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Wales ready to showcase second cohort of tech innovators

Lab at Transport for Wales

Wales’ leading rail-dedicated innovation programme is about to see its second batch of ambitious and creative candidates pitch their ideas.

The 12-week accelerator programme looks to stimulate growth in Wales, offering an exciting opportunity for business innovators to develop their ideas which look to enhance the railway experience for customers.

The pioneering scheme’s second cohort have been working closely with TfW over the course of the 12-week programme. The 11 start-ups – some of the brightest tech talent from across Wales and the UK – have received dedicated mentoring from business experts to develop their products, ideas and innovations.

The start-ups are now gearing up to pitch their products to leading Transport for Wales decision-makers during a virtual demo day on Friday 13 November (13:30-16:00). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, cohort 2 of the programme has unfortunately not been held at TfW’s new state-of-the-art lab facility in Newport.

The winners will be awarded funds to develop their products further.

Anyone interested in watching the demo day can register their attendance via Eventbrite.

During the demo, each start-up will share a video presentation to pitch their final product. Attendees will then be able to ask questions and network with each start-up in break out rooms (via Microsoft Teams).

Some of the innovative ideas being developed include revolutionary wearable technology for staff to help reduce manual handling injuries, a ‘travel assistant’ service that will provide customers with a personalised rail-optimised journey plan, and real-time passenger counting and seat occupation detection to help customers make more informed decisions around how they travel.

The demo day will look to inspire innovation within businesses, offering an insight into some of the cutting-edge developments coming to the Wales and Borders rail network.

Barry Lloyd, Head of Customer Experience and Innovation at Transport for Wales Rail said:

“I’m really excited for the upcoming second Demo Day so that the fantastic start-ups we’ve had in cohort 2 can showcase the exciting work they’ve been doing over the last 12 weeks.

“It’s not quite been the experience we wanted to deliver due COVID-19 restrictions, but this certainly hasn’t dented the enthusiasm and engagement that we’ve seen from all involved. in fact, it’s brought a whole new dynamic to the programme.

“It’s been great working with the cohort and seeing the ideas flourish into products and services that will meet our business needs, both now and in the future”.

Adam Foster, Head of Marketing at Alt Labs also added:

“We’re really looking forward to cohort 2 demo day, not only to see the exciting projects that our start-ups have been working on but also the challenges they have overcame caused by COVID and remote working.”

“Despite these hurdles, every start-up has done a fantastic job of participating in workshops, engaging with stakeholders and getting their heads down to develop solutions that will improve rail services across Wales and borders.”

“Our cohort 1 virtual demo day proved to be a great success, and we’re building on that success for cohort 2 by incorporating additional networking facilities to allow attendees the opportunity to engage with start-ups directly after their pitch.”

“I’d also like to say a big thank you to everyone from Transport for Wales who have made themselves available to collaborate with the start-ups.”

Cohort 1 of the programme proved to be extremely successful, with Transport for Wales Rail advancing with three businesses chosen as the winners.

Brite Yellow Ltd, Passage Way and CleverCiti were each awarded funds to develop their products further, ranging from wayfinding apps to parking solutions for customers.