights and expertise, the entities said.

The selected companies will have access to strategists and technical support as they work to develop proof-of-concept opportunities.

They will also be mentored by a global network of experienced entrepreneurs and investors.

The 11 start-ups will cover the programme’s key focus areas: flight and passenger journey optimisation, supply chain intelligence, next generation workforce and operational efficiency.

The cohort includes entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds.

Among the founding teams, 80 per cent are first-time founders, 50 per cent have a female founder and 50 per cent represent ethnic minorities.

About 40 per cent of the companies are at the seed stage while all of them operate a hybrid model, with both remote and in-person working.

Updated: January 18, 2023, 12:12 PM