Tech City Ventures


Nitrous partners with Transport for London to launch 'first of its kind' government innovation programme

Open initiative is designed to reduce congestion, encourage public transport use and promote walking and cycling across the capital.

Six fast-growing UK and international startups, alongside transport industry experts, are participating in a new innovation programme to help keep London moving.

The three-month programme is the first time Nitrous has worked with Transport for London (TfL), a strategic transport authority, to manage and deliver such an initiative.

Following several hundred applications and a three-month process, including a final selection by a range of experts at TfL, each successful startup will now be working to reduce congestion on the public transport network and/or across London’s roads, and lowering levels of pollution.  

By providing access to unique open data from government and industry, the programme is designed to help startups better support public sector innovation without the need for additional investment. The programme will provide the startups with a range of masterclasses, one-to-one sessions and networking opportunities. These will provide business-critical market validation and procurement knowledge to help ensure successful future collaborations in the short and long term.

A significant network of senior public sector and industry ambassadors – including C-level executives from Vodafone, Aston Martin and IBM – will gain first-hand access to new technologies, while sharing their expertise to supercharge the young companies.  

The startups involved are Alchera Technologies, Blubel, Faxi, NumberEight, Pedals and TravelAi.

 George Johnston, CEO of Tech City Ventures, said:

“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.

“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.” 

Stuart Reid, Director of Travel Demand Management at Transport for London, said:

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


Notes to editors

About Nitrous

Nitrous is a programme developed by Tech City Ventures that inspires and initiates effective collaboration between startups and local government. Founded upon a deep understanding of the unique issues facing both startups and local government, it enables the creators of powerful, young technologies to accelerate their engagement with the public sector.

About Tech City Ventures

Tech City Ventures is a network of companies with a shared vision to accelerate sustainable innovation. Operating across different points in the startup lifecycle from idea to exit, world-class entrepreneurs are taken on a journey to set them up for long-term success.

 The startups

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 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 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 provides quick, on demand deliveries by bicycle commuters, 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 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.