Start-up businesses with innovative solutions to transport challenges such as congestion, overcrowding, emissions and road safety, are being encouraged to apply for a unique new accelerator programme in Milton Keynes.
The ‘Intelligent Mobility (IM) Accelerator’ is designed to attract disruptive start-ups with high-growth potential into the UK transport industry, while helping them grow into world-leading companies.
The programme focuses on Intelligent Mobility, including areas such as Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, Connected Infrastructure, Customer Experience and Transport Data and Analysis. Its goal is to develop companies who will create solutions for the most pressing transport problems facing the world today, improving day-to-day life for millions of travellers while creating new UK-based industry leaders in a £900bn global transport systems market.
The new programme is a partnership between Transport Systems Catapult and Wayra UK, the world-leading start-up accelerator that is part of Telefónica Open Future_. Since 2012, Wayra UK has supported more than 160 British and Irish start-ups in other industries, helping them raise approximately $150m in third-party funding. Transport Systems Catapult is the UK’s innovation centre for ‘Intelligent Mobility’ and the organisation behind the UK’s first public trial of an autonomous vehicle.
Businesses accepted to the programme will receive a six-month support programme, providing office space, mentoring and networking. The successful start-ups will also get access to Wayra UK’s and the TSCs networks of investors, government agencies, customers, large corporates and universities, as well as opportunities to work with the TSC’s world-leading Data, Visualisation, Customer Experience and Connected and Autonomous Vehicle capability teams. The TSC and Wayra UK will also hope to continue to support the best of these start-ups beyond their time at the IM Accelerator.
The programme has also attracted the sponsorship of global technology consultancy ThoughtWorks and national railway infrastructure operator Network Rail, who will both provide support to start-ups at the Accelerator, including mentoring, coaching, and access to their high-level expertise and networks.
Transport Systems Catapult CEO Paul Campion said: “Transport is currently going through a revolutionary period driven by digital, connected and autonomous technology. Up until now British entrepreneurs wanting to exploit these opportunities have needed to go it alone. We must support new UK businesses now, so we can take a lead on the world stage and create high-quality jobs and growth for our economy.
“The IM Accelerator will support and de-risk start-up and early growth companies as they create breakthroughs in transport technology. There are no other accelerators in the UK which cover the full range of potential Intelligent Mobility solutions, and we hope to give these businesses a doorway into this £900bn global market.”
Gary Stewart, Director of Wayra UK, said: “Transport is an area where data-driven tech solutions are already making a huge difference to the lives of billions – from the development of the Oyster card to the creation of journey helpers like Citymapper.
“Through this innovative programme, we hope to support the development of the next generation of transport systems breakthroughs and contribute further to making the UK the best place in the world to scale a transport start-up.”
About Transport Systems Catapult
The Transport Systems Catapult is the UK’s technology and innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility, harnessing emerging technologies to improve the movement of people and goods around the world. We are here to support business growth, increase the UK’s share of the global Intelligent Mobility market, and attract investment – creating jobs and generating long-term economic growth.
We will help sell UK capability on the global stage, while also promoting the UK as a superb test bed for the transportation industry. With a clear emphasis on collaboration, we are bringing together diverse organisations across different modes of transport, breaking down barriers and providing a unique platform for meeting the world’s most pressing transport challenges.
The Transport Systems Catapult is one of an elite network of not-for-profit technology and innovation centres established and overseen by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.
Wayra UK is part of Telefónica Open Future_, the open innovation programme that integrates the different initiatives of the whole Telefónica Group related to entrepreneurship and innovation.
Wayra UK gives direct funding, acceleration and pre-acceleration services (such as co-working space, connectivity services, mentoring, access to Wayra UK’s network and knowhow, training in entrepreneurship and business skills) to selected start-ups. Since its launch in 2012, Wayra UK start-ups have raised approximately $150m in third-party investment.
Wayra UK has partnered with some of the world’s leading organisations to invest in a number of verticals that help generate growth, create positive societal impact and fuel innovation across a number of industries. These include Velocity Health with Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited (MSD), a global healthcare company transforming healthcare; ASOS – one of the world’s leading fashion destinations for 20-somethings – which is developing technology that can make the ASOS experience even better for its 11 million customers around the world; and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), through the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator.
Wayra UK also works alongside local and regional partners to reinvigorate entrepreneurial ecosystems, energise local economies and democratise entrepreneurship. Start-ups in the Greater Manchester area have the opportunity of joining Open Future_ North, powered by Wayra UK, which is a new digital enterprise hub and pre-acceleration programme supported by the Oldham Council. In Birmingham, start-ups have access to a 2,500 square foot space within Open Future_ Midlands, powered by Wayra UK, at the Serendip® Smart City Incubator.
Telefónica Open Future_
Telefónica Open Future_ is Telefónica´s global platform designed to connect the company to entrepreneurs, start-ups, investors and public and private partners around the world to capture innovation and business opportunities. Its goal is to support talent at all stages of growth through a comprehensive model for acceleration that is designed to connect talent with organisations, investors and companies.
The programme incorporates all of Telefónica Group’s open innovation, entrepreneurship and investment initiatives (Think Big, Talentum, Crowdworking, Wayra, Amérigo and Telefónica Ventures) through a global network that is open to participation by external partners that wish to develop their own entrepreneurial and investment strategies, and connect to large corporates.
To date, more than 51,000 proposals have been analysed, over 1,600 start-ups have been accelerated, and over 700 invested in. Telefónica Open Future_ is present in 17 countries and has committed to investment, with its partners, a total of 445 million euros.
ThoughtWorks is a leading global technology consultancy with over 4000 people working across 40 offices in 16 countries. We are a collection of passionate people who care about technology. At our heart, we are a custom software company and a community of designers, strategists and industry experts who solve complex problems.