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Silicon Valley VC Plug and Play launches in the UK, partners with BT & Land Rover

Plug and Play's CEO Saeed Amidi
Image Credits: Plug and Play

Plug and Play, the global corporate innovation partner and prolific early-stage investor is today announcing its launch in the UK. This move indicates the significant growth in interest in UK tech from the world’s leading technological hub.

The VC will team up with leading UK brands, initially partnering with Jaguar Land Rover and BT Group. Plug and Play will build and run innovation programmes in a collaboration-rooted strategy between corporates and startups.

Expanding to the UK

The VC is aiming at making up to 30 investments annually into UK early-stage startups. The Plug and Play UK team, led by Kieran Borrett, will partner with top corporations to support their innovation ambitions and avail UK-based startups access to the world’s largest network of corporations and investors.

An interesting side note; US investors contributed the majority of capital invested into the UK tech sector in 2021 with 37% which was 5.5% higher than the year before and 9% higher than the proportion of UK tech investment sourced domestically. With just 28% of investment into the sector’s startups sourced domestically, emphasis by the UK government has remained throughout 2021 on incentivised and home-grown VC investment.

Beginning with the UK founding partner Jaguar Land Rover, Plug and Play will build an open global innovation platform focusing on the mobility and sustainability ecosystem. The goal is to bring together leading corporations as well as other ecosystem players to evaluate and test new tech & business models pioneered by startups to enable corporations to solve business challenges, seizing new opportunities in the process. The platform will also play a key role in helping Jaguar Land Rover achieve their ambitious target of net-zero by 2039.

François Dossa, the Executive Director in charge of strategy and sustainability at Jaguar Land Rover remarked, “With the launch of the Open Innovation platform, Jaguar Land Rover is looking at the entire mobility and sustainability ecosystem to offer an unparalleled customer experience, shaping the future of our industry and paving the way to the future of mobility.”

Collaborating with BT Group, Plug and Play will facilitate BT’s startup partnerships team collaboration with the best startups across a range of sectors beyond its core telecoms ecosystem. Some of these fields include enterprise technologies, fintech and health among a range of products and services that can capitalise on the company’s market-leading 5G network, accelerating the company’s mission to connect for good. The Plug and Play UK programme will commence with a Kick-Off Day on 21 June, with further corporate partners to be announced soon.

Meg Blight, Start-up Partnerships Director at BT Group commented,”Plug and Play’s international Innovation Platform gives BT a key route to connect with the best startups worldwide. Our partnerships and investments in this space are already accelerating the digital revolution at BT. We are delighted to grow our relationship further with Plug and Play as they establish themselves in the vibrant UK tech scene.”

Plug and Play in words and numbers

Plug and Play was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Silicon Valley. The VC aims to scale innovation by enabling leading corporations to collaborate and partner with the brightest startups. In doing so, Plug and Play has helped more than 500 global organisations build, run, and scale corporate innovation programmes across more than 40 locations, in industries as diverse as fintech, insurtech, mobility, IoT, brand and retail, sustainability, food and beverage, health, and supply chain, just to name a couple.

Plug and Play has grown into one of the world’s most active early-stage investors, backing over 250 startups every year alongside the world’s best VCs. Notable companies backed at early-stage by Plug and Play include PayPal, Dropbox, Honey, Flutterwave and Turing, in a growing list.

“As a global hotspot for innovation and home to a strong network of entrepreneurs, the UK has the potential to be one of Plug and Play’s biggest Innovation Platforms. Today corporations need to engage in open innovation to stay relevant, and we support them to do this on a global scale. We invite corporations, governments, and startups to join us in our mission to make innovation open to anyone, anywhere.” remarked Saeed Amidi, Founder and CEO of Plug and Play.

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