Connected Places Catapult partners with Mastercard’s City Possible Network to drive Urban Transformation

Mastercard and Connected Places Catapult today jointly announced at the World Urban Forum that they have signed an MOU to join Mastercard City Possible network.

City Possible, pioneered by Mastercard, is a partnership and co-creation initiative that brings cities, companies, and communities together to identify common challenges and co-develop solutions that advance inclusive and sustainable urban development.

Connected Places Catapult is the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and places. The Catapult provides impartial ‘innovation as a service’ for mobility and built environment businesses, infrastructure providers and public institutions to catalyse step-change improvements in the way people live, work and travel.

The MoU lays the foundations for the partnership to accelerate the adoption of innovative solutions in cities worldwide, using a people centred approach that will leverage synergies between Mastercard’s City Possible platform and the Catapult’s expertise, ecosystem, and past successes. To design and deliver such solutions, the partnership will explore, identify, and design opportunities to connect cities and public sector entities through engaging the global urban innovation ecosystem and opening new markets.

The two organisations recently met in Johannesburg and Cape Town to meet the cities, attend African Tech Week.  Through workshop with key stakeholders in the region, they are looking at the opportunity that accelerating the way we use data to tackle city challenges with a community of innovators.

Further announcements will follow on upcoming projects and opportunities.

“The signing of the memorandum between Connected Places Catapult and Mastercard aligns with the Catapult’s efforts to partner with world leading global organisation to create real impact of cities by implementing innovative solution to current and future challenges they may face. We are excited by the partnership and look forward to working with City Possible to ensure we can create scalable, impactful change to the challenges our cities and places are facing.”
Guilherme Johnston, Head of Global Partnerships, Connected Places Catapult

Milton Keynes Council selects 10 SMEs for innovation programme to support green recovery and local resilience

Ten innovative SMEs have been selected for the new Milton Keynes Accelerator; a six-month programme sponsored by Milton Keynes Council and powered by Connected Places Catapult. The programme is designed to tackle local and regional challenges, sourcing and selecting a cohort of disruptive SMEs to test and scale new technologies, whilst developing new opportunities for Milton Keynes and surrounding areas and positively impacting the local economy. 

The SMEs will receive support tailored to their requirements. This will include advice and guidance on investment readiness, technology and product development, alongside introductions to local stakeholders and potential customers. The aim is to accelerate time to market through technology trials which will utilise Milton Keynes’ state of the art 5G testbed, as well as roads and other public spaces which the Council will also consider making available to the SMEs.  

Activities will be delivered by a consortium of industry and delivery partners led by Connected Places Catapult. The consortium includes delivery partner True Altitude and industry partners Amey, Centre MK, Socius Group and Elisa among others.  

The SMEs selected for the programme will support Milton Keynes’ ambitious commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030 and address challenges related to sustainable mobility, renewable energy and air quality, as well as infrastructure resilience and community engagement. They are as follows:

  • Active OrbitGetting people more active by rewarding them for walking / cycling. 
  • Dock Lock ChargeUsing our universal solution for docking and charging E-bikes and E-Scooters, we work on designing and implementing the right Micromobility strategy for our clients. 
  • KarfuKarfu is an online platform that helps consumers save money and uncover the financial and environmental costs of their mobility choices, beyond private car ownership, by showcasing more sustainable alternatives. 
  • Kerbo ChargeKerbo Charge solves the problem of how to charge your electric car at home if you don’t have access to off-street parking. 
  • PluvoPluvo develops and deploys solutions that actively monitor and remove airborne pollutants from the built environment at scale, helping our partners create healthier and safer spaces to breath in. 
  • Skenario Labs Use huge property and financial datasets to help local authorities, property owners, managers, investors and insurers make more responsible decisions around investment and sustainability for their portfolios. 
  • Step-HearStep-Hear is an accurate wayfinding system for people with blindness or visual impairment, providing also assistance by IoT for people with disabilities and a smart interactive system for public transportation. 
  • The Future FoxCommunity engagement and insight for citizen-led places. 
  • Urban TideHelp cities monitor transport emissions and improve cycling routes and enable energy companies to share data to reduce fuel poverty and energy use. They do this with uSmart, our AI innovation platform and their unique AI portfolio. 
  • OthershipOthership gives the freedom to work how and where you want. The perfect workspace solution, tailored to you and your business. 
“Milton Keynes has been at the forefront of many innovations and has invested significantly in the development of a sustainable economy, which is why we are thrilled to have partnered with the Council once again to launch this brand-new accelerator. We look forward to supporting the SMEs on the programme and seeing how their disruptive technologies are tested and implemented in the city in the coming months.”
Alex Weedon, Executive Director SME Development & Academic Engagement, Connected Places Catapult
“We’re delighted to see some great businesses on the programme which will help everyone in MK learn invaluable lessons through real-time testing. They will have access to industry experts who will take their vision and help them turn it into reality. We’ve got big hopes for the Accelerator and expect these business to take major strides as we work together towards making our city even greener and better connected.” 
Cllr Pete Marland, Leader of MK Council

Opening the Innovation Economy: The case for inclusive innovation in the UK

New research explores how places can help spread prosperity by making the innovation economy more inclusive.

In February 2022, the UK Government’s Levelling Up White Paper set out a mission to increase expenditure on public research and development outside the Greater South East by at least 40% by 2030. It also outlined plans for new Innovation Accelerators in Glasgow, the West Midlands, and Greater Manchester.

To understand how, as part of the levelling-up agenda, places right across the UK can deliver truly inclusive innovation, the UK Innovation Districts Group and Connected Places Catapult commissioned research. A team, led by Metro Dynamics and Professor Neil Lee, explored the dynamics of innovation in local economies through interviews with people leading and working in innovation districts across the UK.  The conversations covered how districts are delivering inclusive innovation on the ground, from involving local communities in setting their strategies to employment and training opportunities.

