What is Platform X?

Platform-X, the scale-up accelerator programme from Virgin Trains designed in partnership with Virgin StartUp, is offering you the opportunity to develop your business and products over an intensive five-week period. If you have built disruptive innovations (service, product or technology) that fit the below challenges and are accelerating to market, we want to hear from you.

The five-week programme will focus on enabling you to scale while working closely with the Virgin Trains senior management team and experts across the Virgin Group. At the end of the programme we will be looking to test and trial the most promising products and services in market with our rail customers.

The Virgin Way

Virgin is famous for fostering innovation having started more than 400 businesses over the last 50 years, we know that progress relies on collaboration. Run in association with start-up specialists Virgin StartUp, we are inviting start-ups with disruptive innovations to join Platform-X on a journey that will help take your business to the next level, while building a relationship with the UK’s most recognised brand. 

Innovation Challenges

Scale Fast, Scale Together

Start-ups selected onto the programme will meet weekly at Virgin Trains Kings Cross for five intensive days specifically designed to give start-ups the tools they need to scale-up. This includes first-class mentoring allowing participating start-ups the chance to learn from seasoned executives, entrepreneurs and subject matter experts, who will be on hand to help. 

Programme Benefits


Access to Virgin Trains senior management team, external specialists and experts across the Virgin Group.


Go-to-market strategy and product validation from Virgin Trains experts and customers.


Possible funding for in market trials through the £25M Virgin Trains East Coast Innovation Fund.


Access to office space in London at Virgin StartUp (W2).

Fresh Innovation

The Virgin Group is always on the lookout for exciting businesses to partner or work with. Platform-X provides an opportunity to fast-track the collaboration process and find disruptive start-ups that align to our goals and challenges. We wanted to build a mutually beneficial experience, one that allows us to discover industry changing innovations, and give talented start-ups a platform to grow and develop their products.

Zero equity is taken in exchange for joining Platform-X. However, where we see a business opportunity together, we may offer funding in exchange for running a trial with your company. We welcome discussions concerning the trial funding throughout the 5 weeks, however we tend to make final decisions about funding towards the end of the programme and our period of collaboration.

The 2017 Application Window Has Now Closed

Applications to join the 2017 edition of Platform X are now closed. Leave your details below to make sure you're the first to hear of the call for applications for the 2018 batch of Platform X!

Want to know what happened to this year's cohort? Check out their stories below.

*Please note that by providing us with your email address, you agree that we may add you to the Virgin StartUp mailing list so that you can receive start up advice, news and information about our products or services directly to your inbox. You can always decide later that you do not want to receive these emails by getting in touch, or by clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ button contained in any email that your receive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my start-up right for Platform X?


We want to help start-ups take their business to the next level through collaboration with Virgin Trains. We’re interested in all start-ups that can help, in one or more of the challenges described. We would expect that start-ups are already on their journey and looking to scale with a ready product and paying customers. If you feel that your start-up could benefit from working with Virgin Trains, then we’d love to receive your application.

When is the deadline for applying?


28th May 2017.

What should I include in my application?


We ask for information about you, the product or service that fits the challenge briefs, your team and company. Don’t hold back let us know how great you are!

Is there a minimum age to apply?


You must be at least 18 years old to enter Platform-X.

I dont live in the UK - can I apply?


Of course! The best innovations can come from anywhere. Bear in mind that you may need a visa to participate in the accelerator and that you will be required to travel (at your own expense) to the UK for the programme.

What are the key dates of the programme?


The programme will run for five weeks. The key dates are as follows:

  • Applications Open – 25th of April 2017  
  • Applications Close – 28th of May 2017
  • Pitch-Day – 6th of June 2017
  • Applicants Invited onto Programme – 8th of June 2017
  • Programme Dates – 3rd July to 31st July 2017
  • Trial Week – 7th August 2017
  • Programme Ends – 11th August 2017

Where will Platform X be held?


The 5-week Accelerator Programme will be held each Monday in London at Virgin Trains Kings Cross Station.

Where will the mentors come from?


Mentors will include senior executives from Virgin Trains and across the Virgin Group, industry experts and successful entrepreneurs. A full list of mentors will be announced in due course.

How much time will be required from me?


The intense schedule of Platform-X is designed to help you collaborate to implement game-changing innovations with Virgin Trains. Each Monday for 5-weeks you’ll accelerate your vision to rapidly develop your product, receiving essential guidance on key decisions in real time from your mentors. Each start-up’s experience on the programme will be unique – we tailor the mentoring and education programmes to meet your business’ specific needs.

How much equity will I need to give up?


No equity will be taken in exchange for joining Platform-X..

Do all start-ups on the programme make it to trial?


Where we see a business opportunity together, we may offer funding in exchange for running a trial with your company.

When will I receive funding to trial my innovation?


We welcome discussions concerning the trial funding throughout the 5 weeks, however we tend to make final decisions about funding towards the end of the programme and our period of collaboration.

Do you have terms and conditions for the programme that I can look at?


Yes - here.