RailTech industry ignited by HackTrain Accelerator programme
21 April 2016 • Author: Mandy Parrett, European Railway Review
HackTrain have announced a list of ten teams that will take part in their ‘Accelerator‘ programme. Comprising some of the world’s most exciting start-ups and established businesses, the programme is designed to drive innovation in the UK’s railway industry.
The three-month HackTrain Accelerator programme, based in the heart of London’s Tech City, marks the first time train operating companies have come together to solve some of the industry’s biggest challenges. It follows on the heels of the successful 48 hour HackTrain Hackathon in 2015, which brought together 120 software developers, designers and entrepreneurs to create new solutions for some of the industry’s most persistent problems.
Led by two young ‘hackathon’ and technology experts, River Tamoor Baig and Alejandro Saucedo, the Accelerator unites a team of software developers, designers and industry experts to officially drive the UK’s ‘RailTech’ movement forward. Teams taking part range from ‘Nimber’ – a community delivery service where you can deliver goods via parties already taking that particular journey – to ‘Sirenum’ that aims to streamline the management of part-time, temporary, mobile, and remote staff.
Smartcard technology company, Novacroft, is supporting the initiative by providing mentoring to the teams on a weekly basis to help them deliver trials and real innovation to the railways. Also offering financial backing and mentoring are Virgin Trains and BAE Systems, amongst many other transport companies and leading service providers.
The Accelerator – which runs until 3rd June – comprises established businesses such as PowerMat and Pointr, as well as smaller start-ups such as iGeolise.
Debra Charles, founder and CEO of Novacroft, said: “Public transport is the backbone of this country’s economic growth and innovation is essential in ensuring that it continues to be. The HackTrain Accelerator programme perfectly encapsulates the essence of innovation in rail and is an obvious partner for Novacroft. We look forward to bringing our industry expertise, technological know-how and passion for innovation to the programme so that we can really make a meaningful difference to society by making life easier for all.”
The founding vision
Co-founder of HackTrain, River Tamoor-Baig, commented: “Much like everyone who travels by train regularly, we want customer service and operational efficiency to improve. It is something that we are incredibly passionate about and why we are so driven and motivated to play our part in making the UK the world’s hub for RailTech. There are so many start-ups with amazing (means) to make our railways more innovative, whether it be through indoor navigation; speeding up the reclaim process for delay repay; or bridging communication gaps between train companies and passengers. We want to make sure their efforts and enthusiasm translates into real results by providing funding, industry contacts and a shorter, more efficient procurement cycle so that passengers can benefit from these new solutions faster.