Matthew Neville

Mobility-as-a-service startup aiming to tackle “transport poverty” raises £1.75m in funding round

RideTandem, a London headquartered mobility-as-a-service startup providing “affordable and reliable” transport solutions for people affected by “transport poverty”, has raised £1.75m in seed funding.

1818 Venture Capital led the round, alongside Conduit Connect, Low Carbon Innovation Fund, several angels, and previous investors Ascension and Seedrs.

The investment follows two consecutive years of 10x growth for RideTandem, creating more than £10m in new earnings for passengers on its services since launch, and will support continued hiring, particularly in product management and engineering, as RideTandem builds out its team.

RideTandem was founded in 2019 by Alex Shapland-Howes, previously managing director of education charity Future First, with former Global Innovation Fund investment director Tatseng Chiam and former Hireup CTO Huw McLeod.

The startup works with taxi, minicab, and coach companies to provide commuter services for employers whose staff would otherwise be unable to work because of the cost, inconvenience, or complete absence of existing public transport options.

RideTandem operates outside of cities and urban centres, with its coverage currently strongest across the Midlands and East of England. Customers include Royal Mail, Primark, Transport for West Midlands, Direct Table Foods, Banham Poultry, and staffing agencies Manpower, Reed, First Call Contract Services, and Everest People Solutions.

Alex Shapland-Howes said: “We met some fathers in a small town outside Rochdale. Hearing their experience of transport poverty - they were looking for work, there were opportunities just a 15-minute drive away, but they couldn’t drive and there was no viable way to get there by public transport - was mind-blowing.”

Shapland-Howes added: “Many jobs outside cities are only reliably accessible by car or taxi. Half of the lowest-earning 20 per cent don’t own a vehicle - and can’t afford to commute by cab - so rely on public transport.”

“But almost 5,000 bus routes, more than one in four, have been axed since 2012, and, outside cities and larger towns, services that remain are often prohibitively expensive, infrequent, and unreliable, affecting people’s job prospects and social mobility.

“Despite recent pledges, we’ve not seen the investment from the Government that would be necessary to solve this across the country, so models like RideTandem’s can play a crucial part in the local transport mix.”

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