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MOL Group strives to be the first choice for people on the move in the Central Eastern European region. Now, we invite you to join us on this journey.
We teamed up with Design Terminal – the best business incubation agency in Hungary, that couples hands-on experience with a proven track record working with startups to implement the programme.
We crafted a unique initiative that has a twofold aim – bringing innovative ideas to our company, and helping disruptive startups scale up their activities.
Our 12-week long programme, based in Budapest, offers an invaluable opportunity for startups active in the fields of mobility, loyalty marketing and big data, retail services and parcel delivery, and distribution.
Startups that apply to our programme will receive personalised business support during their 3 months in Budapest.
Budapest is widely recognised as one of the best places for innovative businesses in the Central Eastern European region. It has a flourishing startup ecosystem with an international community, a high quality-of-life and amazing culture.
In the coming years, travellers are likely to focus more on the convenience, speed and cost of how they travel, rather than just the means of transportation itself. Customers will be looking into options to share their car, and ordering on-demand vehicles that may be autonomous and connected, and possible methods to seamlessly link public and private transport modes. These services will be complemented with personalised offers on fuels (including electric vehicle chargers), or a variety of non-fuel products and services.
If you share our vision and have a great idea about how to turn it into reality, we are looking for you.
Understanding customers is paramount to offering the right services. If your technology helps retailers understand customer needs – collecting, organising and analysing vast customer and transaction data, understanding customer behaviour via machine learning and/or smart analytics – or if you offer ways to satisfy these needs via digital sales channels, loyalty or reward systems, and personalised offers – then you are on the right track.
We are also looking for industrial applications for big data technologies, such as preventative maintenance. We offer you the ability to improve, perfect and scale your solution with one of the biggest fuel retailers in Central and Eastern Europe.
In the near future, service stations might transform into places where customers do much more than just fill up their cars. They will increasingly rely on convenient ways of purchasing products, via digital channels, that are close to their routes – using a mobile phone to order daily shopping essentials, along with a shared vehicle, is a scenario likely to become a reality. Making our customers feel appreciated when using these services is our top priority.
If your startup offers mobile payment or e-wallet solutions, in-store retail technologies, inventory management, customer identification and inventory management, then you are welcome to apply to our programme.
Why should our customers wait for their webshop purchase to be shipped, when instead they can pick it up on their way home? When making a purchase online, it’s a hassle to track the order and wait for it to arrive. If your company offers platform solutions, logistics or route optimization, parcel delivery and tracking apps, pre-order services or alternative distribution technologies – we encourage you to apply.
We are looking for flexible parcel delivery solutions, either based on traditional logistics methodologies or the shared economy, in order that our customers get the most out of their experience in our CEE service station network.
What kind of innovative solutions are you looking for?
We are looking for startups developing new answers to the challenges found in the fields of mobility, loyalty marketing and big data technologies, retail services and parcel delivery & distribution systems.
Are you looking for startups in Hungary only?
Our call accepts applications from any location, and the language of the programme is English. We encourage all interested startups to get in touch with us, no matter if they are based outside of Hungary. It is important to note, however, that some of the programme’s members are expected to relocate to Budapest for the duration of the programme, once selected.
What are the selection criteria?
You must have a legal entity and an existing product or service in order to be eligible to take part in our programme. Your solution has to reflect on the current challenges in the fields of mobility, big data and loyalty marketing, retail, or parcel delivery & distribution. Your product, or service, has to be scalable and have strong potential for growth.
Is it obligatory to have a registered legal entity to apply?
Yes, having a registered legal entity is necessary for applying.
Can someone approach MOL having just an innovative idea in mind?
Within the framework of this current cycle, we decided to give preference to entrepreneurs who have an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or prototype. The product or service that you offer has to be scalable and you must have a registered legal entity, as this is a prerequisite to becoming a potential MOL supplier at a later date.
How many companies will be selected for the programme?
We will select around five companies to participate in our programme.
Who will be the mentors? Will all of them come from MOL? How large is the network of mentors?
The mentors will come from the ranks of MOL Group’s management, and from the network of Design Terminal. Design Terminal has a 100-member strong mentor pool.
What is the benefit in participating in MOL’s programme?
Around five selected startups will be enrolled in our three-month programme, during which they will receive professional mentorship, workshops, networking opportunities, access to MOL’s expertise, and office space in Budapest. Beyond the structured programme, selected companies will be able to take their solutions to the next level by testing them in MOL Group’s infrastructure. After successfully completing the programme, they might have the opportunity to become suppliers of one the largest companies in Central Eastern Europe.
