L Marks Announces US Expansion

LONDON, May 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

- L Marks sets up operations in Columbus, Ohio, in the heart of the Midwest's tech and innovation hub

- L Marks launches the BMW Financial Services US Collaboration Lab 2018

L Marks, the applied corporate innovation specialist, early stage investor and operator of the largest network of corporate accelerators in the UK, is pleased to announce its expansion into the US through the establishment of a new operations centre in Columbus, Ohio, and the launch of the BMW Financial Services US Collaboration Lab 2018. This follows the recent announcement of L Marks' Japanese expansion, collaborating with BMW Financial Services on its innovation lab in Japan. There is significant demand in the US for L Marks' expertise in bringing together the world's most exciting startups with the some of the world's biggest brands to drive innovation. L Marks' US expansion will ensure that the business is well placed to export its proven innovation lab methodology into the US market.

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Launching US Operations Centre in Columbus, Ohio

L Marks will be establishing a new operations centre in Columbus, Ohio, in the heart of the American Midwest and home to numerous US corporate headquarters in sectors in which L Marks already has a wealth of experience. Examples include retail companies like Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria s Secret and Wendy's, automotive companies like Honda and Safelite, and utility companies such as American Electric Power. Numerous other companies in financial services, data centres and healthcare also have their headquarters in the region. In addition, the Midwest is increasingly winning market share from the East Coast and West Coast as a major technology hub, with hundreds of startups and later stage technology companies setting up operations in the region. This fertile landscape is being boosted by local government through the Columbus 2020 initiative, a campaign which L Marks is excited and honoured to support, playing an important role in the regional strategy to establish Columbus as a global tech and innovation hub.

BMW Collaboration Lab 2018

L Marks is also pleased to announce today the launch of the US BMW Financial Services Collaboration Lab 2018, an entrepreneur-focused programme that provides an opportunity for early-stage startup companies to partner with BMW Financial Services' North American operational and commercial divisions. The BMW Collaboration Lab will run in partnership with L Marks and the entrepreneur programme will have selected startups join a structured 10-week course of activities. The programme is aimed at companies with disruptive business models or new technologies that could benefit BMW Group customers worldwide.

L Marks has a strong track record of activity in the US, including introducing into its innovation labs dozens of cutting-edge startups such as Ping, MileZero, Aireal and Blitzz. L Marks has already established a presence in the Columbus Region through its work with Safelite and the Drive with Belron accelerator, as well as supporting UK startups Locpin and Localz to gather experience and operational exposure in the US.

Daniel Saunders, Chief Executive of L Marks, said, "North America is a hugely exciting market for us with some of the strongest corporate brands in the world and a large network of innovative technology startups. I am looking forward to establishing ourselves in Columbus, the heart of the Midwest, and one of the US's most exciting technology and innovation hubs. Whilst most companies don't look beyond the East and West coasts, at L Marks we like to think more laterally and in the Midwest we have a region with a huge cluster of major corporates and a booming scene crying out for the innovation expertise that we offer. Columbus lies at the crossroads of America and it has spawned business leaders for decades. It is a hugely exciting place from which to launch our US operations.

I am also delighted to be entering such a significant market in North America with BMW Group. This is our third global partnership launch with BMW Financial Services and the launch of the US BMW Innovation Lab 2018 is a shining example of how we can help major corporate brands develop a world class innovation programme."

Kenny McDonald, President and CEO of Columbus 2020, said, "We are excited L Marks chose the Columbus Region for its new operations centre and the site for the BMW Collaboration Lab. The Columbus Region is realizing its potential as a technology and innovation center and we look forward to their growth in our market.

About L Marks

L Marks is a firm specialising in applied corporate innovation and an early stage investor. With a prominent presence in the UK, Europe, US and Japan. L Marks' global expansion has seen 137 startups inducted into one of its innovation programmes, with over 4500 startup applications received from 80+ countries. We work with some of the worlds' best-known brands, including, BMW Group, Lloyd's of London, Arsenal F.C. and EDF Energy to identify the challenges in their business and create bespoke innovation projects. Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Stuart Marks, and led by Chief Executive, Daniel Saunders, L Marks aims to build bridges between corporates seeking to innovate and young companies looking to scale with disruptive tech and systemic guidance. We help nurture these opportunities for improvement into innovative solutions to sustain the future longevity of business.

About Columbus 2020

As the economic development organisation for the Columbus Region, Columbus 2020's mission is to generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth across 11 Central Ohio counties. In 2010, hundreds of business and community leaders developed the Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy, and the Columbus Region is now experiencing the strongest decade of growth in its history. The Columbus 2020 team conducts business outreach, promotes the Columbus Region to market-leading companies around the world, conducts customised research to better understand the Columbus Region's competitiveness, and works to leverage public, private and institutional partnerships. Funding is received from more than 300 private organizations, local governments, academic institutions and JobsOhio.