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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Second cohort of start-ups chosen for TfWLab programme

Chosen from 100 entries from across the UK, the 11 companies who will take part in the second cohort of the innovative TFWLab programme have been announced by KeolisAmey Wales and AltLabs.

The selected start-ups will now benefit from a 10-week programme, giving them the expert advice and guidance needed to develop their product further using real time data and real-life scenarios. In addition to receiving the huge amount of business guidance offered by AltLabs, they also have a tremendous opportunity to uncover, test and polish their innovative solutions to improve the passenger experience on TFW rail services and others.

The first cohort was a huge success, and the ideas this time around are equally inspiring. They include using camera sensors to provide real time passenger counting data, a cloud-based ‘travel assistant’ for organisations that need to manage people-flow and travel demand whilst delivering world-class visitor experiences, and a Mobile app aimed to improve the passenger experience by using the train’s location to deliver engaging stories about what travellers can see outside their windows.

Despite the challenges of Covid-19, KeolisAmey Wales (often referred to as TFW Rail Services) and AltLabs have committed to running the next cohort virtually, giving the companies the same dedicated experience. Following the 10 weeks of expert advice, analysis, testing and perfecting, companies will pitch their ideas and products, with KeolisAmey and Transport for Wales deciding which to develop further.

Michael Davies, insight and innovation manager at KeolisAmey Wales, said: “We’ve been so impressed with the high calibre of ideas that have been pitched to us over this stage of the programme. This has made our job of selecting the best start-ups for cohort two extremely tough.

“TfWLab allows both local, Welsh companies, and those further afield to grow, develop and accelerate their business. Importantly, it also presents the opportunity to develop and fast track any new ideas that can make a meaningful difference to passenger experience across our network.”

Lab by Transport for Wales was established in 2019 in Newport to ensure innovation was at the forefront of planning over the next 15 years. It’s a programme which Keolis has taken and adapted from its operations elsewhere and has proven to be a great success.

The first cohort successfully pitched their ideas in July, with Clever Citi, Brite Yellow and Passageway being awarded a share of £30,000 and the chance to take their ideas forward with KeolisAmey and TfW. Another two companies are continuing to develop their ideas alongside them.

Adam Forster of Alt Labs added: “We’re really excited following cohort one of the Lab by Transport for Wales accelerator programme. We’ve seen first-hand exactly what is achievable in terms of problem solving and developing solutions for Transport for Wales, and how start-ups are making the most of the opportunity that the Lab presents.

“The innovation partnership between Alt Labs who are powering the TfWL programme and Transport for Wales has shown results for cohort one, so we’re riding that excitement in to cohort two, as we’ve seen almost double the number of start-ups apply for our remote programme than we had in cohort one.”

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