In 2017, Nitrous and Transport for London forged a partnership to develop a cohort of exciting and innovative mobility startups that could help solve urban challenges. The result was a three-month programme with SMEs that could help to reduce congestion, encourage public transport use and promote walking and cycling across the capital.
After hundreds of applications from innovators globally, TfL settled on 6 organisations who could help reduce congestion on the public transport network and/or across London’s roads, and lower levels of pollution. Over the course of three months, the startups gained access to masterclasses, networking sessions, market validation and one-on-one sessions that would help forge collaborations in the long term.
The programme included:
- Six sales and marketing masterclasses by experts in their fields and access to investors, media, corporate decision-makers and TfL’s transport innovation team.
- One-to-one market validation sessions held with TfL and executives and related businesses, including Brompton and AXA, helping to test their proposition with potential customers.
- Access to TfL’s open data platform
- 21 market validation sessions and 20 hours of contact time with TfL. This resulted 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.
Just days after the launch of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, we took over the top floor of London’s City Hall where, in addition to sweeping views of the capital on a balmy evening, guests were treated to an evening of presentations and networking.
The event on Thursday 22 June consisted of pitches from the startups, with addresses from Val Shawcross CBE and Vernon Everitt.
“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.”
George Johnston, Founder and CEO of Nitrous
“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.”
Val Shawcross CBE, Deputy Mayor for Transport
“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.
Michael Hurwitz, Director of Transport Innovation at Transport for London.