Meet the six tech startups working with Transport for London to make the capital a smart city in Nitrous accelerator's first cohort

Lynsey Barber
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Six star startups have been chosen to delve into Transport for London's troves of data to help transform the capital into a so-called smart city.

Entrepreneurs working to reduce congestion on the trains, buses and roads of London as well as pollution will join the first Nitrous accelerator, designed to connect up-and-coming tech companies with government agencies and starting with the capital's transport operator.

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The startups include Alchera Technologies, NumberEight and Travel AI, which all use machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyse travel data as people move through the city.

Satnav for bikes startup Blubel, employee car-sharing app Faxi and on-demand bike delivery firm Pedals are also joining the three month programme after being selected from around 300 applicants by experts at TfL.

“There’s no shortage of fantastic ideas in the UK, but achieving commercialisation in the public sector is arguably the biggest challenge for startups - with society ultimately losing out. With Nitrous, we’re uniquely positioned to match market-leading innovation with some of the biggest challenges of today, all whilst ensuring the best return for government," said George Johnston, chief executive of Tech City Ventures, the firm behind the accelerator.

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“Tackling mobility is critical to London’s growth and something we all experience first-hand whilst navigating the capital. It’s an exciting place to begin in the smart city model and we’re excited to be working with the world’s leading transport authority to make an impact.”

Executives from Vodafone, Aston Martin and IBM and other from industry and the public sector will also be involved in guiding the startups.

“As London grows and changes, we are continually looking for new ways to help our customers and extract better value from our open-data feed," said TfL's director of travel demand management, Stuart Reid.

"I look forward to seeing the innovation and ideas that these startups generate and develop throughout this exciting initiative.”

Startup What does it do?
Alchera Technologies

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 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 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 Pedals provides quick, on demand deliveries by bicycle, 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 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.

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