What is MOL’s commitment to the programme? What does it provide for participants?
MOL Group offers startups potential supplier status following the successful completion of the programme. During the programme, together with Design Terminal, we provide professional mentorship, office space, and an opportunity to grow.
What are the major milestones of your initiative?
After the application deadline, we will start assessing the startups. The top 15 will be invited for a three-day selection camp in Budapest. During these three days we will work together to get to know the members better, to learn how engaged they are and to see how they solve problems. Personal traits are very important to startups’ success. The experiences gathered will be crucial during the next assessment phase (and the programme later on). After the selection camp, we will choose around five startups and these will be invited to the three-month programme. At the end of the programme, they will have the opportunity to present their solutions to MOL’s management at a Demo Day, and potentially become a supplier of MOL Group at a later stage.
Do I have the option to get funding from MOL Group or Design Terminal?
We do not claim any ownership in the startups participating in the program, meaning there is no automatic investment by acceptance. If you need further venture capital to grow, you will be able to receive investment from venture capital funds who are in close partnership with us, in case your company meets the funds’ investment expectations and policies.
Does the programme involve any funding for expenses?
In certain justified cases, where selected startups face difficulty with, for example, relocating, we will do our best to find a solution that may involve covering some limited expenses.
How can you guarantee that you will not use the solutions offered by startups that are not selected for the programme? How does MOL Group resolve intellectual property rights? Are applying startups protected in this respect?
During the selection process, any IP-related matter will be thoroughly reviewed. Furthermore, upon application startups do not have to disclose details that could have potential IP relevance. Once selected, if your startup does not have any IP protection, as a first step it will be assigned to an IP strategist from Design Terminal’s mentor pool. Overall, cooperation between MOL and the startup is based on mutual trust.
What happens to participating startups after the programme?
After the startup has worked through the programme (consisting of tailor-made mentoring from Design Terminal and MOL colleagues, and unique piloting opportunities), it will be able to develop further, and scale up more easily and faster on its own. If the startup’s product or service is promising for any of MOL’s business units, the scale-up can potentially happen with the active support of MOL, too. For example, the startup might have the opportunity to become a MOL supplier. With the experience of this corporate partnership under its belt, the startup can work further on its growth strategy.
What will a typical day be like for participants?
The startups will have a strict routine to achieve the commonly set goals. In this respect, because the startups are at a more mature stage (in prototype or MVP) they don’t need basic workshops for everyday work. Rather, they have to focus on product development and improving their business. They have to take part in a maximum two mandatory workshops per week, and one-on-one mentoring sessions at least twice a week. Every second week they will have to participate in a social team event. Since all of the selected startups will work together in a co-working office, they will have many chances to discuss their challenges with each other, and to seek help from our mentors/incubation team. Furthermore, they can have additional one-on-one mentoring sessions if they need a specific mentor from our mentorpool to help solve a specific challenge. All-in-all, we will provide a supportive, caring and strong community to motivate the startups to pursue their game-changing innovations.
Will every startup be able to test their solution in MOL’s network?
The four or five startups that we choose to take part in our programme will be able to test their solutions in parts of MOL’s infrastructure.
Does the testing take place in Hungary only, or throughout MOL’s network?
The testing will take place predominantly in Hungary.
There are many similar initiatives out there, why is yours different?
MOL Group is one of the largest businesses in the CEE region, with a 10-million customer base. We execute one million daily retail transactions, at 2,000 selling points. We will offer parts of this infrastructure as we believe it is a valuable testing ground for innovative solutions, helping to take them to the next level.
What if I can’t commit to working on this full time?
Our preference is for people who are going to be able to set aside the time needed to maintain a strong growth trajectory. This includes attending workshops (1-2x/week), meeting with mentors, completing assignments, talking to users and using all of these activities to constantly iterate on your product. We think this is unrealistic for people who have a full time job. Be aware that if you do not complete the required assignments and do not have sufficient attendance, you can be dismissed from the program.
What if I don’t have relevant skills for what I am trying to build?
Unless you have a plan for how you are going to acquire or hire those skills, it will be difficult. When applying, don’t hide the missing skills, but highlight how you will fill these holes.
Can I enroll in the program if I don’t speak English?
At least one team member must have minimum intermediate English language skills. If you are a Hungarian team consulting with a Hungarian mentor, you don't have to use English during the meeting, only in assignments. Workshops and materials produced during the program will be in English, and we require the application form in English too.
Reasons for not considering applications
Single person company
Working on project part time
No sufficient traction
Non-scalable product / service
The complete lack of social utility