Pop-up coach route firm wins £352,000 backing

first_imgJaguar Land Rover (JLR), former Addison Lee CEO Liam Griffin and other ‘angel investors’ are making a $450,000 (£352,000) pre-seed investment in ‘pop-up’ coach firm Zeelo.Zeelo has big ambitions: “We’re going to be the people to run the first autonomous coach trip in the UK.”The London-based start-up runs coaches on-demand, mainly to sporting and music events, with a large database of coach operators which it hires. It was founded by Barney Williams and Sam Ryan, who sold their start-up ‘JumpIn’, a taxi booking and sharing app for students, to Addison Lee in 2014 while at university.Big Plans: Zeelo founders Sam Ryan and Barney WilliamsJLR’s investment comes through its InMotion Ventures mobility programme, which has invested in start-ups such as Lyft and GoKid.Zeelo uses ‘big data’ and ‘machine learning’ to understand where surges in travel demand are appearing and creates pop-up coach routes. Its algorithm analyses and learns from multiple data sources allowing it to generate routes that are poorly served by public transport.“Zeelo was born out of our frustration of scheduled transport not catering well for surges in demand,” says Mr Williams. “We aim to understand what people actually need, rather than forcing them into certain types of transport.”In a series of trials since February, Zeelo has carried 3,000 people, as well as piloting a joint initiative with a Premier League football club.The investment will begin Zeelo’s roll-out across the UK, with an initial focus on event travel. It says the inter-urban transport market is worth £42bn a year.In a series of trials since February, Zeelo has carried 3,000 people“Competitors, including Megabus and National Express, run scheduled services meaning they don’t cater well for large surges in demand,” says Mr Williams. “This leads to multiple stops, changes en route, and a poorer customers experience.”Zeelo will roll out across the UK in 2017 and early 2018, with plans to roll out into Europe in late 2018.last_img

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