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CNBC

EasyJet is investing millions in tech start-ups to find the next hot company in ‘travel tech’

EasyJet is taking stakes in start-ups but there are ‘no immediate plans’ to eventually acquire them

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2016, 12:28pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2016, 12:28pm

EasyJet has made a “multimillion pound” investment into a start-up accelerator and incubator created by the founders of Lastminute.com, as it looks to find the next big thing in travel technology.

The five-year deal will see the UK airline invest in and help scale five early-stage start-ups and create two new companies from scratch each year alongside Founders Factory, an accelerator and incubator created by Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox.

Hoberman and Fox were among the founding team of event booking website Lastminute.com.

“It’s an opportunity to connect talent with companies that can drive new opportunities that we are perhaps not looking at today,” James Millett, head of digital at easyJet, told CNBC.

EasyJet will take equity stakes in the start-ups. An investment team of three easyJet executives and three members of the Founders Factory will work together to identify the investment opportunities.

Millett said that easyJet is taking stakes in start-ups but there are “no immediate plans” to eventually acquire them.

“I think at this stage we are looking at solving problems with potential upside,” Millett said, adding that interesting areas for the company to explore include e-commerce, payments, artificial intelligence and analytics.

Founders Factory is backed by a number of other corporates too including Aviva and L’Oreal. Each organisation will be looking for start-ups in their specific field. Founders Factory will develop 200 early stage technology companies over the next five years across six sectors.