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Innovation programme supports transport start-ups

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Six early stage transport start-ups have now completed a three month innovation programme run by start-up incubator Nitrous in conjunction with Transport for London.

Companies involved in the programme were Alchera Technologies, Blubel, Faxi, NumberEight, Pedals and TravelAi. Each is focused on improving passenger experiences or reducing emissions, or both, with a strong focus on data.

The programme saw them involved in a number of sales and marketing masterclasses, delivered by senior experts, and they also received access to investors, media, corporate decision makers and TfL’s transport innovation team.

Targeted market validation sessions were also held with TfL and executives from related businesses, including Brompton and AXA, to help each start-up test their proposition with potential customers.

Additionally they were given an insight into TfL’s open data platform, with several having since chosen to enhance their products using the API. Nitrous CEO George Johnston said: “This programme has been invaluable for each founder by helping them to get their product-market fit right.”

Pilot opportunities are also currently being scoped out by three of the companies – Alchera, Blubel and Pedals.

London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross said: “With more than 40% 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.”

TfL’s director of transport innovation Michael Hurwitz added: “In this new age of start-ups 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.”

Alchera is a computer vision and machine learning platform using real time data to reduce congestion and improve safety. Blubel is a cycling navigator, using a satnav in the bicycle’s bell, which learns the safest routes from the wider cycling community.

Faxi is a smartphone app and technology platform which helps organisations to encourage employee ridesharing through incentivised priority parking. NumberEight is developing artificial intelligence software that harnesses data from the Internet of Things to deliver personalised smart mobility.

Pedals aims to provide quick, on demand deliveries by bicycle commuters to reduce emissions. TravelAi crowdsources and analyses travel behaviour data to provide insights for transport professionals and tools to help improve customer experiences.

Photo: Davide D’Amico / Creative Commons