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Travis Perkins BreakThru is your chance to collaborate via an 11-week accelerator programme with the UK’s largest supplier of building materials, covering 22 businesses with over 2000 branches and stores across the UK

Applications Are Now Closed


Travis Perkins BreakThru is your chance to collaborate via an 11-week accelerator programme with the UK’s largest supplier of building materials, covering 22 businesses with over 2000 branches and stores across the UK.

Over the course of the programme, each successful startup will be given the chance to validate their product or solution and receive internal support and mentorship from Travis Perkins and L Marks.

Travis Perkins are looking for startups that can help improve the services they offer their customers, while also challenging them internally.

Successful teams who are selected for the programme will also have the opportunity to pitch for investment from Travis Perkins and L Marks in exchange for equity.


Travis Perkins have selected three startups to join the BreakThru programme. These finalists are now spending 11 weeks working with the Travis Perkins leadership on a range of use cases. Read on below to find out more about each selected startup.


SpecifiedBy provides an online marketplace for construction products and materials, which streamlines the search, comparison and pricing process, helping architects & specifiers to make fast, efficient and better informed specification decisions.

Soter Analytics

Soter Analytics have developed wearable sensors and AI to help industrial workers and their organizations avoid injuries in the workplace. The first application of their AI is the SoterSpine, which coaches workers to reduce hazardous movements that result in musculoskeletal injuries by up to 70%. The solution was designed with the worker as the primary focus and have received positive ratings from 96% of users.  


CarTap is on a mission to make last mile delivery more convenient and less polluting – by delivering goods/services direct to vehicles.  By removing the need for customers to be at home during a delivery, they enable more efficient dark-hour deliveries and reduce peak traffic.  CarTap have received support from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, and they use software, hardware and the cloud to offer a seamless and secure solution.


Keeping People Safe

Keeping People Safe

Keeping our customers and colleagues safe is crucial at Travis Perkins. We are looking to improve health and safety throughout our businesses, while also looking at other areas that could improve the general health and wellbeing of our customers and colleagues. Startups that can help our colleagues better visualise best practice and prevention would be of particular interest!

Connected Home, Work and Fleet

Connected Home, Work and Fleet

We’re looking for IoT solutions that can help us improve the connectivity of our customers homes through linking different domestic appliances together. We also want to hear from startups that can help collect our data internally and improve the management and efficiency of our fleet and workplace. In turn, we hope that IoT data collection in these areas will improve our predictive maintenance  tools (i.e. appliance or fleet repairs), and simultaneously deliver an excellent service to our customers.

Sharing and Managing Knowledge

Sharing and Managing Knowledge

Travis Perkins has a vast amount of knowledge and experience throughout its 22 businesses. We want to find solutions that can help utilise and distribute this expertise effectively around our network. Through our colleagues having streamlined access to things such as product knowledge and best practice, we hope to provide a better customer service with more consistency throughout our branches!

Digitising our Customer Journey

Digitising our Customer Journey

We’re looking for new ways to engage with our customers. By joining up the customer experience digitally through online technologies and processes, we hope to create a seamless, frictionless experience. How can we connect our customers with all our services through a slick online interface? What ways can startups improve our customer journey with new delivery options, or visual mockups of the products and services we offer? We’d love to hear from startups innovating at any or all points of the customer journey.



We are looking for innovative startups who can provide solutions to problems that we haven’t even thought of yet! We’re particularly interested to hear about solutions in B2B credit management, voice recognition technology, vehicle tracking technology, waste disposal management for bulky or risky products and final mile logistics.



Mentorship from the senior leadership at Travis Perkins

Product Validation

Product validation and testing opportunities with Travis Perkins, a FTSE 250 company


Access to Travis Perkins scale and network, covering 22 businesses with over 2000 branches and stores across the UK



Investment from L Marks and Travis Perkins

Access to external mentors

Access to external mentors

Free Hot Desking

Free hot desking space at key Travis Perkins locations


Cheryl Millington

Cheryl Millington

Chief Digital Officer

Cheryl joined the business in 2016 as Chief Digital Officer responsible for working with the businesses on customer experience through digital channels focussed on integrating digital into branch and store operations.

Prior to joining the Group, Cheryl was previously IT Director at Waitrose and before that CIO at Asda. Cheryl has also held managing director roles at HBOS and the electricity and gas retailer, npower.

 Norman Bell

Norman Bell

Group Strategy Director

Norman joined Travis Perkins plc in 2005 following 11 years in Retail and Distribution and Management Consulting with Somerfield, Wickes and Booker Group plc.

Norman was previously the Group IT Director providing leadership for Group IT, Marketing and Research teams, before moving into his current role of Group Strategy Director in 2016. Norman has managed several key initiatives such as the integration of BSS Group and established the Sustainable Building Solutions business.

