Startups & VCs

Arsenal seek new edge with Innovation Lab

Soccer giants will mentor startups to move club forward and improve matchdays.

by Elena Holmes

Arsenal seek new edge with Innovation Lab

Arsenal FC have launched the Arsenal Innovation Lab, which will work with startups to develop new fan experiences and move the club’s business forward.

The ten-week programme will see successful candidates receive mentoring from senior business leaders at the Premier League soccer team, and will be run in collaboration with corporate innovations specialists L Marks.

The Innovation Lab will enable Arsenal to work with entrepreneurial businesses on improving matchday experience, engaging global fans, transforming commercial partners’ offerings, and building a retail operation for the future. The programme also offers a ‘Wildcard’, calling on businesses to come up with new ideas to help the north London club advance.

The selected businesses will have the opportunity to test and demonstrate products or services in live environments, as well gaining the potential for further investment. Applications close on 12th October.

 “We know there are many brilliant startup companies with creative and innovative ideas and we are looking forward to working with them,” said Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s chief commercial officer. “The club has always placed a big emphasis on being pioneering and innovative and we plan to continue this by working with smart-thinking businesses to help us identify ground-breaking ideas to take us forwards.”

L Marks chairman Stuart Marks added:  "Community and innovation are at the heart of Arsenal's history and values, and so it's incredibly exciting for L Marks to be supporting the club to accelerate their collaborations with startups and tech talent. Though based in London, Arsenal has global support which presents amazing opportunities for new businesses working on digital fan engagement and other relevant solutions to work with the club."

Arsenal are 11th in England’s top flight following a difficult start to the season that included a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Liverpool. They look to have steered back on course after a convincing 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday, but will be tested when they face 2017/18 league winners Chelsea on Sunday in a fierce local derby.