Back in March 2016, we launched the HackTrain accelerator that brought 10 incredibly innovative startups to the rail industry. It was a promising programme that attracted five out of the six Train Operating Companies (TOCs) to invest in.
A year later, each startup scaled and succeeded to deploy their technology in an extremely fast-paced environment. Unfortunately, not specifically in the rail industry. Not a single one of them considered rail to be a viable major market opportunity for growth. Though three of the companies won contracts with TOCs and have deployed their technology in live environments, they are still focusing their efforts on other industries such as aviation, roads and even construction.
Working in the rail sector is a place where you will commonly experience 18-month procurement cycles, and startups simply don’t have the money to survive for so long. At the end of the day, the startups will go where there is most market opportunity and demand to drive their growth.
If existing startups struggle to enter the rail industry, let’s not even mention young bright innovators that wish to transition their winning prototypes into a fully-fledged solution deployed in the market after attending our hackathons.
Our hackathon participants would be able to receive quick bursts of small amounts of money to help them carry their idea forward. Read more about hackathons here.
Early stage startups whose technology have a massive impact in rail would have access to the fund run and managed by technology professionals and venture capitalists with experience in high-growth company investments. Working hand in hand with TOCs, ROSCOs, OEMs, and the supply chain we can assure the correct investment in the right startups.