Six early-stage startups have now completed a three-month innovation programme, run by Nitrous in conjunction with Transport for London (TfL).
Each startup - Alchera Technologies, Blubel, Faxi, NumberEight, Pedals and TravelAi - focuses on either improving passenger experiences or reducing emissions, or both, with a strong focus on data.
The six startups were involved with six sales and marketing masterclasses delivered by senior experts in their fields, and received access to investors, media, corporate decision-makers and TfL’s transport innovation team.
Targeted one-to-one market validation sessions were also held with TfL and executives from related businesses, including Brompton and AXA, to help each startup test their proposition with potential customers.
Additionally, they were given an insight into TfL’s open data platform, with several having since elected to enhance their products using the API.
The programme has included 21 market validation sessions and 20 hours of contact time with TfL resulting in eight follow-up meetings with corporate programme ambassadors and TfL. Three pilot opportunities are also currently being scoped out by three of the startup cohort.
George Johnston, CEO of Nitrous, said:
“This programme has been invaluable for each founder by helping them to get their product-market fit right - through making product tweaks and being clearer about their target markets and future opportunities. This has come from having conversations with decision makers - doing this at such an early stage is a unique focus for us, and with three pilots already in discussion, we know it’s an effective approach.
“TfL’s approach to open data and innovation is well recognised, and rightfully so. Nitrous is all about helping startups and the public sector to work better together, through data, connections and knowledge. To be able to help this leading organisation to innovate effectively within its existing structures is tremendously exciting.”
Reducing pollution and improving usability
The programme culminated with a Showcase Evening at City Hall on Thursday 22 June, with presentations from the startups, Val Shawcross CBE and Vernon Everitt, Managing Director for Customers, Communication and Technology at TfL.
It took place days after the launch of the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy, which outlines an ambitious plan to make streets healthy through lowering emissions, and getting more Londoners walking and cycling. It also sets out proposals to improve passenger experiences on London’s public transport networks.
Val Shawcross CBE, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said:
“With more than 40 per cent of Londoners using apps and websites to plan their journeys, these start-ups can make a real difference in helping Londoners choose to use public transport, walk and cycle. It’s exactly the type of innovative work that we want to see as part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to deliver a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city.”
Michael Hurwitz, Director of Transport Innovation at Transport for London, said:
“The public sector has a strong track record of working with the private sector to drive innovation. In this new age of startups and tech-hubs, it’s great that we have been able to support these exciting new products with our expertise and open-data. We look forward to seeing their progress within the wider industry in the next few years.”
Over the coming months, Nitrous will continue discussions with each startup to track growth and value added by the programme.
Notes to editors
Nitrous inspires and initiates effective collaboration between startups and the public sector. Founded upon a deep understanding of the unique issues facing both, it enables the creators of powerful, young technologies to accelerate their engagement with the public sector.
Real time data for safer, cleaner, less congested cities. Alchera is a computer vision and machine learning platform that powers smart cities, intelligent infrastructure and transport systems across the UK, EU and worldwide.
Blubel is the cycling navigator powered by community wisdom. Satnav in a bicycle bell; it navigates every turn and learns from the cycling community to find the safest routes.
Faxi is a unique smartphone app and technology platform which enables organisations to encourage employee ridesharing through incentivised priority parking.
NumberEight is developing artificial intelligence software to contextualise the next generation of IoT and mobile devices. Its software senses, learns and adapts to the world around us by harnessing sensors present in devices to intelligently tailor and personalise user experiences. It is currently focused on applying this technology to the smart mobility and transportation sectors.
Pedals provides quick, on demand deliveries by bicycle commuters, transporting products with care and precision. It emphasises personal interactions, a human-to-human service and the value of hand-delivered packages with zero emissions.
TravelAi crowdsources and analyses travel behaviour data to provide actionable insights for transport professionals, and tools to help improve customer experiences. Its smartphone software automatically detects routes and modes of transport without any user input, before applying machine learning and modelling techniques to build transport analytics across everything from foot through to flight, across the UK and beyond.