 Tony Buffin

Tony Buffin

Chief Operating Officer

Tony was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2017.

With operational and commercial responsibility for the Plumbing and Heating division, Tony also leads the development of our Toolstation business and is a member of the Executive Committee and PLC Board.

Tony joined Travis Perkins plc in April 2013 as Chief Financial Officer and was previously CFO of Coles (part of the Wesfarmers Group) in Australia. Prior to this Tony held senior financial roles at Loyalty Management Group (Nectar), Boots, Mothercare and Ernst and Young.

Paul Tallentire

Paul Tallentire

CEO General Merchanting Division

Paul was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the General Merchanting Division in 2017.

Paul joined the Travis Perkins plc in 2011 as Divisional CEO of the Plumbing and Heating Division, overseeing our PTS, City Plumbing Supplies, DHS, Birchwood Price Tools and our F&P businesses.

Prior to joining the Group, Paul worked at Premier Farnell in numerous senior positions including Managing Director IPD Europe, Commercial Director Western Europe and President for Europe and was Deputy Chief Executive at Northgate plc.

Frank Elkins

Frank Elkins

Divisional Chief Executive Officer, Contract Merchanting Division

Frank joined the Group in 2003 as Commercial Director in BSS Industrial before becoming Managing Director for BSS Industrial in 2005. Frank became Divisional CEO of the newly created Contract Merchanting Division in 2013. Frank is responsible for the leadership and strategy development of our Keyline, BSS Group and CCF businesses.

Frank has also held a number of Directorship positions at Hagemeyer UK, formerly Newey and Eyre in Sales, Service and Operations.

Carol Kavanagh

Carol Kavanagh

Group Human Resources Director

Prior to joining Travis Perkins plc Carol worked at both Argos and Storehouse (now Mothercare plc) as Group HR Director. Carol also held roles at Ladbrokes plc and Safeway (Morrisons).



Collaboration is central to Break Thru, and we believe alignment is central to successful collaboration.

Zero equity is taken in exchange for joining Break Thru. However, where we see a business opportunity together, and we want to work with you over the longer-term, we may offer a financial investment in exchange for a small share of your company.

Travis Perkins and L Marks would like to invest in the startups invited to participate in BreakThru.  Prior to joining the programme, investment terms will be agreed in return for a mutually-agreed equity level. We do not take a minimum level of equity as Break Thru is open to teams at all stages of business.

We welcome discussions concerning investment throughout the 11 weeks, however final decisions about funding are made following Demo Day.

If you have other questions about investment, take a look at our FAQs or Get in Touch.


Travis Perkins

We’re a group of some of the building industry’s most popular brands and our businesses span the trade, home improvement and DIY markets. Our Head Office is located in Northampton but our business is far reaching. We have over 2,000 branches and stores across the UK, each of whom are proud members of their local communities. Even though there are 20+ businesses under our Group umbrella and we now have over 28,000 colleagues working with us, all of our businesses have something in common- they all sell and distribute building materials in many different forms.

 At Travis Perkins plc being a family is core to our being. Everyone works together, everyone looks out for each other and everyone is expected to step up and play their part. For us, it’s a way of working and treating people that makes us who we are. Our work is underpinned by our 5 Cornerstones: Upholding Family Values, Keeping people safe, Making decent returns, Working for our customers, Being the best. As such, we are looking for startups that can understand and fit in with this culture over the course of the programme.

L Marks

L Marks is a corporate innovation specialist and early stage investor. They build bridges between large corporates seeking to innovate more quickly with young companies with disruptive technologies, products and services. Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Stuart Marks, they run bespoke startup partnership programmes across industry sectors, supporting rapid innovation and connecting them with the best startups. They work with their clients to identify where they believe the challenges are in their businesses and then turn these into opportunities for improvement and innovation. Each programme is tailored to deliver real solutions to the corporate partners as well as creating real opportunities for startups to test and grow their product with a major partner 

“We are very excited to launch our first accelerator programme at Travis Perkins. Our goal is to provide a seamless customer experience through harnessing the latest innovations and ideas brought by startups.  We hope the startups who join us can challenge us internally, while we also hope to provide them with the expertise and support to take their product or solution to the next level.”

John Carter

Chief Executive, Travis Perkins plc

“The opportunity to partner with the UK’s largest supplier of building materials is a unique and exciting challenge. This is a sector that has huge potential for innovation and together with Travis Perkins we want to find solutions that can provide an even better service for customers. The scale of Travis Perkins and its businesses also gives startups the ideal platform to validate their product or service.”

Stuart Marks

Chairman , L Marks


Travis Perkins
Tile Giant
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F and P
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