Founders Factory @ Cannes Lions Innovation

Brands Without Borders

At Founders Factory , we help some of the biggest corporates in the world to accelerate and build start-ups that re-define their sectors. Whilst we have our pre-defined sectors (beauty, media, travel, fin-tech, ed-tech and AI) we have noticed a big opportunity in exploring ideas that are cross-sector. By pooling the assets and thinking of more than one of our corporates we can create technology businesses that have an extreme unfair advantage.

Not afraid of bold ambitions (we’re building and scaling over 200 startups within five years), we wanted to challenge ourselves and our corporate investors to come up with a business concept, live, on stage, at Cannes Lions.

Moderated by Justus Brown, our Chief Product Officer, we brought together the managing director of Aviva Ventures, Ben Luckett, the Global SVP Business Development & Innovation at L’Oreal, Esohe Omoruyi and Nicholas Crowther, head of strategy at easyJet. The room was completely packed and we had just 30minutes. The pressure was well and truly on.
Prior to the session we decided on an area of focus and we felt that travel impacted all three of those corporates and provided a real rich territory to explore. Travel is obviously very strategic for easyJet but for Aviva, travel insurance is a key product for their consumers and for L’Oreal, holiday products and liquid restrictions provide great opportunities and challenges. We settled on the problem statement of:
“Planning your trip can be stressful”
We started off by asking our panel and the audience what they found stressful about travel. Everyone had just arrived off a plane into Nice before making their way to Cannes, so those pain-points were fresh in everyone’s minds. Some of the comments included:
  • “Not being able to access wifi during the flight”
  • “Not knowing where to go on holiday or where to find inspiration”
  • “Having tiny seats on the plane”
  • “Wanting a unique experience that’s not the same as everyone else”
  • “Having to sit next to a crying baby”
  • “Healthy food options on the flight”
  • “Dealing with anxiety when I fly”
  • “Worrying that my suitcase won’t fit within the luggage requirements”
We discussed each point and then narrowed down to one problem: ‘I want a unique experience but I don’t know where to find inspiration’.
We then turned to our Founders Factory tool kit for ways to tackle that problem and turn it into a business. Our tool kit is a lean business model canvas which we use to understand an opportunity in a structured way.
You can download the complete version here
Because of time constraints, we used a simplified version of this business model canvas for our panel which helped us to map out current trends, customer segments, trends, assets and competitors, summarised below:
  • Social media sharing of your travels
  • Different places to stay — Airbnb
  • Booking on your mobile
  • Bespoke trips
  • Local experience instead of tourist
  • Sustainability
  • Meaningful: holidays wanting to give back
  • Skyscanner
  • Instagram
  • Trip Advisor
  • Travel agent
  • Trailfinders
  • Airbnb
Assets (at Founders Factory we view assets as the capabilities, resource, data, market intelligence and opportunities our corporates can bring.)
  • easyJet — they have access to rich data on the profile of each customer where and when they fly. On ground staff across 130 offices across 32 countries.
  • Aviva — a risk model around dangers and problems that can happen on a trip and a huge database of customers who show intent to travel by buying travel insurance
  • L’Oreal —products in every market and a supply chain across the globe.
With the above in place, we needed to decide on the customer segment. We decided that the customer segment we would build for would be “The spontaneous millennial frequent traveler” given that they would be the most captive audience for this type of travel product.
Having filled out the lean business canvas we began to imagine what a business would look like and loaded an Insta page which would help us construct a landing page of our business displaying the key features.
Our idea went something like this:
We envisioned a ‘holiday scrapbook’ service (fondly named Trevor) that would pull together your activity combined with your friends’ activity to create an inspiration and discovery service for holidays.
  • A service would connect to your Instagram and Facebook accounts and look out for likes that you have of your friends holidays and use the location data attached to work out where in the world the picture is. Matched with holiday trends data it would curate photos and holiday destinations into ‘types’ of holiday i.e. beach break / city break recommended for you and suggest accompanying beauty and fashion looks that you have liked in the past and recommend which ones would work for each desired holiday.
  • Diving into those scrapbooks would then lead to increased discovery around activities you can do in a place and build itineraries for what you could do on a holiday. There’s also the opportunity to use knowledge of the market to flag in a year’s time when the best time to book each specific type of holiday is. For instance a trip to Indonesia might be best to go in January but the best time to book is August.
  • This could be seen as a smarter Pinterest for holidays, or a Strava type platform for holiday planners.
  • For Aviva, we discussed the idea of ‘disappointment’ insurance — helping people to insure against having a bad holiday or experience either in product form or as a content service that Aviva could offer.

In reflection, half an hour is a little over ambitious to fully think through and build a cross sector business. However, we hope that we demonstrated the important process that we go through that ensures both the idea and execution are as robust as possible. We can’t wait to share with you our next cross-sector start-up to come out of the Factory.