Novacroft sponsors the HackTrain Accelerator Programme

Proud to be at the forefront of innovation, Novacroft has joined forces with major transport operating companies and other influential partners in the rail industry to sponsor a three month accelerator programme designed to make lives easier for those using public transport and enable technology startups to introduce their groundbreaking products to the markets.

What is HackTrain?

The HackTrain is a movement driving forward innovation within the railways via hackathons, accelerators and other consultancy services. It is backed by UK government ministers, the Department for Transport and Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

The HackTrain is working with five major transport owning groups including First, Arriva Group, Govia, National Express, Stagecoach and Virgin Trains to deliver a 3-month programme known as the HackTrain Accelerator, designed to improve customer experience and operational efficiency of the UK’s rail industry.

The programme brings together 10 early stage technology companies, helping and supporting them in introducing their products and services into the hands of customers and railway staff. It is supported by leading rail service providers including BAE Systems, EY, Novacroft and Osborne Clarke.

As well as financially backing the programme, each supporting organisation provides mentors to the teams on a weekly basis to help them deliver trials and real innovation to the railways. Novacroft is offering its unique expertise as technology innovators, extensive transport experience and contacts within the rail industry to mentor the startups on product development, financial planning, marketing communications and how rail companies operate.

This week, HackTrain has announced teams for world’s first RailTech accelerator programme.

The teams joining the world’s first accelerator programme, designed to drive innovation in the UK’s railway industry, comprise some of the world’s most exciting start-ups, and are:

  • Sirenum (streamlining the management of part-time, temporary, mobile, and remote staff)
  • iGeolise (the creators of the TravelTime platform, an API that makes location data searchable by travel time than distance)
  • Powermat (equipping venues with a wireless charging infrastructure)
  • ParkJockey (virtual parking products)
  • Nimber (a community delivery service)
  • Pointr (an indoor location data and analytics platform)
  • Vivacity Labs (smart cameras quantify and classify pedestrians )
  • Ticket (access to innovative features (delay, repay, real-time delays) via scanning a paper rail ticket with a smartphone)
  • Dojo (a mobile publication helping young people find the most interesting and unique things to do in their city)
  • Dispatch Messenger Ltd (an app that lets you shop by chat)

The three-month HackTrain Accelerator programme, which is 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 the successful 48 hour HackTrain Hackathon that took place in late 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 (27) and Alejandro Saucedo (23), the Accelerator brings together an ecosystem of software developers, designers and industry experts to officially drive forward the UK’s ‘RailTech’ movement. The Accelerator runs until June 3rd.

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 ways 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 translate into real results by providing funding, industry contacts and a more shorter and efficient procurement cycle so that passengers can benefit from these new solutions faster.

River added:

We are continuing on the momentum we’ve created with last year’s HackTrain hackathon with the launch of the HackTrain Accelerator programme that nurtures early stage RailTech technology companies help them to develop, trial and introduce their products and services.

Debra Charles, CEO and Founder 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. We want to make the use of public transport more attractive, and make it easier to use. 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.