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The challenge is part of a multi-year collaboration between Santander and Formula 1, which aims to be net zero carbon by 2030, and is designed to support and recognise innovative new businesses that are helping improve the sustainability of the automotive industry.
The global competition received more than 600 applications from start-ups and scale-ups from 11 countries including the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Spain, and the US.
STAXY was announced as one of three winners in the start-up category that received a share of €30,000, access to the prestigious Santander X100 network, and a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Mexico, where they met with other like-minded entrepreneurs from throughout the world and connected with 80 representatives from Formula 1 and Ferrari.
Commenting on his experience in Mexico, STAXY co-founder William Line said: “It was a great networking event to learn more about Santander X and the work they do globally, as well as different partnerships that we can form through Santander X, such as Ferrari. And the fact that we’re going to pitch to Formula 1 in December is a really cool thing. We would love to get our solution integrated into the service they offer.”
William Line (BSc Politics, Philosophy and Economics) and James Campion (BSc Economics and Politics) launched STAXY in September 2021 with James’ school friend William Hughes. STAXY initially launched as an app-based student carpool platform, which allows student car owners to post journeys that they are making and students with a common destination to join as a passenger – saving money and the planet.
Having already onboarded over 5000 student users, they have ambitions to grow the business further, and are looking to work with different communities of users, be that businesses or sports clubs to provide them with a platform for their users to travel with, through carpool or other sustainable modes of travel.
STAXY’s founders were first made aware of Santander Universities’ network of support after successfully pitching for a total of £3500 in grant funding from Santander Universities UK under the SETsquared Exeter Student Startups programme, in 2021. They have been in regular contact throughout their business journey with Santander Universities and the University of Exeter Student Start-ups team.
STAXY’s founders entered Santander X Global Challenge: Countdown to Zero due to its focus on green mobility- something they are passionate about. They were also inspired by the success of fellow Exeter alumni start-up, QWERTY Beer Box, which was a Judges’ Choice winner in the Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards last year.
After progressing through multiple written application rounds, STAXY made it down to 10 finalists which pitched online to a panel of business experts including the Head of Sustainability at Formula 1, Chief Communications Officer at Ferrari and various members of Santander. Winners were announced in Mexico City at an awards ceremony ahead of the Mexico City Grand Prix.
Juan Manuel Cendoya, Global Head of Communications, Corporate Marketing and Research at Banco Santander, said: “The collaboration between Santander and Formula 1® offers the opportunity for entrepreneurs to share their ideas focused on sustainability with one of the most innovative sports in the world. As the leading auto lender in Europe, the US and other countries, we would be delighted if some of these ideas were eventually implemented in the automotive industry in order to make it increasingly sustainable.”
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