From this research, the report:

  • identifies ten levers that leaders in the private and public sectors can pull to make the process and outputs of innovation more inclusive;
  • highlights a number of successful projects and programmes demonstrating elements of successful inclusive innovation up and down the country; and
  • provides recommendations for key delivery partners including innovation districts, national Government, and local governments.
“Against a backdrop of environmental crisis, post-COVID uncertainty and a rising cost of living, it is more important than ever to widen the funnel of who participates in innovation economies in the UK. This is the only way that we will achieve the additionality and growth that UK communities and economies need.”

‘This research, jointly commissioned by the UK Innovation Districts Group and Connected Places Catapult, has examined where places are successfully doing just that. It is critical that we, as innovation districts leaders and policymakers, understand the building blocks that create thriving, inclusive, and sustainable local innovation economies and how these can be delivered at scale.”

Emma Frost, Chair, UK Innovation Districts Group
“Innovation does not happen in a vacuum; it happens in places and is shaped by people. Inclusive innovation is about making sure that the innovation economy creates opportunities people and communities from all corners of the country – not just in London and the South East.

“We know that innovation currently represents just a fraction of the UK’s economic activity but it has a profound influence on increasing prosperity and future-proofing economic structures. For too many people the prospect of working in innovation is remote, and the benefits of new discoveries are disconnected from their own lives. We need a more inclusive innovation economy to activate the UK’s latent potential.”

Sam Markey, Ecosystem Director - Place Leadership, Connected Places Catapult

Sixth Cohort for Intelligent Mobility Accelerator announced

The Intelligent Mobility Accelerator supports start-ups with innovative solutions to improve the UK transport system.

The Intelligent Mobility (IM) Accelerator is a partnership between Connected Places Catapult and Wayra UK, the world-leading start-up accelerator that is part of Telefónica Open Future. The programme is designed to support leading corporates in solving their innovation challenges in the transport industry by leveraging solutions offered by disruptive start-ups. 

The programme focuses on intelligent mobility challenges set collectively by the programme partners, including specifically the areas of decarbonisation, improving experience and connectivity. Its goal is to develop companies that will create solutions for the most pressing transport problems facing the world today, improving day-to-day life for millions of travellers while creating new industry leaders in Global Intelligent Transportation Systems Market worth $52.59bn. 

The programme is delivered in partnership with Department for Transport, Network Rail, Transport for London, Amey and Virgin Media O2, and is designed to support and guide disruptive start-ups with high-growth potential into the UK transport industry, helping them grow into world-leading companies. 

The team at Connected Places Catapult is excited to announce nine successful SMEs who have been accepted onto the six-month programme to work alongside the partners to disrupt the UK transport industry.

  • Esoterix – Enabling transport to better serve the needs of future passengers. 
  • Everimpact – An IoT software that combines satellite, ground sensors, and AI data to establish cities and businesses’ carbon footprint. 
  • Go Jauntly – A walking, wayfinding and nature connection app to increase everyday walking, active travel and improve nature connectedness. 
  • Hello Lamp Post – An innovative communications and engagement platform, connecting people to their town or city using AI.  
  • Innovation Factory – Acoustic and vision AI algorithms for a wide range of industries’ safety, security and comfort. 
  • Pluvo – Actively monitoring and removing airborne pollutants from the built environment at scale, helping create healthier and safer spaces for us all. 
  • See.Sense – Technology to make riders safer on the roads and generate the data that cities need to build better transport infrastructure for sustainable travel. 
  • Tandem – Taking 21st century transport technology and adapting it for towns and small cities, starting with shared shuttles to get people to work. 
  • Transreport – Innovative software which improves the journey experience for millions of passengers who use public transport, regardless of their accessibility requirements. 

With this varied and often complementary cohort of SMEs, we are excited to see the projects and collaborations that grow throughout the duration of the programme. 

Our SMEs will receive a six-month support programme co-delivered by the Catapult and Wayra, with Wayra providing technical support through a series of masterclasses and the Catapult offering networking opportunities with key industry, government and investor stakeholders. 

Alongside this, they will be supported by the Catapult to develop their solution alongside one-to-one support and expertise from the industry partners.  

Intelligent Mobility Accelerator successes so far

To date, the IM Accelerator has generated 33 commercial trials for the 45 SMEs that have participated across five previous cohorts of the programme. Combined, these start-ups have raised over £80M in external investment and £3.5M in CR&D funding. Notable success includes kerbside management and mobility technology firm AppyWay, who received strategic investment from Hyundai and the Sumitomo Corporation as part of its total £7.6 million Series A funding round; and, electric vehicle range prediction technology company Spark EV, who received support to trial its technology on Hyundai electric vehicles. These were both a direct result of AppyWay’s and Spark EV’s involvement on the accelerator. 

“The transport industry is undergoing its biggest transformation in generations, as technology provides a cleaner and more efficient way of moving people and goods. The IM Accelerator programme has already uncovered innovative thinkers who are ready to lead the way in this new world. We’re excited to be setting out to find the next group of businesses to help make their visions a reality.”
Alex Weedon, Director of SME Development & Academic Engagement at Connected Places Catapult
The Intelligent Mobility programme has had a long-standing presence in the UK ecosystem and supported multiple start-ups and corporates to develop business together. Innovative mobility solutions can have a very strong impact in our environment, our lives and society. Through driving development in the space, we show our commitment and that of our partners to this important sector.
Bruno Moraes, Country Manager of Wayra UK